Emily Tomlin | June 30, 2016
“How hard would I try just to hear everybody say, this is gonna be my greatest day.” – Bowling for Soup, Greatest Day
Now that you’ve graduated high school, and are officially a college freshman, it’s time to talk about transitioning from one stage to another. Let’s first begin with orientation.
If you don’t know by now, La Salle’s freshman orientation is called “Day One,” and it’s exactly that: one single day of touring the school, meeting new people, question asking, and basically just exploring the campus with your family.
I’m here to tell you a little bit of what to expect during your Day One based off the one I attended nearly three years ago. It’s crazy to think that I’m no longer a timid freshman, and it’s even crazier to think that I only have one year left at La Salle, but it’s been a great run so far. By sharing my Day One experience, among others, I hope to ease some nerves and get you excited for the greatest years that lie ahead.
With that being said, let’s get to it.
I don’t recall what time we had to be there, but I do know Dad and I got up real early to make our two hour trek to Philadelphia. He was way more excited than I was; I’m always the one to get so nervous that I can’t even think straight. Since La Salle wasn’t my first, second, third, or even tenth choice of university, we only had one small tour before I committed (For the record, I didn’t hate La Salle, I just thought my heart was elsewhere). Day One was not just my orientation, but it was also only the second time I saw my new home.
My dad and I on the morning of Day One
We got there early, ate breakfast on the Union Patio, and waited as so many others arrived. Most of what I recall from that day is what happened while we were sitting on those yellow picnic tables.
I saw a lot of moms with their sons, dads with their daughters and everyone lining up for coffee and snacks. If you feel a little nervous or shy, that’s totally natural. I’d say just try to relax and have a great day.
Still an awkward teenaged girl, I remember looking at people’s outfits, because I really had no idea what to wear that day. While some girls dressed to the nines, I’d recommend wearing something comfortable like I did. I think it was a little rainy during my Day One so thank goodness I didn’t wear anything too fancy.
Ironically, one of the dressed up girls and her aunt sat with me and Dad at our picnic table. I don’t want to get too into this on this post, but long story short, we seemed to have a lot in common and ended up requesting each other as roommates. . .
Things between us did not work out at all, but I’d like use that experience to help you. Even if you don’t yet know your roommate and are a little nervous about random matching, don’t go into Day One expecting to find the perfect person, roomie, or best friend. While you may be lucky enough to meet some great people, you can’t possibly know everything about them in just one day. I’d recommend staying in touch with one another and who knows, maybe you’ll even be roommates sophomore year.
Since we’re on the topic of friends, expect to be put in a group with a bunch of people you don’t know. This starts the part of the day where parents split from students so you can really get a taste of college life. I was terrified to be split from Dad, but it wasn’t so bad after all.
My recommendation to you is not to put pressure on yourself to fit into this group. I was supposed to play tennis my freshman year (another long story), so my group consisted of mostly star-athletes. They were all really cool people, but I don’t speak with any of them now, and that’s okay. I also have friends that still hang out with their Day One groups all of the time, and that’s okay too. Just be friendly, positive, and remember that there are hundreds more potential friends in your year and thousands more at La Salle as a whole.
Be prepared for the normal college small talk that you’ll probably begin to dread: “what’s your major?”, “why did you pick La Salle?”, the list continues. Definitely don’t feel bad if you can’t answer these questions. I know I couldn’t when I was a freshman. If you know your major, that’s great! If you don’t, that’s great too: there are so many options you can choose from.
The last thing I remember is being reunited with Dad who was extremely thankful for being let out of the auditorium. I think he said he was in there for hours and just couldn’t handle the freezing air-conditioning anymore. Note to parents: you might want to bring a sweater!
While I have no idea about what’s changed from my Day One, I’m confident in a few things. You’ll definitely meet new people, you’ll most likely be nervous, and you’re sure to have a great time.
On the ride home I’m sure I talked Dad’s ear off about what I liked and disliked from my day, but overall Day One wasn’t bad and it’s just the perfect length of time to be spent somewhere still so unfamiliar. I’m thankful that La Salle doesn’t require a week-long orientation; I don’t think I would have been ready for that.
Overall, my Day One brought me out of my comfort zone and really showed me how different, yet exciting college will be. After orientation, the next time you’ll probably be at La Salle will be move-in day, so enjoy your Day One and see you in August.