After 3 months of not doing very much at all, the week of orientation has come as nothing short of a shock to the system. New people, new places, new subjects, new lecturers, new buses, new assignments….

It’s a lot to take in, and a lot to get used to. Which is why I’ve found there are a few ‘side-effects’ to the whole process.


Side effect #1: Social overload.

Most new students at Auckland University are expected to attend their faculty orientation day, which has a day allocated in the orientation schedule. However, if you’re doing a conjoint (like me), you might feel like going to both faculty orientations. Word of advice: prepare yourself to be asked for “a fun fact about yourself” during orientation day. Don’t do what I did and stand there cracking under pressure…”Hi, I’m Grace and uh…..”

You’ll find that simple conversation is a gift when making new friends- it’s much easier to remember people if you know what school they went to, or where in the country they are from. My most common mistake when meeting people for the first time is forgetting to mention my own name. A common example:

New person:“Hi, I’m (insert name of new person here)”

Me: “Hi, nice to meet you”


New person: “and your name is…?”



If you’re like me and tend to crack a bit under pressure, it’s good to keep in mind that first impressions aren’t that big of a deal- you’re not going to make any enemies on the first day. Stay positive, smiley, and don’t spring your life story on anyone you’ve only just met.

Side effect #2: Tiredness.

One of the downsides of going to several orientations is that they tend to drag on a bit and by the end of the week you’re incredibly tired and drained from meeting all these new people. But, in true student fashion, we must gather up all our left over energy for the rite-of-passage toga party on the Friday night.

My friend Jess (featured on the right) and I decided to walk our way into town in our togas, which was all going well until the right platform of my heel decided to come off while we were crossing the road. I’m a problem-solver at heart, and so after a moment of panic (oh no im going to be short!) I pulled the platform off my other shoe and danced around in soles all night. Problem solved. No thanks to Jess, who couldn’t stop laughing! On a side note, if you noticed a random pair of heel platforms on Grafton road- those were probably mine.


Side effect #3: Reality shocks.

The transition from high school to university can seem a little unreal & rather daunting. One of the more challenging aspects of the university environment is coming to the realization that you are a small fish in a very very very big pond. For one, there are a huge number of students at the university (as I found when I tried to purchase my books from UBS on day one along with the rest of the student population), but also because university is full of so many talented individuals. The fact is, no one cares much about your social status, your grades or the way you dress. It’s very refreshing, and I like it. 🙂

– Grace