Now that Orientation is under way, you’re probably becoming well-acquainted with its trade-mark surplus of downtime between mandatory events. For the over-bored or especially-overwhelmed, here are a few pro tips for how to spend all of that free time during your first few days on campus:
Hang out in the libraries. Especially during those brutally hot first few days of Orientation and classes (have you seen the weather forecast?!), your disgustingly muggy dorm rooms are gonna get super gross, super fast. During the heat of the day, grab a book and head to the Rock, John Hay, or SciLi – there’s AIR CONDITIONING and it’s the perfect place to get some quiet alone time on campus outside of your room.
GO OUTSIDE! As you’re probably aware, Brown’s campus is beautiful. So, when you’ve got a free hour or two, grab a blanket and some light reading or your computer (PSA: our lampposts have built-in outlets) and pop a squat on one of the greens.
As summer comes to an end, first-year college students around America will be pumped through the exciting yet cringe-inducing process of college orientation. The event somehow walks the line between purgatory and platonic speed dating. Students spend excruciating hours sitting down for awkward seminars and icebreaker sessions. The three questions: “What’s your name?”, “Where are you from?” and “Where are you living?” will be repeated millions of times until responses start sounding like they’re coming out of Siri. For some, orientation means newfound independence; for others, it is the gift of a blank canvas and a chance to start over. However, all feel the constant pressure to give off the right first impression to the right people.
Despite the superficial nature of the first days on campus, freshman orientation shouldn’t be something you float through. This is the only time in college where everyone is in the same social boat; everyone is looking for friends. The shared experience makes it easy to meet loads of people from different backgrounds and possibly make connections to last the next four years and beyond.
To get the most out of orientation, I recommend avoiding the following seven mentalities:
1. “This is so stupid.”
You’ve had nightmares based on posts on the accepted students Facebook page and now believe everyone is dorky, snobbish, and/or overexcited to a level that would make even Michael Scott cringe. You’re the only normal one here. Maybe it’s best to skip orientation altogether and lay low for a while.
Please. Not everyone will be straight outta Cringefest 2015. If you shut yourself out of orientation, you will miss opportunities to both find friends and learn how to navigate the complicated and often confusing Brown system. Although some events wont hurt to skip [Ed. Not that we’re condoning this], make sure you at least go to convocation, and learn the names of everyone on your floor.
2. “No parents! No rules!”
You’re free from the parents!!! Now is your time to GET WASTED!
So, you’re going to college. Maybe you’re excited or #nervous, or a combination of the two. Don’t worry – BlogDH has you covered with some packing tips and advice for the terrifying/exciting/overwhelming prospect that is moving to college. After you gather all the essentials (twin XL bedding, shower shoes, a can-do attitude, etc.), here are some other things to consider bringing to campus (or leaving at home):
Things you will definitely need
- A fan is pretty essential for orientation and the first few weeks of the year, as it is still hot AF in Providence for the first half of September. Dorms do not have air conditioning, and the feeble, still-warm ‘breeze’ coming from your open window will be inadequate to keep you from waking up in an unfortunate you-shaped puddle of sweat every morning. Don’t worry – it cools down pretty quickly at the end of September into October, and you probably won’t need your fan again until maybe the final couple weeks of the year.
- Command hooks and mounting strips are super helpful for hanging decorations, towels, bulletin boards, and other items on your walls. With enough command strips and blind optimism, you can keep pretty much anything up, even a full-length mirror on a slightly sticky cinderblock wall.
- A bank card is useful for monthly expenses, shopping at the largest carpeted mall in America (has this tour fact ever been actually verified?), and when you run out of points and Bear Bucks because of too many before-4 p.m. Blue Room muffins. Make sure to check your bank has a convenient location in Providence. There will also be a banking fair during orientation where you can check out these options in greater depth.
- Cleaning supplies. Custodial Services cares for shared spaces, but not individual rooms. Please get and use them, for the sake of your roommate, or at least the night before Family Weekend. (Though you can probably wait until you get to campus to get these.) Odor-canceling spray is also great to have for spraying your comforter that you will probably never wash all year, and for the “Febreze walk-through” – spray mist in the air in front of you and glide on in. It’s a perfect ‘almost shower,’ a lazy, personal car-wash of sorts.
