You may feel excited at starting your university life. At the same time, some people out there are equally excited at seeing you. They are your university seniors who organize various welcome camps just before your actual date of matriculation. While you can still go for camps in the future, freshman orientation camps offer unique experiences as you enter an important stage in your life and everything looks different, promising and “fresh”. But you may feel a little bit overwhelmed by the number of camps that happen almost within the same month! Should you go for such camps? How to choose and how many to choose? Let us share you some tips.
A camp for your major
Broadly speaking, freshman camps consist of faculty camps, CCA camps and hall camps. Let us take a look first at what faculty camps have in stock for you. By the time you are thinking about going for faculty camps, you have already selected your major. But you don’t know your future classmates. The university learning environment is not very conducive for making friends, as a lecture hall can accommodate more than two hundred students who are taking the same module. Too many people may actually be an obstacle to making friends as the community is not close-knit. So don’t miss this opportunity in camps to know people so that you can attend lessons together, have dinner together or do projects together. Friendship makes everything easier.
Since CCA is almost an indispensable part of your university life, you may want to go for camps organized by various clubs on campus. The majority of such camps are organized by the Student Union, sports clubs such as ODAC and special interest groups such as camps for students of a certain religion. If you want to join a certain club after you matriculate, it is a good idea to go for its camp to know people in advance and find out how the culture in the club is like. For some popular CCA such as the Student Union where competition for places is strong, you will be viewed in a better light if you go for their camps that clearly demonstrate your interest.
Camps with your Future Hall Mates
Lastly, if you want to stay in a hall as many other freshmen, we strongly encourage you to go for hall camps. The point of staying in a hall is really about the communal environment in which you live and learn. It is an excellent investment of time and effort to go for hall camps before you actually move into a hall. Through various hall activities, you will meet people with whom you may live and study together. Many students also take that as an opportunity to find potential roommate. Through interaction and observation, you are more likely to find a friend who you are happy to share a room with. Such voluntary pairing is far better than random allocation by the hall office.
Wait a minute
However, there are downsides common to all the camps. Each camp usually carries a fee around 50 dollars, which could be better spent elsewhere depending on your financial situation. It has also been observed that some orientation groups like to hang out in classy places and always choose restaurant over food court; you may have to conform to such a practice due to peer pressure. Moreover, risk is always a concern, especially for camps that are held outside campus or are sports-oriented. If you can’t swim or cycle or have special medical conditions, such as being prone to dehydration, read through the list of activities in a camp very carefully.
Then you may still have this question of how many camps to go for. If you go by the 3 categories of camps above, you may think that you can go for one per category. However, before you do that, we would advise you to check the schedules of the camps you are applying. Most camps happen towards the middle or end of the month before the university starts and some of them run over a few days. After days of running under the hot sun and screaming of cheers, you will definitely be tired. In fact, that can be sign that you really have enjoyed the activities. But ask yourself if you really have the stamina to repeat the same process three times within just two weeks? By the time you go for your last camps, you will most likely be exhausted and appear to be detached from the group. What’s more, intensive lessons are starting in just a few days! You don’t want to go for the first day of your lesson feeling sleepy or even unwell because you have over-worked your body in the last two weeks.
So we would say one to two camps would be optimal. If you want to go for three, make sure there is enough breathing space in between. Among the three categories of camps, make a list according to one criterion: in which community do you want to invest most time to build relationship. For example, if you want to be more active in school-related activities in the future, going for faculty camps can be your choice #1.
If you think the downsides of camps are not great concerns for you, throw yourself into those camps. No matter how exciting your university life is going to become, the thrill of being a freshman can only be experienced once. Don’t miss it.
Finally click here for a comprehensive checklist of things to bring for camps.