To Pregame, or not to Pregame: A Guide to Freshman Orientation


If you’re an incoming first-year, you’ve probably spent the past two weeks reading this, which means you’ve probably spent the past two weeks feeling overwhelmed by the sheer number of activities Brown has prepared for Orientation week. Plus, your MTV-generated expectations of the first week of college have definitely got you feeling worried about the amount you think you’ll have to drink this week. Never fear – the Blog is here to guide you through this most trying of times. Here are all the orientation events to hit and whether you should pregame them or not!

(Editor’s note: If you’re under 21, we recommend “pregaming” with a nice cool glass of lemonade! This week is the hottest Brown will ever be, so take this post as a friendly reminder to keep hydrated.)

Excellent technique.
What excellent technique.

Saturday, September 2


8:30 am – 6:30 pm

I mean probably not. Unless your parents are, like, really chill. But even then, it’s probably best to unpack your room and meet your roomie for the first time with a clear mind.

Campus Tours

11:00 am and 4:00 pm

This is probably something you’ll actually want to remember. Paying attention here will make the first days of class sooo much easier. I skipped this my freshman year, and actually tried to search “Ratty” on google maps when I tried to meet my roommate for lunch (FYI, search ‘Sharpe Refectory’ instead). Plus, you’re still with your parents, right?

First Unit Meeting

8:30 pm – 10:00 pm

Hmmm, I don’t think pre-gaming this would make the best first impression.

Ice Cream Social

10:00 pm – Midnight

Yes. The ice cream social is (as the name would suggest) an incredibly social event, attended by many freshmen (and many upperclassmen pretending to be freshmen in order to get some free ice cream). The timing couldn’t get any better – go bond with your new Unit friends the only way college students know how: getting incredibly drunk together in an incredibly small room. And hard milkshakes are the undeniable truth that ice cream and alcohol really do mix well together. Just saying.

When Brown gives you free ice cream, make ice cream mixed drinks?
When Brown gives you free ice cream, make ice cream mixed drinks?

Sunday, September 3

Send-Off Reception

1:00 pm – 2:00 pm

Go for the free lemonade and cookies, stay for the speeches! This is the moment when it all really hits you. Use this as an opportunity to realize that you’re really at college now and say farewell to your parents (sober).

Engaging Diversity: Sharing our Stories and Unit Discussion

2:30 pm – 5:00 pm

Being drunk here has the potential to be more than a little embarrassing. So I would have to say no.

Unit Dinner

5:00 pm – 7:00 pm

Yes. Being drunk the first time you eat at the Ratty is not a bad idea. The longer you delay the inevitable oh-god-am-I-really-going-to-be-eating-french-fries-every-day-for-the-next-year thoughts, the better. Plus, Units tend to be a group of people brought together more by proximity than actual similarity. Getting a little tipsy beforehand will probably offer the social lubricant you need to get the conversation flowing.

First-Year Festival

9:30 pm – midnight

Duh. Temporary tattoos? Karaoke? Donuts on a string??? There’s only one more thing that could possibly make these more fun. Fun pre-games for the Festival games include “How Many Freshman Can We Fit in this One Dorm Room?” and “Who Will be the First to Steal the Table from the Lounge for Beer Pong?”.

So many Freshmen, so little space.
So many Freshmen, so little space.

Midnight Organ Concert

Midnight – 1:30 am

It’s not a bad idea to pregame this but I would advise against pregaming so heavily that you decide to not go. The midnight organ concert is really fun and an amazing experience, especially if you’ve never heard an organ before. Check it out!


Monday, September 4

First Readings Seminar

9:00 am – 10:20 am, 10:30 am – 11:50 am

I wouldn’t. These are almost aggressively early.

Academic Expo

3:00 pm – 4:30 pm

Nah. But you can think of this as a pregame of knowledge for when you meet with your advisors!

Seeing a Freshman in the library.


Games on the Green and Tie Dye

3:00 pm – 4:30 pm

See, usually I would say yes but I’m actually going to hold off and say that you should pace yourself for the night. This way you can show all your new friends your athletic side with no fear of feeling queasy!

