If you’re reading this and have been accepted to RIT, congratulations! Honestly, going to college away from my hometown was such a different experience for me. For someone who lives 6 hours away from their college, reflecting back on when I was a freshman I was really getting out of my comfort zone with being so far from home. I’d never lived on my own, and I’d certainly never done so in a new location where I didn't know anyone. It’s an exciting experience when you finally pick your roommate, figure out what floor you’re going to be on in the residence halls, and walk around the campus as an actual student for the first time. It’s such a feeling of accomplishment for all the work you put in to get here!
Orientation week was such a blast as well! You arrive on campus about a week before classes start to move in, get familiar with the campus, and start making some awesome connections with the other people in your orientation group. There are lots of activities around campus and a bunch of fun events to meet all the other freshmen. My favorite memory from orientation week was just meeting my Orientation Leader, an upperclassman who is assigned to your orientation group during the program. I remember how crazy it was trying to remember my way around campus during that first week and making sure I was in the right areas for events.
When you start classes that first week, everyone else is back and it can be pretty intense. It’s always a good idea to go on the academic side of campus to try and find out which classes are where before they start so you know where to go and don’t end up late when it comes time to actually attend the first day of classes! If I ever end up taking a class in a new building, I still do this even as a junior to make sure I figure out exactly where I need to be ahead of time.
You also have your Resident Assistant who will be living on your floor with you in the residence halls. They are awesome at planning fun floor events and activities to help you bond and socialize with your floormates. They are also in charge of making sure that everyone on the floor is getting along and that any problems or disagreements are quickly settled. Some of the different events we used to do as a floor included rock climbing every Saturday at the Red Barn, and also dinner with the whole floor on Fridays for whoever was available.
When it comes to your social circles when you first get here on campus, I feel like I first was closest with my orientation group, then expanded that circle with the people on my floor. From there it was super easy to make even more awesome connections once classes started and I was able to see who shared my classes. Sometimes it was awesome to see who knew each other too! What I love about the social side of RIT is how everyone has different backgrounds and passions. It’s such a diverse place and there’s always a cool new perspective that gets introduced!