Making the Most of Orientation Week

Orientation Week, or as I like to call it, Seven Days Perfecting The Art of Small Talk, is just a few weeks away.

The orientation experience is different for everyone- when I reminisce about it with my friends, some insist it was the highlight of their year, some nod in semi-agreement and for others it was just ‘meh’.

Here are a few things that I found useful before orientation:

Be sure to dress practically

From the parade to Clubs Day and all the activities your college or faculty will have prepared for you most involve some degree of physical exertion and so it’s a good idea to dress in something that is comfortable for you. I preferred to wear something light and airy because it was close to thirty degrees and higher during my Orientation week, and of course- comfortable footwear. Maybe save those new strappy heels or leather shoes for another day- your feet will thank you with every step.

Be prepared

During the parade my year, it was so swelteringly hot that my half-filled bottle of water finished up in an instant and I totally regretted not having brought more. Bottled water is not sold on campus and you’re going to need to stay hydrated so make sure you’ve got some with you at all times! Carry an extra if you’ve got space (and then, if anyone needs some during the parade, you can whip yours out, heroically save them from dehydration and bam- instant friendship).

Try not to get overwhelmed by it all

There’s a lot to take in during those first seven days, you’ll be drinking in all the sights of our beautiful campus, surrounded by hundreds of potential new friends, plied with leaflets, free pens, food, stickers and freezies at the clubs fair and be surrounded by so many possibilities.

This sudden explosion of activity after two solid months of Internet surfing (in my case) can sometimes be a lot to deal with and it’s okay to skip out on an event if you feel like doing something more low-key. I remember when it all got a little too much for me during the parade, a few people I had just met decided to turn back around and head into a coffee shop to take a breather and I had a great time joining them.

photo of frosh parade in fron t of the UC building
don't forget to take lots of photos!

You can always pick and choose what you want to go to- and you don’t need to limit yourself to just the activities that your college or faculty has planned- UTSU has lots of stuff going on, as does the CIE, so there are lots of alternatives.

Another little thing that helped me during Clubs Day was picking up a Clubs Handbook beforehand from the UTSU ( or you could check out the ULife website) , making a mental note of the clubs that sounded interesting to me so I knew which booths I needed to locate on the day of and could them leisurely stroll around when I was done.

photo of pen and UofT map
I also took out some time to locate my classes so I wouldn't have to panic on the first day of lecture

Lastly, remember to smile and just enjoy yourself.

Even if your week isn’t going exactly as planned, it’s still a new experience.

Yes, there might be a lot of awkward moments and conversation consisting of small talk (more on that in the next blog post!).

But as you breathe in the fresh summer air, relish walking down St. George Street without having a tutorial to go to or infinite readings on your mind, try catching a glimpse of what looks like Bob the Builder-slash-Barney the Dinosaur running through Queen’s Park (hint: it’s the engineers), and enjoy those five minutes of fame with passersby videotaping you on their smartphones as you march down Bloor.


Are you excited for orientation, U of T? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter at Life@UofT!


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