College orientation is an odd experience that evokes the same feelings of discomfort, weirdness, and endless possibility as being in a 24-hour-Walmart at two a.m. Perhaps the strangest part is the lurking awareness that the awkward freshman you’re meeting now might turn out to be your best friend or your future spouse. But not everyone you meet during orientation will have a lasting role in your life—you’ll also exchange numbers with some people you’ll never talk to again (although you could never forget them). For example:
The one who posted way too much in the class group
When they tell you their name, it sounds vaguely familiar, but you can’t place why. Then you remember—you’ve seen it before, in the Brown University Class of 2021 Admitted Students Facebook Group. You suddenly realize, with growing shock (you can’t believe it’s a real person!) that this is the face that goes along with the lengthy, overly personal introduction and the thousands of questions (What’s the best dining hall? Who else is living in Grad Center B? Anyone interested in starting an Adult-Coloring-Books-Appreciation Club?). At this point, their reputation precedes them.
The one who wants to prove they’re cool
You’ve only been talking to them for a few minutes, but in that time they’ve made it clear that they already know a ton of upperclassmen and they’re ‘better’ at drinking than you are. You can’t hate them though, because their desire to prove their worth has resulted in a promise that they’ll buy you alcohol with the fake ID that’s never failed them, even on their craziest nights.
The one who’s not over high school
Maybe they were valedictorian, or class president, or captain of the 2017 High School Mock Trial Championship-winning team. Whatever it is, they’re not quite ready to make the move from a small pond to a bigger one. You can spot them trying to compare SAT scores and not-so-subtly referencing how good their high school was… as if you didn’t all end up in the same place anyways.
The one who’s a mess
This kid never seems to know what’s going on—you probably met when they asked you for directions to “Salmon Hall” for “something about diversity?” You can find them trying to figure out who else didn’t do the assigned First Reading or walking in late to any given event. At worst, they’re needy and annoying. At best, they make you seem totally prepared!
I don’t need to tell you how to identify them. They’ll identify themselves.