Watch out for the curmudgeons and Christmas graduates
If you’re just starting university, chances are you don’t know anyone on campus. Orientation is a great opportunity to meet friends before homework starts to pile up. As someone who has been involved in McMaster University’s Orientation Week since 2009, I thought I’d share six types of people that you’re likely to meet and some advice on how to approach them.
The Curmudgeons: These people are vocal about what they dislike, and they dislike a lot. They think the events are cheesy, the cheers are dumb and despise football. In some cases, they just doesn’t know how to get engaged. In other cases, they may be homesick or having a rough time outside of university and that’s affecting their ability to have fun. Chat with them to see if you can help but remember that some people are just complainers. Don’t let them ruin your fun. Oh, and don’t become the curmudgeon yourself.
The Christmas Graduates: The only thing this person loves more than partying is telling everyone how much they like to party. You can often find these people upside down on a keg of beer. More importantly, however, you willl rarely find them in classes because they’re so focused on their social lives. The upside to being friends with them is that you’ll meet a lot of people. The downside is that they are likely to fail their classes and may drop out after December’s exams so it’s best to hang out with them sparingly or they may rub off on you.
The Gurus: Helpful upper-year students are valuable. Misplaced your room keys? Not sure what to bring to classes? Want to know how to get involved? Upper-year students can solve these problems and many more. They are also sources of used textbooks, which can help you save money.
The Rising Stars: These people radiate passion. They were highly involved in high school and already have plans to run for student governments, sign up for clubs and try out for teams. They might come across as intense but you can learn a lot by being around them. If you hang around them, you’ll stay up-to-date on campus events (whether you like it or not) and if you’re looking to make a difference, they can be a source of motivation, inspiration, advice, encouragement and assistance.
The Patients: You will likely meet someone who broke a leg or got sick in late August and is just getting better during orientation week. It’s easy for them to get ignored. Although they might not be able to participate in everything as easily as you can, if you take the time to talk to them, you may make new friends. They’re looking to have a great time, just like you.
The Best Friends: Sometimes you just click with a completely random person. Treasure these connections throughout your time at university because they will be responsible for some of your fondest memories and will help you through hard times. In first year, I told a joke to a group of people and one girl responded with this ridiculous laugh. She has been a close friend ever since.
There’s no guarantee that you’ll make friends during that first week, but you will meet hundreds of people and it’s up to you to make the right connections.
Zachary Strong is in his final year at McMaster University where he blogs about higher education.