How to Make the Most Out of NSOP
By now you have probably heard about NSOP, or the New Student Orientation Program which happens the week before classes begin. It can be daunting to have so much time of icebreakers and other getting-to-know-you games, but it is also a great opportunity to explore campus, New York City, and meet other Barnard first years since this is the only time you won’t have homework! While there are some mandatory events during NSOP, you will have plenty of time to make the week your own. It’s been a few years since my own NSOP, and there’s plenty I would have told my first year self to make NSOP even better. Here are some ways to make your first week of living on campus great, based off my own advice to my first-year self:
Use the neighborhood tours as a way to explore the city
The great thing about college is that you are responsible for your own time, from your study habits to how you use your free time. During NSOP, it can be easy to stay on campus especially since there are plenty of optional events. Looking back to my own NSOP three short years ago, I wish I had taken advantage of the various neighborhood tours led by Orientation Leaders. I still haven’t been to the Brooklyn Bridge! Having a mostly-organized time to visit other parts of the city—especially other boroughs—is a great opportunity to explore. You are of course not limited to just the time of the NSOP event—feel free to stay in whatever area you’re visiting, try a new restaurant (you’ll have plenty of time to eat in Hewitt), or see what else the area has to offer. It’s definitely possible to see the city when school starts, but this is truly the only time when you’ll have no other obligations and can really take your time to explore and have fun.
Say hi, give a compliment, or sit next to someone new
I know I said this is advice I’d give to my first year self, however something I am proud of doing is pushing myself to talk to new people. This advice is probably the oldest in the book when it comes to starting college, but cliche things are cliche for a reason: everyone is new and just as eager to make friends as you are. You might not be friends with everyone your introduce yourself to, but of course it never hurts to be friendly. Maybe they’re your neighbor or you’ll have a friendly face on your first day of classes!
Step out of your comfort zone
This is the “mom advice” part (although I wouldn’t argue that most of this my mom probably did tell me before NSOP my freshman year), but moms are pretty rarely wrong. So here it goes: “Say yes to everything!”* But also don’t be afraid to initiate yourself. See if your OL group wants to grab dinner together, or ask your roommate or next door neighbor what activities they plan on doing that day. Again, you never know where that might take you…
*within reason, of course.