New Student Orientation can feel a little, well, disorienting, even despite the overwhelmingly friendly vibes on campus. Icebreakers, though useful, can get kind of uncomfortable, and remembering all those names is not an easy task. Adapting to life at Wesleyan will take some time, so consider orientation the first step in a gradual adjustment.
Still, The Argus is here to alleviate some of those preliminary jitters. This orientation survival guide will counsel you through those frenzied, flustered first days and help you start your college career off on the right foot.
Jump in: First-week anxiety is totally normal, but don’t let it paralyze you. During the next few days, take a cue from Bob Dylan and don’t think twice. Not sure if an event is exactly your scene? Go anyway! You might be pleasantly surprised by how much fun you have. Doubts about starting school are pretty standard, but sometimes you have to put them on mute and let the moment seize you. Don’t just sip the Wes Kool-Aid; gulp it right down.
Don’t force it: A big part of orientation is meeting fellow freshmen, and it’s definitely important to put yourself out there. That said, orientation is about getting acquainted, and many of the people you meet will be just that: acquaintances. If during your first week you somehow manage to find your other half, more power to you. However, if you don’t quite click with your orientation buds, remember that not everyone you hang out with early on has to be your BFFAE. Surround yourself with familiar faces as you navigate social life at Wesleyan and look for a gang that really gets you. But do check in with your first-week friends every now and then!
Know thy neighbor (but not in a biblical way): You’ll find that many early college friendships are based purely on convenience, and what’s more convenient than having a pal who lives next door? Be sure to get to know your hallmates well; this will make late nights super fun and rough weeks much more bearable. While getting friendly with neighbors is great, it should be noted that there are downsides to hallmates getting too friendly. Spontaneous hallcest should generally be avoided, as it can make something as simple as a trip to the bathroom a source of dread. That said, if you do happen to wake up on the wrong side of the hall, don’t stress out. Just continue saying “hi” to your too-close-to-home catch the way you would any other neighbor. Things will go back to normal more quickly than you think.
Stay in the moment: Everyone is entitled to a few existential crises over the course of their four years at school, but freshman orientation is not exactly a convenient time to have one. Being away from home and the emotional ups and downs of starting anew might get you thinking about things (“Is my persona just a façade? Did the death of my childhood hamster in fact stunt my psychological growth?”), but it’s important to get out of your head while trying to adjust. Get into the Wesleyan groove by attending as many events as possible, even the optional ones. You’ll find yourself engaged and energized, not to mention left with little time to brood. There is a time and place for intense ruminations on selfhood; save ’em for a cool, dreamy night on Foss with people that “are really on your level right now, man.”
Shake it off: Follow T-Swift’s advice this week and let the tough stuff go. There are bound to be awkward, strange, and even mortifying moments as you acclimate to the Wesleyan environment. Don’t let these minor obstacles hinder you. It’s important to realize that no one is paying nearly as close attention as you think; your fellow frosh are likely too busy trying adapt to college life to notice that you approached the vegan line at Usdan from the wrong side (note: enter from the right) or that you got completely lost navigating the jungle that is the Butts. Soon enough, you’ll feel right at home as you learn to distinguish North College from South College and Typhoon from Thai Gardens. For now, get comfortable with being a little uncomfortable.