Orientation can be a bliss. Meeting all those shiny potato faces, exchanging awesome ideas on how to end the summer break, finding potential friends; the list goes on. At this moment, almost every freshmen is so eager to know more about UW-Madison, and the energy levels are so high. Positive vibes fill the campus as students imagine how to make use of any space they get their eyes on productively. Homesickness? Not that much. In fact, orientation makes you feel at home and comfortable with UW-Madison. It is hard to imagine how things might end up going all wrong (energy levels getting critically low, depression levels rising, losing friends, being super homesick, etc.) when the school year starts, and everyone focuses on their studies.
I have witnessed cases where orientation was the only time when some of my peers in high school were happy. The rest of the two school years became a real struggle. I am taking this opportunity to reflect on what can (not) be done to ensure that social life in college is a bliss. My three tips are not professional; but believe me, they all work for me and my friends.
1. The feeling of meeting new people in a new environment can make one act in a way that is different from the usual.
When meeting new people, BE YOURSELF. As cliché as it sounds, this is very important to note. During orientation, one can get carried away by the character of certain people and the urge to be a part of a certain group or squad. Trying to fit in should never be an option during orientation. This creates an identity that secures you a place in a squad or someone’s life; but as time goes on, the relationship built can be void of happiness. What is the point then? If someone does not like you for who you really are, let it go. There are always buddies who will find your accent, background, academic interest, favourite dish, and sense of style amazing. Instead of wasting time chasing the fit-in- relationships, take your time to establish life-long ones based on self and collective -integrity.
2. Have you ever witnessed people who change friends weekly like linen? I have, and I used to wonder why. There is nothing wrong with this.
Life is a journey of self-discovery; and when the time to settle comes, one will definitely do so. The people one meets during orientation might be very interesting, and one might just rush to settle as friends. If you are really lucky, a rushed relationship can last. However, if you are on the other side of the coin, joy ain’t coming in the morning! Be as open minded as you can. Explore yourself in diverse environments. Meet as many people as you can; because being open minded does not only give your mind the space to critically analyze situations, but also to adapt to new, positive ones. It might be hard finding common ground in the beginning; but, in the long run, you never know! It is true that, “all who wander are not lost.” I have been in so many sets of friends, until I met the right ones.
3. Above all, survival during & after orientation requires one to have a clear direction of who they are and what they actually want in life.
Know thy self! How does one get to know themselves anyway? Well, it is very easy.
- Start by describing yourself using three words.
- Write down three core values in your life.
- Have a set of three goals you would like to accomplish at UW-Madison.
After this easy task, it is not hard to figure out what to do during and after orientation. You just do what does not stop you from being who you are or achieving what you want. After finishing those tasks, one is ready to explore UW-Madison and thrive every day. If you do not even know who you are, how will you know who you do not want to be? Reflection is key before orientation. It leads to carefully analyzed choices, which lead to no regret in the long run. Get to know people (without judgements please.)
Until the next post, Miranda Tichareva
P.S. Comments and concerns are appreciated!