You are on the brink of a host of new experiences: from watching the sun rise on the Quad as you slink home from an essay-writing marathon to dancing on tables in Ladd House. We know the academics and the extracurriculars at Bowdoin will challenge you and define much of your next four years here. But throughout all of this, you will be flanked by 498 other members of the Class of 2017. And, during any given year, you’ll be surrounded by 1300-odd students in different class years. We’re not sure if we believe the mythical statistic that 40 percent of Polar Bears marry another Polar Bear, but we have no doubt that many of the still-strange faces around you will become wonderful friends for years to come.

First Year Orientation is designed to ease the transition from life as you knew it to the brave new world of college. And these first few weeks require you to be just that: brave. Do not immediately cut yourself off from social opportunities by constantly Skyping, texting or Facebook messaging your friends from home. Some of you have not had to make new friends in a while and are loathe to put yourself out there—but isolating yourself on the internet is not going to help.

There is no way you will meet each and every one of your classmates during the five days that Orientation lasts. You will likely find comfort hanging out with your Orientation trip group, the people who live on your floor, and the teammates you meet right off the bat. But everyone comes to Bowdoin from different backgrounds and experiences and you will do yourself a disservice if you don’t branch out from those early clusters. You’ll be much happier moving through Bowdoin if you keep your mind open to new friends everywhere from your Econ 101 review session to the Thorne salad bar to the beer line at Helmreich House.

We know this is easier said than done. Finding a group of friends isn’t difficult—as you’ll soon find, if you haven’t already, it requires pretty minimal effort. The much harder thing is to continue making friends once you feel established here. During Orientation, it’s common to interpret “staying open to new people” as something being asked of you, rather than advice being given to you. But Bowdoin is small and by senior year, it can feel really small. Be selfish and keep making friends. If you join an extracurricular next week and then never go back after this Thanksgiving break, that’s fine, but you won’t regret meeting the people you did during your time there.

In his commencement address at Syracuse University this past spring, author George Saunders said that the most important thing students can do as they go out into the world is to “err in the direction of kindness.” He observed that as humans grow older, they grow kinder, and he urged his audience to speed this process up. Here at Bowdoin, we’ve found that as we grow older, we’ve grown more accepting of the discomfort of small-stage social interactions. We learn to appreciate the awkwardness of the Bowdoin hello, the unease of sitting across from a two-time hookup in a six-person class, the leap of faith in branching out from your roommates to eat dinner with a friend you met on a  rafting trip. Everyone you now meet on campus—either on the dance floor or in the elevator—you will meet again. Cultivate open-mindedness, forgive first impressions, and relish that which is not immediately comfortable. Staying open to friendships may not be one of Bowdoin’s distribution requirements, but you’ll give yourself a lot of credit if you continue to make new friends through senior year.

This editorial represents the majority view of The Bowdoin Orient’s editorial board, which is comprised of Claire Aasen, Erica Berry, Nora Biette-Timmons, Marisa McGarry, Sam Miller, Sam Weyrauch and Kate Witteman.