Oberlin Blogs

The Do's and Don'ts of Orientation

August 18, 2015

El Wilson ’18


  • worry if you haven't met your best friends yet. it takes time.

  • try to do everything. (this is a good rule for Oberlin life in general. always leave time for Netflix.)

  • get yourself into bad situations. remember, you don't know anyone, so if you decide to go to a random party at 1am that you learned about through a note slipped under your door, you should bring a friend and leave if the situation looks unsafe or if you start to feel uncomfortable. (on that note, DO ask for help if you get yourself into a mess. Oberlin students/Safety and Security are generally nice and will help you.)

  • let your parents talk to some random upperclassman in who works in Stevenson (the dining hall). they will ask them lots of invasive questions. whenever you see them afterwards, it will be really awkward. one night, they might be serving you pasta for dinner, and you'll probably melt into a puddle of pure awkwardness.

  • sign up for three 200-level classes. trust me on this one.

  • stay in your dorm room all of the time. go see things and meet humans!

  • be afraid to look stupid. you're a first-year. you're guaranteed to look stupid. accept it.

  • abandon your parents. supervise them or they will befriend the parents of a random girl down the hall who you will never really be friends with. this will lead to future awkwardness.

  • be afraid to be a different person from the one you were in high school. I'm sure that person was awesome, but the person you're about to become is so much more awesome. remember, you're starting with a clean slate. take advantage of that.

  • panic. it will all work out.


  • ask your parents to take you out for every meal.

  • get to know your RA. learn what they're cool with and what they're not cool with.

  • explore!

  • ask stupid questions. there is such a thing as a stupid question. (trust me, I'm disabled. I get asked all of the stupid questions you could ever imagine.) however, it's okay to be stupid. everyone asks stupid questions, and first-years are experts at it. have a question? just ask it.

  • check out the book co-op. it saves you money and is a great community. (my love for the book co-op is deeper than my love for cookies.)

  • hang out with your roommate. decorate the room. make awkward small talk. establish some ground rules (such as: no stinky food, the room must be a mess at all times, and no rabbits). if all goes well, the two of you will be pals. if it doesn't, you'll survive.

  • let your parents deal with anything you bought from Ikea.

  • talk to upperclassmen. a bunch of us (including myself) are showing up before the first-years. we know things you do not! in fact, some of us (including myself) are being trained to help first-years in various ways. use us!

  • hug your parents. if they're sad you're leaving, they are going to need all the hugs they can get. if they are excited about your disappearance, be the better person and hug them anyway.

  • ask people's pronouns and say yours when you introduce yourself. (for example, when you meet someone new say, "Hi! My name is Donald Trump's Hair, and my pronouns are he, him, and his." or "Hi! My name is BMO, and my pronouns are they, them, and theirs.") this is going to be a new thing for a lot of you. I know that it can be confusing and seemingly unnecessary. however, it's the best way to be respectful and make queer students feel welcomed. plus, you're going to be doing it (hopefully) for the rest of your life, so you should start practicing now.

  • HAVE A BLAST!!! meet new people, enjoy the warm weather, and realize that the week is just one big adventure!

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