I remember a lot of awkward introductions. Bowdoin forced me to stand in a large circle on the Quad with 30 strangers, and asked everyone to please say his or her name, where they were from, and—for some reason—what everyone’s favorite gender was. Most just said female or male, but one brave hipster soul claimed she didn’t “believe in gender because it is a social construct.”

I’m not a fan of situations where I’m forced to bond with others. Call me old fashioned, but I like my icebreaking to happen with a bit of spontaneity. It’s just classier. Thus, when I went into first year orientation, I decided the best way to handle myself was to be super sarcastic and skeptical towards everything. “The man” was not going to tell me how and when I should bond with people. I would do it on my on time, in my own way.

Whenever I had to stand in some sort of bonding circle and interact with others, I would turn to the person next to me and make fun of whatever we were doing. I was a rebel without a cause—at least until I figured out that my plan was ultimately backfiring. In reality, joking with others about a mutual dislike of bonding games was actually bonding with them. It was Bowdoin’s master plan the whole time.

And then I realized, much to my dismay, that I was actually one of those dorky kids who likes college orientation. I liked that we were kept busy and the days felt long. I liked that we got to meet Barry Mills and sign that silly book. I liked that we were constantly meeting interesting people. I liked watching skits and hearing speeches; I liked how welcoming everyone was.

Already, I was beginning to learn one of the biggest lessons about being a first year at Bowdoin. Your expectations are skewed almost 80 percent of the time. So many of my first impressions turned out to be completely wrong. I wrote off College Houses as fratty places to avoid, but now I’m living in one. That being said, as awesome as Bowdoin is, these may not necessarily be “the best four years of your life,” and that’s okay.

Sometimes I was a really happy-go-lucky first year seizing opportunities and discovering new things about herself, and other times I was really cold and wished I had gone to school in California.

A lot of people struggle with adjusting to college. Former straight-A students are horrified to see the first C+ of their lives. Others who are mentally still in high school will go on about how great old friends are and keep trying to click their heels three times to return home. Some fall in love with the idea of freedom and partying so much that they go overboard. Some people will already have a really awkward hook-up story by the end of Orientation.

But don’t worry, young ones: this is also just a part of Bowdoin’s master plan. Everyone finds some kind of footing eventually. I know I did. Go on and get excited. Being in college gives you way more street-cred than being in high school. Perhaps you are dismayed that you’re back on the bottom of the pyramid. But remember, though the bottom may not be very glamorous, you have so much less accountability than everyone else. You can make mistakes because you’re new here. That’s what you’re supposed to do.