Welcome to Williamsburg, class of 2022! If the cockroaches and humidity haven’t claimed you yet, here are 22 tips, tricks and cautionary tales that you should know before starting your freshman year at the College of William and Mary.
1. Freshman orientation is a glamorized summer camp. Do not be fooled into thinking that it resembles anything close to college, or you will be severely surprised by the program’s conclusion.
2. There is no obligation to be best friends with your hallmates. Orientation Aides overhype the importance of forging close bonds with your neighbors; it is completely okay if you would rather make friends outside of your residence hall.
3. Most upperclassmen are scarred by icebreakers after enduring them nonstop during their own freshman orientations. Expect audible groans whenever anyone mentions “the I word” over the next four years.
4. Attempting to immediately befriend everyone you lay eyes on is impractical and exhausting. Being warm and approachable is one thing; endlessly seeking social validation is another.
5. Avoid being intimidated by upperclassmen. At some point, they were just as nervous and self-conscious as you were, and most of them will want nothing more than for you to feel comfortable on our campus.
6. Alone time is okay. Introversion is valid and nonstop interaction can prove exhausting; even the most gregarious extrovert is not capable of unceasing socialization.
7. Needlessly despising your resident assistant is not cute. Unless they treat you poorly, avoid antagonizing them. Most of them are kind people who just wanted free housing and befriending them will only make your year easier.
8. Roommates are smelly, so invest in a scent diffuser. Body odor can be effectively disguised by copious amounts of citrus-scented oil.
9. Your immune system will resent you after sharing a bathroom with 30 other people. Recognize the inevitability of getting sick or risk being caught in a perennial cycle of illness.
10. If you are fortunate enough to escape living in Green and Gold Village or the Botetourt Complex, be deferential and avoid complaining about your freshman hall. Other people have it much, much worse than you.
11. Get a job on campus. Obtaining employment will strengthen your time management skills, connect you to new friends and faculty members and give you another thing to complain about on days when you feel stressed.
12. Go to a few frat parties. If you go with a buddy and stay safe, They’re not as terrible as you may imagine them.
13. A lemon almond biscotti from Swemroma’s cannot solve your problems, but I promise that it will make them significantly more manageable.
14. If you ever need to escape campus, walk or run to the College Landing Park. It’s usually empty, is less than a two-mile journey, and provides a great place for reflection.
15. Wren 10s feel like a deleted scene from “Pitch Perfect,” and you should definitely go to them.
16. Sample as many clubs as possible. I went to 20 interest meetings last September and stuck with the five organizations that I felt passionately about. Casting a wide net is essential to finding what matters to you.
17. Be kind when hanging out with your friends; everyone loves the person who pitches in snacks and beverages for the group.
18. Get free samples at the Peanut Shop. Nothing beats nibbling on a few dark chocolate peanut brittle bites, especially ones that you are not obligated to purchase.
19. Blackbird’s, a divine French bakery in Colonial Williamsburg, has incredible sales on bread in the afternoon. Nothing in this complicated world is better than a cheap baguette; take advantage of it whenever you feel fancy.
20. Take as many apples and bananas from Sadler as possible. Regardless of how many you seize, it cannot be considered stealing given the exorbitant financial burden of your freshman meal plan.
21. Please do not spend $100 on a hammock. For every 10 people I knew that purchased a hammock last year, only one of them would ever hang it up and use it. I urge you to just sit on the Sunken Garden and see how that treats you.
22. Freshman year is an incredible whirlwind, and you will remember this moment as where it all began. Good luck.
Email Ethan Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org.