For many first year university students, orientation week, or 'frosh week', is a rite of passage -- a defining moment that gives you your first real glimpse into university life. It's an action-packed week that's high on fun, but like a colourful tornado ripping through campus, the week will be over in a flash, so keep these five tips in mind to make your frosh week a memorable experience.
1. Step outside your comfort zone
The majority of frosh are away from home for the first time when they enter university, and with that comes a rollercoaster of emotions. The good news is that almost everyone is in the same boat, which provides a common ground right off the bat. While it's completely normal to experience waves of homesickness or feel anxious about entering this new, more responsible chapter, it's also important to embrace the unfamiliar. After all, you only get one frosh week.
2. Explore your surroundings
No one wants to be that flustered student who runs into the first, jam-packed lecture hall ten minutes late, turning heads in the process. So take some time to explore the nooks and crannies of campus. Print a copy of your schedule and walk from building to building, as if it was your first week of classes.
Especially during frosh week, the campus can feel like a microcosm. If you're feeling adventurous, grab some new pals, wander beyond the campus boundaries and explore the community. Find the nearest 24-hour grocery store, discover the greasy spoon that dishes up the best late night poutine, or get lost, only to then find your way back home. You won't regret it!
3. Create your own community
Frosh week is intended to be an inclusive experience -- regardless of race, religion, gender or sexual identity -- and universities have a broad range of activities so students can find their niche and curate their own weeks. Without a doubt, your frosh group is one of the best ways to meet new people outside of your residence or student housing. Let your frosh leaders give you a warm welcome to university life and show you the ropes. After all, they've been in your shoes and have lots of advice that'll come in handy.
If you're not a social butterfly, there are plenty of opportunities to make the most out of your first week that don't involve partying until the wee hours of the morning or chanting century-old songs with your frosh group. Browse the calendar of activities so you can design a week that's tailored to you.
4. Be positive and embrace the spirit
Prepare yourself to get loud and proud because there probably won't be another week where you'll sing and cheer more in your life. Showing school spirit naturally unites people, so slap on some face paint, drill the university cheer into your brain and attend a sporting event with other frosh. It's all about strength in numbers.
While chanting about your new school and participating in endless icebreaker activities is a more obvious way to show spirit, it may not be your cup of tea. There are plenty of ways to display your university pride in less rowdy ways. Buy a cozy hoodie with your university logo, join clubs with students who share similar interests (archery, anyone?), and say hi to the person behind you in line at the campus coffee shop. Many universities have built lower intensity events into their frosh week schedules, such as outdoor movies, campus tours or yoga classes. However you choose to show your spirit, a smile and a friendly, positive outlook goes a long way.
5. Build in some 'you' time
Although frosh week is a whirlwind of new faces, social activities and random adventures, it's important to take some time away from all the activity to rest and recharge -- especially as the fun winds down and the first day of class approaches. Schedule a date with yourself so you so you can reflect on your goals and mentally prepare for the big year ahead. This cannot be understated. Many students are so concerned about getting into the university they want, they fail to set new goals when they actually arrive -- which takes a toll on academics and overall feeling of contentment.
There are probably lots of other things to check off your list, too: buy your books, stock up on snacks, load up your student card with cash, and catch some z's so you're ready to start your first week of classes refreshed. After all, one of the most important skills you learn in university is time management, and it never hurts to start early.
However you decide to spend your frosh week, it's what you make of it. It's the foundation for the rest of your university life and you'll always have some of the best memories from your first week at school -- guaranteed. Now, what are you waiting for, Frosh? Get out there and have fun!
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