Many freshmen are overwhelmed with how to deal with orientation and buying books during their first week of college. Here are three pointers for welcome week.
Don’t do orientation first, if possible. Go straight to your dorm room first to put away your belongings and get to know your roommates.
All freshmen are required to go to orientation on the first day of school, but I recommend arriving early to drop off your stuff at the dorm. I arrived at my dorm room after orientation to find that both of my roommates in our triple had claimed their beds, so I was stuck with the upper bunk (although it was later lowered to a bed), with no closet space for me in the bedroom (I had to use the common room closet).
If you arrive at your new dorm room later rather than sooner, there is no time to divvy up the desks, beds and closets. This may not be your experience, but it is common for three students to be placed in a double dorm room. And in my case, showing up on the first day after orientation meant I had a far-away closet and an undesirable top bunk bed.
Don’t buy your textbooks the first week of class, because you might want to change your schedule around.
A lot of colleges don’t let first-time freshmen choose their courses. However, here’s a secret about the bureaucratic administration of nearly all colleges: It might still be possible to add classes, in which case, you should look up the course online and find a professor who can add you to their class. Another tip is for getting into classes that fill up fast: Get on the class’s waiting list as soon as possible (perhaps that very first semester), so that you are next in line for a spot next semester.
Put yourself out there and meet people, even if it doesn’t feel like they’re friend material. At some point, the window of opportunity to make friends will be gone (or at least it will become much narrower).
During the first week of school, you will probably meet more students than you ever will during the rest of your college career. As the school year progresses and welcome week ends, people will have more or less formed their groups and become less susceptible to making new friends or talking to their classmates.
"Life Beyond Beijing” is a series of posts that chronicles a former international school student’s experiences in college. They’re written by Elizabeth Wu, a returning beijingkids summer intern. A former student of BWYA and CISB, she just completed her freshman year of journalism and will be returning to The New School in New York City this fall.
Image via educationsitescatalog.com