- Rain gear, including a rain jacket, boots, and loyal and iron-willed umbrella, are pretty essential for Lil Rhody weather. Despite how scenic and lovely the Main Green looks come Spring, it will rain this year, and water will seep into your clothes, body, and spirit. Also, while many people wait until Thanksgiving Break to bring up their winter clothes, Providence weather can also be fairly unpredictable, and there can be the occasional rogue snowstorm in October.
Family Weekend 2014 has come to a close, and at this point, you’ve probably got the feels. Whether your family came to Brown or stayed at home, saying goodbye to or being away from them has probably got you feeling some type of way. Loneliness/nostalgia/homesickness sucks, so here are some tips on how to start feeling better:
1. Adopt a pet. It’s tough to go from being surrounded by loved ones to being by yourself. In order to combat your feelings of loneliness, consider calling your local animal shelter and getting yourself a puppy, a kitten, or even a goldfish. Fill the hole in your life by creating a family of your own that will love you all the time! Just make sure your RPLs don’t know…
2. Get into a heated argument with your family. Nothing will make it easier to stop missing your family than wanting to never see their faces again. Give them a call after they leave, pick a hot topic–racism, classism, ableism, sexism, heteronormativity, sexuality, your social construct of choice, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, or which Blue Room muffin is best–and get really offended by something your parents say. Maybe they’re so horribly insensitive that they’re not up to speed with your vocabulary, maybe they say something that might or might not be somewhat controversial, or maybe they’re just not passionate enough. Regardless, exercise no restraint and get really upset. Your anger and frustration will help you feel a lot better about saying goodbye. Continue Reading
It is easy to lie to your family over the phone: “Oh yeah mom everything is going well, can I call you back in a minute? I’m just finishing up some homework,” you say, as you and your roommate and try frantically to put out a fire that you started when you tried to light each other’s farts. Or to make it seem like you have things under control over text.”Hey dad, I spent all my money on books. Can you send me some more?” you send, as your drug dealer holds you at gun-point in the Blue Room sandwich line. You’ve been living on the edge, taking no prisoners, and are definitely still overwhelmed and confused. That’s normal (right???), and having your parents around for a weekend may seem daunting, but there are some easy tips to staying ahead of your shifty, nosey, and overbearing parentals. The last thing you want is another lecture; you’re in college now and are way too cool/don’t have time for that.
Step 1: Be ready for an interrogation
Here are two different hypothetical conversations, one not prepared, and one prepared, between my mom and me. Learn from me to avoid mistakes and your mom’s wrath.
The care-free haze of September is winding down and workloads are increasing; in other words, it’s time to procrastinate. Brimming with gossip, news, funny articles, and Buzzfeed quizzes, Facebook is obviously your best friend in the distraction department. Unfortunately, it’s easy to fall into the trap of liking pages—especially some of Brown’s many novelty accounts—that seem interesting at first, but eventually prove to be rather annoying. Some are underwhelming, others are outdated, and soon enough you’re left with a cluttered mess on your newsfeed.
Because of this, the art of pruning is integral to keeping a happy and healthy newsfeed. So, in order to help optimize your Brown-related Facebook content, I have rated and ranked five of Brown’s most popular novelty pages:
1. Brown University Confessions. My personal favorite, Brown University Confessions posts anonymous confessions by Brown students. Perhaps the greatest characteristic of the page is its wide range of tones; posts can be serious, vehement, candid, or just plain weird. The page is updated frequently on weekdays and almost all of its posts are highly relatable and/or funny. Confessions is Brown’s most liked novelty page, and with good reason — it’s extremely entertaining and great for your newsfeed. 9.5/10
2. Brown University Snaps. Brown University Snaps posts about 1-2 screenshots of students’ Snapchats each day. The page is light-hearted; while it lacks Confessions’s occasional serious post, it never fails to be engaging and entertaining. Not too invasive and almost always good for a quick laugh, Brown University Snaps is a solid page that’s definitely worth liking. 9/10