Welcome to Amherst, Class of 2019! Here are The Muck-Rake’s 6 Tips for Surviving Orientation


Greetings First-Years! The transition to college is a scary and stressful time for everyone. Luckily for you, the Muck-Rake editors have compiled a list of helpful tips and tricks to get you through the longest orientation period in America.

1. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

We’ve all been there: you’re in an orientation squad meeting, you really want to know if Valentine allows students to save their bread crusts in tupperware, but you don’t want to be “that kid”. Well don’t worry – your orientation leaders are friendly, well-meaning, and ready to answer any questions you may have about Amherst College, such as: “Where did you get those scars?”, “What’s your social security number?”, and “Want to grab coffee sometime?” Remember, there is no such thing as a stupid question, only stupid answers, such as “Bear accident”, “610-54-9832”, and “No.”

2. Smile, smile, smile! 

During orientation you’re going to be meeting a lot of new people, especially ones you don’t know, so it’s important to make a good impression with a nice, pleasant, unbroken, unending, smile. You can’t be sure your classmates have a perfect first memory of you, unless you beam a high-watt grin directly into their corneas for every moment of that oh-so-important initial interaction. Everyone loves meeting someone who is friendly, confident, and unwilling to lower their mouth-corners for even a microsecond. Keep in mind that eye contact should be constant and unwavering; you can’t have them thinking you’re a coward!

3. Treat everyone equally.

No matter who somebody is, where they’re from, what they ate for breakfast this morning, or the number of times they’ve avoided your longing gaze, everyone deserves to be treated like Michelle, your friend from home. When someone introduces themselves to you, just say, “No need for that introduction, Michelle! I have known you for years!” If Michelle denies knowing you, it is most likely a mistake, but forgive her; she is distraught after the death of her prized iguana, Cherry.

4. Greet people by locking eyes and repeating, “We are friends.” until it is true.

As John F. Kennedy once said, “If you do not have friends, you should fall into an extremely large pit from which you cannot climb.” To avoid Kennedy’s judgement from beyond the shroud of the Otherworld, the moment you make eye contact with another student, walk directly towards them and chant the mantra of friendship until the only thing that can tear you apart are the hairy talons of death. If your friend does not reciprocate, tell them, “How could you, Michelle? After I spent weeks nursing Cherry when she was ill?”

5. Fuck somebody up.

If you want the upperclassmen to respect you, they have to fear you first, and that means you might have to fuck somebody up on the first day, if only to show that you’re no-ones bitch. Even Yung Chip from the lacrosse team will note that you are a force with which to be reckoned, and will think twice about stepping to you on the quad. Remember to choose someone who’s unlikely to be able to beat you up, such as people asking you for directions to the Science library or professors who don’t want to jeopardize their tenure.

6. Don’t mention your checkered past.

With a new school comes a new start, free of all the burdens you bore before you became a Jeff. Michelle doesn’t need to know about your short stint in San Quentin. Say nothing of the children you left behind in El Paso with nothing but the clothes on your back, a beat up old Chevrolet, and half a pack of cigarettes.  Hell, for all they know, you’ve never even been to El Paso.