How to Get the Most Out of Orientation

Posted by Senior Rossana Candela on June 20, 2017

Congrats on beginning your college journey! But before you start, you need to attend orientation. Are the myths about how scary and life-ruining orientation is true?! Definitely not, but I do have tips on what to expect and how to make the most of it.

Be prepared

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You’ll have to complete some necessary steps before even getting to orientation. Visit and make sure you have everything in order before your session. For example, you have to schedule a time for the math placement exam.

Know the schedule

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Orientation is a two-day session. I remember the first day being long and tiring, but it was very important. I wish I had checked the school website for a schedule, so I had an idea of what I would be doing those days. Lucky for you, we've got the info right here. You’re welcome.

Don't freak out

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I remember when I got to orientation. I was so nervous and shy because I didn’t recognize anyone. You just have to remember that everybody is a stranger to everyone else, too, so don’t get overwhelmed!

Be open-minded

Like I said, everyone is new, so go socialize! You’re probably not going to meet your best friend at orientation, and you might never see them again, but give everyone you meet a chance.


Pay attention

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They're going to throw a lot of information at you. The sessions can be super-long, but everything being said is important. Pay special attention on the tours because you don’t want to be lost mid-semester trying to find a specific room or building (been there).

Ask questions

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Don’t be afraid to be that one kid asking a bunch of questions. It’s better than being that one kid that’s totally clueless. #fact

Embrace the awkwardness

You can’t run. You can’t hide. The ice-breaker games will get you! (it’s in the fine print when you sign up for orientation) I can assure you that you’re going to look goofy and stupid and weird, but so will everyone else, so just let loose.


Bring a fan

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I remember being so angry that I had to spend the night on campus; I planned on commuting to college, so I thought it was pointless. I was even more angry when it was 1,000 degrees in the room, and I didn’t have a fan… BRING A FAN.

Also, make a checklist so you don’t forget to bring anything else.

Don't be quick to call it a night

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At Binghamton, there's "Late Nite," where all the students hang out and play games at the end of the first day of orientation. At the end of my first night, a lot of students played games outside and bonded. My roommate that night asked if I wanted to go, but I said "no" because it had been a long day and we had to be up early the next morning. Once I got in bed, I kind of regretted it. But being me, I was too shy to get up and go join everyone alone, so I just laid there.

Long story short: don’t be me. Go bond!

Create a new you

High school is all about fitting in, but college is a time for reinventing yourself. Change your wardrobe, be more spontaneous, get that haircut you always wanted, pierce your bellybutton, make friends with everyone! There really aren’t “cliques” in college, and people won’t judge you because everyone else is doing the same thing. So my tip is to start your transformation at orientation and feel free to become who you really are.


Stay in the loop

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When I got home from orientation, I thought that was all I had to do until my first day of class. I was wrong (seems to be an underlying trend). The awkward ice-breaker games may be over, but your work is not. Make sure you have everything in order after orientation, before your fall semester begins.

Have fun

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All in all, orientation is the start of the college experience. Get a feel for what the campus and student life has to offer, and set the stage for YOUR college experience. Remember, college is what you make of it, so take in all the information, have fun and good luck!

Rossana Candela is a media and public relations intern and senior majoring in communications: public relations and advertising at SUNY Cortland. She is interested in creative marketing, advertising, event planning and eating an unhealthy amount of Panera Bread.

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