As a current sophomore, I remember my New Student Orientation (NSO) very fondly. It was my first time visiting Penn State after putting my deposit in and my first time feeling like a real college student. But, truthfully, I was still a little nervous to be separated from my mom and to accept the first challenge of “being on my own.”
If you’re feeling anxious, like I was, or just want to learn about what to expect at NSO, here are a few things I wish I had known before attending my New Student Orientation:
- The split from your parents can be hard and don’t be ashamed. To make your orientation a truly meaningful experience, the split of you from your parents must be done. For some the split will be an easy goodbye, but for others this moment may mean a little more than just a see you later. If you find yourself becoming overwhelmed with sad emotions about separating from your parents, don’t worry you are not alone. It’s ok to feel this way, college is a huge transition and even if it’s just a few hours away from your parents, it represents the inevitable longer split that will occur in a few months. Take it as practice and embrace those emotions!
- Confide in your awesome Orientation Leader. Once split from your parents, you will be broken into small groups and given an Orientation Leader, who will be an older Penn State student. From my experience, my Orientation Leader was a super welcoming individual that emphasized the importance of us asking absolutely any questions that we had. I felt comfortable with asking her anything and you will too! Take advantage of those few hours you are with your Orientation Leader by asking any questions you can think of.
- Your roommate my not be your best friend. Sure, we all want to be paired with the greatest roommate ever for our NSO, who will eventually become our best friend and you guys will live happily ever after. But in some cases, you and your temporary roommate may not become friends at all, and that’s ok! This in no way means you and your fall roommate will not become friends either, or that you won’t make any friends at all in the fall. NSO is only one night, which makes it hard to connect with someone in just a few hours.
- You will learn that scheduling your classes is not that scary. An important part of your NSO is creating your schedule for the upcoming fall semester. Unlike most high schools, you have lots of control and choices of what classes you will be taking and this can become overwhelming. But do not fret because you will be paired with an advisor who will show you just how simple the system really is.
- You might cry. Yes, about 10 minutes into my NSO I could feel the tears already forming, I admit it. But I wasn’t about to cry out of sadness, but of pure joy to be able to attend the university of dreams. One of the first things you are shown at NSO is an introductory video that attempts to highlight the breadth of the experiences students have at Penn State. In those few minutes of watching that video, I was taken over with the overwhelming feeling that I had picked the right school. And hopefully, while attending your NSO you will find that moment for yourself as well.
NSO is an experience that should be exciting while putting you out of your comfort zone a little bit. Your two-day visit is the start of the next four years of your life; so don’t be afraid to ask questions or to introduce yourself to a stranger, it’s all part of the experience.
For more information on NSO visit: https://orientation.psu.edu/