Attention freshmen and freshwomen: NSO (for those living under a rock, NSO = New Student Orientation) is approaching! It’s a well-known fact that Orientation weekend is second-to-none– at least during the Fall semester (sorry, Fling is totes better). Of course, with plenty of things to do, the first few days at Penn are chaotic. But not all school-sponsored events are created equal, so we’re here to tell you what’s what on Locust (ya know, that sidewalk through the middle of campus) and beyond. Come along, new friends!
Target Trip (2pm; International and Exchange Students-The Button/Van Pelt Library): Maybe. If you’re on campus this early as a freshie, you’re trying too hard– or you’re just an international student, which would make sense. The university-run shopping spree is not an activity to write home about, but it’s a good way to kill two hours if you can’t bear the thought of letting down your future roommate with the clashing bedspread you brought from halfway around the world.
President & Provost’s Welcome and Reception (3:15pm-College Green/Wynn Commons): Skip. There are better things you can do to settle in: Meet your hall-mates. Post photos on your wall of your high school beau. Wander campus. Wait until Convocation for Amy G. to tell you that you’re Penn’s most talented.
College House Meetings (9pm-All over campus): Go. Not only is this mandatory event somewhat entertaining, but this will probably be your first opportunity to get free stuff at Penn. Have prepared: your favorite ice cream flavor, kitchen utensil, intended major, and best pickup line.
Penn Library Social (7pm-Van Pelt): Maybe. It might sound really dorky, but it’s actually fun, and there are plenty of prizes. Unfortunately, you’ll most likely be shoved down a flight of stairs in a wild stampede of your classmates. If you do attend the Library Social, go early before the t-shirts run out!
PennFest 2012 (9pm-Wynn Commons/Houston Hall): Go. There’s a lot of food and (do we have to say it?) FREE STUFF. There are also many activities, like moonbounces and live performances. Don’t feel bad about cutting out early to wander off-campus in search of those faux-punny Facebook events (read: parties).
College House Activities (3pm-All over campus): Maybe. While technically mandatory, the 6 hours of team-building with your hall-mates are kind of excessive. If kickball and trust falls aren’t your idea of fun, cut out a drop early. No one will even notice (welcome to college)!
Toga Party (9pm-Penn Museum): Maybe. DJs and mummies don’t usually jibe, but this is a great chance to snap your first Penn prof pic. You may want to dance and show some skin, but toga parties are so 2000 years ago, so this might be a good chance to rest up a bit, especially if you plan on going out later.
Penn Athletic Picnic (5pm-Franklin Field and Penn Park): Go. Free dinner and t-shirts! Also, if you bring a shirt from another school, you can trade it in for a Penn one! This is your chance to get rid of the Penn State apparel that your confused relatives got you.
Comedy Night (9pm-Irvine Auditorium): Go. Penn always brings in comedians that are pretty funny. There are two shows, but they usually go on too long, so grab an aisle seat for early exits.
Student Organization Fair (11am-Locust Walk): Go. This is your shot to begin getting involved in student groups (read: your first of approximately 10,000 networking opportunities). Countless organizations are represented, from the Tree Climbers Club to WHAT! Under the Button is going to be there!? No way! And brunch will be served, so why not? (Note: signing up for a club’s listserv is kind of like drinking the night before a final: it’s only a great idea in the moment. Translation? You’ll learn how to unsubscribe from a listserv very, very quickly.)
Philadelphia Museum of Art Party (6:30pm-PMA): GO! Penn’s endowment is $5.8 billion. 99% of this is spent on the PMA party. A lavish dinner served on gold plates. Thousands of bottles of Cristal. Countless celebrity appearances. Okay, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but seriously-do NOT miss this party! And let’s be real: you’ll never make it back to the PMA over the next four years.
School-Specific Events (10:15am-Around campus): Go. It’s a great opportunity to hear from the Deans and meet your peer advisors. Sound exciting? It isn’t, but it’s your last chance to pick up free swag during NSO and scout out your
Convocation and Dessert Reception (7 and 8:15pm-College Green/Wynn Commons): GO! Fact: A-Gut will tell you how special you are. Fact: This is one of the few times you’ll be with your entire class in one place. Fact: The reception afterwards is totally worth it. SO MANY DESSERTS.
And don’t forget that various Penn groups host late-night events Thursday through Sunday nights for those who don’t want to go to off-campus parties. Got more questions? Check out PennNSO’s twitter or contact them at ungodly hours at 215-898-7000.