Beginning the new year means new friends, new classes, and for college freshman, a new place to live, without parents, old friends, or siblings. The freedom that comes with college living can be refreshing and exhilarating, but also requires a different, more responsible mindset.
10 Tips for the First Day
Packing Do not, I repeat, do not bring the content of your entire bedroom to school. Your roommate(s) will want to kill you if you show up and take up two thirds of the room with your stuffed animals, three musical instruments, life-size card-board cut-out of Johnny Depp, etc. Bring only what you know you will need.
Moving In Making friends with the people in your hall/house is important. Introducing yourself to your neighbors can’t hurt, and starting off on the right foot with the people you’ll be spending at least one year with is never a bad thing.
Seeing Your Parent(s) Off After you move in, let your parents get sentimental; this is a difficult time for them. Humor them, let them take you around campus one last time — after they leave, you’ll wish they were there more often than you think.
Managing Orientation Most school have a required orientation. Though it may seem tedious, and though the name games seem endless, attend all the social orientation activities that you can — the person you meet on your first day might be your roommate in the future, or someone who may become a close friend.
Finding Friends Don’t be too nervous about finding friends; everyone is alone at first, and friends will come as time progresses. Remember, also, that it is rare to remain with the friends you met in the first few months for the entirety of your college career. It may happen and it may not, and both are just fine.
Going to Parties The most exciting part of college, other than an incredible education, are the parties. Especially in the first few weeks, be careful when consuming substances that might result in a lack of inhibitions. Wait until there is somebody around to get you home before you really let loose.
It’s Okay to Be Scared Everyone is terrified on the first day, and that can be a good way to bond with friends. Everyone is nervous, and that will often start off a conversation more rapidly than you can say “I miss my mom and dad.”
Get Out of the Room The first step to meeting friends and getting to know your way around is to get out of your room. Plan to meet up with people you met earlier at orientation or in your hallway, or consider exploring with your roommates. That way, you can get lost together.
Be Yourself Remember that this is not summer camp; the best way to make friends is to act as you would back home. Attracting the kind of people you know you feel comfortable around and enjoy can save some drama in the future, when friends discover they don’t know each other as well as they might have thought at orientation.
Relax Again, remember: everyone is scared, everyone is new, everyone is alone at first. Relaxing and letting orientation leaders guide you around campus, and going out with friends on a whim can have enormous health benefits. Save the stress for midterms.