Greetings from Maine! For the past ten days I’ve been jumping, screaming, laughing, hair-braiding, dancing, jewelry-making, sweeping cabins, decorating posters, giving piggy-back rides, teaching tennis lessons, serving up food to ten hungry little girls, and so much more. At this point, I feel like I’ve finally gotten into the swing of things.. which is good because I’ll be doing this for another eight weeks! How and why have I put myself in such a position you might ask? I’m a camp counselor this summer at an awesome camp in Casco, Maine! I feel as if I’ve lived a lifetime in these past couple of days given all of the responsibility that I’ve newly acquired (taking care of ten 6 and 7 year-old girls isn’t exactly a walk in the park!), but I know that I’ve already gained a ton of life experience that I can relate back to my life at Hopkins.
One of the things that really stood out for me as relevant to college life was our camp staff orientation. I found that our camp staff orientation was actually pretty similar to the freshmen orientation at Hopkins in that we had a ton of general meetings, there were a lot of super excited college-aged kids, and most importantly, everyone was looking for friends.
Going into college not knowing anyone can be extremely tough, especially if you consider yourself to be on the shy side in the first place. In my case, I came into Hopkins with no contacts and absolutely no clue as to how I would find a group of friends that would somehow be as awesome as the group of friends I had back home. Since I hadn’t had to make new friends or meet any new people in my tight-knit high school community, I wasn’t prepared for orientation week in the slightest. After going through freshmen orientation last year and camp staff orientation just this past week, I’ve come up with a couple of tips that should make your upcoming orientation go a little smoother!
1) Ask random questions. Instead of asking the super common questions such as “Where are you from?” or “What’s your major” or even the favorite- “Why Hopkins?”, try to ask questions that will actually help you in getting to know the person. Questions such as “What do you do for fun?” or “What extracurriculars are you looking to get involved in?” will usually help you connect with people faster!
2) Smile. Almost everyone at orientation is slightly disoriented and probably uncomfortable. Smiling will help you seem approachable :)
3) Try to go to as many meetings/ events as possible. The more meetings or events you go to, the more people you’re likely to meet.
4) When you ask people for phone numbers, try to type in something next to their name that will help you remember where/how you met them. You’re going to meet so many people during orientation, and it’s not that helpful to have a ton of random names and numbers if you don’t know who those people are.
5) Don’t be afraid to be a little out there. If you feel like you’re trying to tone down your personality or if you’re keeping your guard up whenever you meet new people, don’t! Everyone likes to gravitate towards the slightly weird, but confident personality rather than to the self-conscious “normal” person.
I hope that some of these tips prove useful in your first couple of weeks at Hopkins. Remember, everyone is just as nervous/ awkward as you are so put yourself out there!
All the Best,