Well, here we are. After a long summer away from school, Orientation Week, or O-week, is nearly upon us. For an incoming first-year student, that should be exciting news – but it can also be a bit daunting. What is O-week like? What do you do during it? How can you make the most of it? With those concerns in mind, I put together a little list of – you guessed it – 17 tips for O-week 2017, with the hope that they will prove helpful (and, ideally, entertaining), to any incoming first-year student who stumbles upon them. Enjoy!
1. It’s gonna be hot, yo.
And I don’t mean hot as in lit or poppin’, I mean hot as in the temperature kind.
2. And humid
If you’re from the East Coast or the South, you probably already have some idea of the ungodly humidity that awaits you in Baltimore. If you’re from the West Coast (represent), though, or anywhere else where walking outside during the summer doesn’t feel like slogging through a sauna with your clothes on, you’re in for a treat.
3. With that in mind, don’t wear your best shirts outside during the day for the first month or so.
If you sweat even an average amount, your prized concert tees will become your prized concert towels. If you don’t usually sweat, you will.
4. Also, stay hydrated
Yeah, that too.
5. Don’t be afraid to ask O-week volunteers for help!
O-week volunteers don’t get paid to be there (that’s why their called volunteers) – they’re there because they want to meet you and want to help you. If you have questions about move-in, scheduling, logistics, or anything else under the (very strong) sun, ask them! Even if you don’t have a question and just want to chat, O-week volunteers are at your service.
6. Check out the O-week events calendar (and then go to some events).
Take advantage of what O-week has to offer! For a personal example, last year I went to Rec-center night during O-week to play dodgeball and basketball, and had a blast. I also met a few people that turned out to be good friends of mine (even after I hit them in the face with a rubber ball).
7. Start thinking of ice-breaker responses now, like right now.
- Two truths and a lie: I have an entirely fake front tooth, I am deathly afraid of both prairies and dogs – but not prairie dogs, I cannot sit cross-legged. Now guess.
- If you were a kitchen appliance, what would you be? Immersion blender, easy.
Trust me, you’ll need them.
8. Get some sleep, please.
You’re going to be out in the sun all day, running from place to place, and doing activities – you’ll need to be well rested. A good eight hours will also help you avoid the dreaded Freshman Plague (although to be real, you’ll probably still get it at some point).
9. Wear dark shorts/skirts/dresses/pants (but probably not pants) during O-week.
This sounds like an odd point, but stay with me. There will be a lot of sitting on the ground during O-week, usually in circles. Ground means dirt, and dirt means stains on your butt, and light colored clothing means even more pronounced stains on your butt. Wear dark clothing to avoid this whole situation.
10. Carry a map with you.
You will get lost (repeatedly) during O-week, and most likely throughout your first month on campus, so a map is vital. You can get one on your phone, or carry around a paper version to be cool and retro. If you’re like me, it will also be vital for the following two months, and probably still useful entering sophomore year.
11. Talk to upperclassmen.
When you do get lost, and don’t feel like pulling out your map, ask somebody who looks like they know where they’re going for directions. I can virtually guarantee you they’ll be friendly, and will usually throw in a good fact or tip for you (if these seventeen aren’t enough). You can, and should, also ask upperclassmen about anything that’s on your mind, be it related to classes, dorm life, extracurriculars, or what have you. You’ll find that people at Hopkins are super helpful – and its always good to have friends who’ve been in your shoes before to help you out if you ever need it.
12. Go to the student involvement fair.
This actually takes place a week or so after O-week – September 8th, from 2-5 PM to be exact – but it’s a really great way to familiarize yourself with campus life, and get involved with some awesome groups and clubs. You don’t want to miss this.
13. Take a trip outside of your comfort zone.
There will be numerous opportunities and events throughout O-week and beyond that might not seem up your alley at first glance. Rocky Horror Picture Show – what’s that? A bunch of people standing on the beach playing corn-hole – seems weird. Fight that initial instinct and try things that you might not normally be inclined to try. I’m not saying that you have to force yourself to jump at every opportunity that comes your way, even if you know you’ll hate it, but if you were planning to sit at your desk and watch YouTube for an hour and a newfound friend invites you to try out the rock-climbing wall at the gym, you owe it to yourself to harness-up.
14. Also take a trip to the Charmery.
The Charmery is an ice-cream shop in Hampden, a neighborhood that’s just a lovely 15 minute walk from campus. They serve completely amazing ice-cream, and you should definitely try it out.
15. Then take a deep breath.
O-week can get a bit hectic at times, with constantly moving from activity to activity and session to session, meeting a ton of new people, not getting enough sleep (I know you won’t listen to number eight), and adjusting to an entirely new home and lifestyle. At some point, it will be important to take a step back, breathe, and take it all in. Do your best to appreciate and embrace the hustle and bustle, and try to not let it stress you out. Realize that the craziness won’t last forever, and you’ll get in the swing of things before you know it.
16. O-week does not determine your year.
If things don’t necessarily go as you expected during O-week, don’t fret; who you are during O-week almost definitely won’t be who you are during the rest of the year, and beyond. You’ll befriend people you didn’t even know existed for the first few weeks, get involved in clubs you never heard about, and find a level of comfort on campus you didn’t think possible. That being said, O-week can be – and usually is – a great time, so…
17. Have fun!
O-week provides a unique opportunity to meet your fellow Blue-Jays and experience the Hopkins community, without any of the work that comes once classes start. If you take advantage of the opportunity provided to you, it can be a truly awesome experience that you’ll never forget. You only get to do O-week once, so live it up while you can!