After all, nothing's more awkwardly fun than sober Twister.
After all, nothing’s more awkwardly fun than sober Twister. And nothing’s more straight-up awkward than just vomitting on your competitors.

Promoting a Culture of Consent and Community Care

5:00 pm – 6:15 pm, 6:30 pm – 7:45 pm, 8:00 pm – 9:15 pm

Nope. Pay attention!

Art Gallery Mocktail Patry

9:30 pm – 10:30 pm

Yes! Especially since Andrews is supplying you with free mixers. Less mocktail party, more cocktail party, if you get my drift…

The Annual Orientation Dance

10:30 pm – 1:00 am

Absolutely. While some of you may feel too cool for this, trust me: you won’t feel that way after a few drinks. Dress for the theme! Get rowdy on the dance floor! You won’t regret it.

The Orientation Dance is actually nothing like this photo.
Disclaimer: the Orientation Dance is actually nothing like this photo.


Tuesday, September 5

Academic Advising Group Meeting and Individual Meetings with Academic Advisors

9:00 am – 3:00 pm

No (obviously).

Opening Convocation

4:00 pm

Honestly, pregaming this wouldn’t be a terrible idea. Walking through those Gates takes a looooong time. It really depends on how you want to remember your most iconic moment of Orientation!

I'm a huge supporter of banning selfies during Convocation. It would certainly speed up the walking time!
I’m a huge supporter of banning selfies during the gate-walking portion of Convocation.

Online Registration

7:00 pm

Honestly, registration is stressful enough as is. Use your time before 7:00 wisely (checking out classes and talking to your Meiklejohn about how to use your PIN, etc.)

Unit Meeting

8:00 pm – 10:00 pm

Unless your Unit has ~figured something out~ this is also probably not one to pregame. Tuesday is a recovery day, you guys. Orientation Week is a marathon, not a race!


Wednesday, September 6

First Day of Classes

Yeah, you probably shouldn’t pregame your classes either. That’s a dangerous habit to start cultivating in your first week…

Same! Actually, wait…

Brown’s Amazing Race

6:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Yup. Running around campus like fools… oh to be a freshman again…

Arts and Crafts

8:00 pm – 10:00 pm

I’m not going to tell you to pregame this or not to pregame this. But I am going to tell you to go and pick up a free doorstop.


Thursday, September 7

Activities Fair

5:00 pm – 8:00 pm

If you show up the Activities Fair drunk and come to the Blog table, you will definitely get a free sticker from Yours Truly. Say hi!

They're really cool stickers, you guys.

Friday, September 8

Brown’s Got Talent

8:00 pm – 10:00 pm

Yes (unless you’re performing). Go a little tipsy and prepare to be amazed by your classmates!


Saturday, September 9

Unit Rally

4:00 pm – 6:00 pm

By now you’ve probably assessed the vibe of your Unit, so I’ll leave this one up to you. I wouldn’t discourage it, though. The more into the Unit Rally you are, the more fun it will be!

A Capella Arch Sings

7:30 pm – midnight

Yes. For some reason, listening to a group of students make music with their mouths has become a quintessential part of the college experience. Don’t miss out on these first arch sings because there will be a ton of other freshmen out there – grab a group of friends and take the pregame to the arches! Isn’t live music an upgrade from your crappy speakers anyway?


Sunday, September 10

Unit Wars

1:30 pm – 4:00 pm

Yes! The games you play in Unit Wars do not require a tremendous amount of physical exertion, but they do require you to totally abandon your sense of shame… in a fun way!

You don't want to know what you're going to have to do with this.
You don’t want to know what you’re going to have to do with this.

Meik Meal

4:45 pm – 7:30 pm

No, I wouldn’t add anything else to the comedown from Unit Wars. Plus, it’s always nice to actually be lucid when you meet with your Advising Group. Chances are a few of you are in the same classes and you can form study groups/ ask your Meik for help.


Congratulations! If you survived this week, you are officially Oriented at Brown. Double Congratulations if you made it through the week without being EMS’d. But seriously, drink responsibly, okay?

If you ride in one of these your first week
Vehicles you don’t want to be seen in during Orientation week (in increasing order of embarrassment): 1) a cop car, 2) an EMS ambulance, 3) your mom’s car.



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