If there’s one thing New Student Orientation does well, it’s packing your schedule with team-building activities, education and forced socialization. Hopefully this excitement is right up your alley, because all those videos, skits and speed-dates culminate in a three-day long excursion into the Nebraskan wilderness.
Some of you thrive in mosquito-infested, humid and sticky environments working closely with people you’ve met just a few days ago (I’m looking at you, IRR majors). But to my humanities, fine arts and human development majors who take more interest in a good book than a trek through a hot and hostile forest, here are some words of advice that will help you survive until you are carried back to air conditioning, Netflix and Chipotle.
1. You’re probably forgetting something important. If you spent your formative years indoors, you won’t understand how much even the smallest of items can completely change your experience on a hike or camping trip. Bug repellent may be just a small bottle, but if you forget to toss it in the bag on the way out the door, you’ll spend more time at camp scratching a nice coat of little red bumps than singing “Kumbaya.” The same words of caution apply to a good water bottle, some sunscreen, a few pairs of shorts, a towel and any hygiene products you'll need to stay decent and civilized for three days in a midwestern jungle. Look twice to make sure you got everything you need before you leave your dorm room, it can make or break your weekend.
2. Nothing that happens at camp really matters. So you just got out of high school, and you’re entering this exciting new world of college and new people and no parents. Everything seems fresh, but also intimidating. Some guys are already becoming Casanova, some girls are already becoming popular, and some of you are wondering where you’ll fit in. I have news for you, though. In a few weeks, nobody will care. Soon, the campus will become saturated with countless other distractions to capture the attention of you and all the other new scholars. For this week on campus and the weekend at camp, there’s been nothing better to worry about than your peers. But, in just a few days classes will start and you’ll all be too busy navigating between professors, upperclassmen and worship credits to remember who you thought was cool at New Student Orientation.
3. The only person that can improve your situation is you. This is where I vomit up a cliché about bringing the right attitude if you want to have a good time, but sayings become clichés for a reason—because they make sense. Those of you who will naturally have an amazing time despite the humidity and the crowd of semi-strangers, power to you. But to those of you who feel like you’re in an alien environment at camp, extra effort is required to wring out enjoyment. A conscious decision has to be made, and a desire has to be felt to leave your comfort zone in order to make the time you’re trapped in Ashland, Nebraska, a pleasant one.
Nigel is a sophomore pursuing a double major in history and psychology.