Orientation is hectic. It's a bit like that biblical passage where the farmer just kind of throws his seeds out into the world. He doesn't seem to be aiming for any particular place. It's more or less a crapshoot. Some seeds take, while others do not.
It's like a shotgun. If you shoot enough pellets you're bound to hit something. So too is freshmen orientation. It’s very much a social event, a constant flow of activities and people. If you aren't the most social of people you might not have the best time dealing with all of the socialites being all extra social.
If that's the case with you, I'm about to lay down what little advice I have to survive.
When you arrive at New Student Orientation, you'll most likely encounter some kind of impossibly happy individual sitting behind a table handing out name tag lanyards. Wearing the lanyard is mandatory, as no one knows anybody at this point. There are usually a couple other items crammed into that lanyard such as a map of sorts and a schedule of the coming days’ various events and classes.
A few of these classes take place several times a day and, therefore, are broken up into smaller, manageable groups of people. The majority, however, take place in a large room with the entire freshmen class, which is around 200 people. That's a lot of people to be stuck in a room with for hours on end, especially if you have a known history of disliking similar situations with similarly large groups.
There is a slight silver lining: You don’t have to go to every event listed. I mean, some of the classes are informative and, indeed, helpful, but others are hour long reminders on how to sleep and eat. The majority of the meetings are required, so it will be up to you to find out which ones you can skip.
When you first arrive, somebody will most assuredly remind you about the raffle. This is how it works. What happens is you have this little card, and every time you go to a meeting or event that card gets a little hole punched in it. If you get all the holes punched, your little card gets added to a raffle where you have the chance to win a prize!
The prize will actually be pretty sweet, like an iPad or something. It's usually fairly expensive, so if you can handle the mob, go for it. Don’t force yourself if crowds make you nauseous. Typically, the powers that be would not try to bribe you to attend an event that is already required, but you should double check your schedule before bailing out completely.
Also remember that you will not be the only person skipping out on events. Assuming you don't want to be completely alone all of the time (and only most of the time), you could use skipping meetings as a chance to meet one or two other people.
A good thing to check for in this situation is motive for skipping. Are they antisocial like me, or are they more anti-establishment?
I like to bring up a love for vandalism, as a test to flush out who's who. If my views on the destruction of public property are not shared by the individual, I reveal my charade and explain my intentions. This doubles as a good ice breaker with a potential new friend.
If they reveal a deep-seeded love for vandalism, try and change the subject, perhaps directing their vision in a direction away from yourself and begin to slowly back away. For safety tips please attend the meeting on campus safety.
Kevin is a junior studying nursing.