Bad orientation experience?

this is my first post ever so i hope the formatting is ok. i’m an incoming freshman at a college with about 6000 students. our orientation was split into two parts, virtual and in-person. the virtual portion was completely online and i had no problem with that. the in-person session was 3 hours long and we were split into groups of 5-7 students with 2 orientation leaders. honestly, i did not enjoy my in-person session at all. my orientation leaders didn’t really know what they were doing and didn’t plan enough activities, so we redid the same 2-3 icebreakers over and over. in my group, the students weren’t much better either. there were 2 students that were already friends from high school, 1 student that had selective mutism so she did not participate in any activities, 1 student that also refused to participate because she thought it was “lame”, and 2 more students i just didn’t click with. we all basically stood around awkwardly repeating icebreakers for about 3 hours straight with huge gaps of silence in between. my orientation leaders also told us that this school is like a continuation of high school, because “everyone on campus knows everyone else and their flaws and will bully you for it, so you better be careful to not embarrass yourself” (i feel like 6000 students is still too many to know every single student though?). they also made some rude comments about my hometown (i live in a rural area) and some of the students in my group joined in. i went into orientation trying to be positive and i hoped i would make some friends, but i was barely able to talk to anyone at all. when i saw the other groups, they seemed to be having a good time, so maybe i just got stuck with a bad group?? i’m not sure though. even though i haven’t attended classes yet, i also had no luck making friends with people on the school’s facebook and Instagram pages, so i had really high hopes for meeting people at orientation. i feel like it was a waste of time and we didn’t even get a full campus tour or any new information (besides what is already posted online). we didn’t get any presentations either, and we already registered for classes prior to orientation, so it was literally only awkward icebreakers for 3 hours straight. no one in my group made friends. i’m planning on attending at least one semester before making a decision to transfer, but is this a sign i should transfer schools? or is this just bad luck? has anyone else had an orientation experience like this? i feel really out of place so far.

Bad luck. Wait and see about housing, clubs, intramurals, service activities.

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No, this definitely not a sign you should transfer schools. I’ll say statistically speaking you’re unlikely to meet friends in a short orientation session, especially because everyone is still in “high school” mode; you know what I mean, where most kids still care what other people think about them. A lot of that fades away as classes start. What types of things are you into in your spare time; what do you do for fun, and what do you plan on studying?

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I wouldn’t judge the college and its students based on the orientation session, especially not with 5-7 students. My kid had to camp in remote woods for four days with 6 other students and didn’t click with any of them. She loved her four years.


I think you are feeling transition jitters. I just moved and can relate! It takes time- sometimes months-to adjust, meet people, and develop routines. Some freshmen who are unhappy even at winter vacation end up thriving- I have seen it several times. Clearly you are trying really hard. I think things will improve!

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I actually had an orientation like that for my job - we had to sit with the same table mates for all three DAYS and I didn’t care for them very much. Apparently some new employees make lifelong friends at their tables but not me! Job is OK, though!
If you are asked to evaluate the session, make your points clear (and especially that one about bullies, jeez.)

Don’t worry about it. You will meet tons of people on your floor, in your classes, and in any activities you choose to participate in. It will be fine.

You just had a bad orientation leader. Honestly, I don’t see the purpose of having a “mixer” for only 5-7 students! And for three hours? Really? Ugh. Can’t blame you one bit.

6000 undergrads is not a small school. There are sure to be plenty of people that you’ll like. Just forget about that cruddy orientation session.


I had an awful start and this didn’t stop me from making lifelong (I hope) friends gradually later ! Don’t worry !