By Zara Karimi (18A01A), Ianni Tan (18S03C), Zacchaeus Chok (18S03O) and Jeslyn Tan (18S06R)
Feature Picture by Raffles Photographic Society
Popular opinion seems to suggest that you either love Orientation or hate it: there are stories of Orientation Groups (OG) that stay together until graduation, and OGs that barely acknowledge each others’ existence once Orientation is over. As you wonder what sort of OG you will wind up being assigned to, you would have probably come to the conclusion that Orientation is definitely a potentially perilous hotbed of social interaction.
In our attempt to help you better navigate your way through the 4 days ahead, we have dissected the basic unit of an OG and have concluded that there are 4 types of people that will likely be your fellow OG-mate.
1 – The Life of the Party
Profile: They’re loud and filled with energy, even after a solid hour of running from other teams under the sun during War Games. They never seem to tire, and their enthusiasm for all things Orientation is rather infectious. The unofficial leader of the group, fellow members turn to them for dinner options and strategic decisions.
If this sounds just like you, we applaud you for your enthusiasm and high spirits. You are a rare, but incredibly important breed of OG-ling.
While socialising is certainly a piece of cake for you, we have a word of caution. Don’t forget that not everybody is as hyped-up as you are. In fact, there are many who might be feeling shy, uncomfortable or tired.
Try to encourage, but don’t impose. Encouraging people to step up alongside you is a tactful way of being inclusive, and preventing yourself from coming off as overly-enthusiastic. After all, when you’re giddy with excitement, you might unintentionally exclude and alienate others around you.
For the rest of us, try to show support for these brave souls who have taken the initiative to step up in front of a group of total strangers. It is anything but easy.
2 – The Contributor
Profile: Always there, always has ideas, and doesn’t mind blending in to the background every now and then.
If there was a Venn diagram of social interaction, this group of people would fall in the overlapping space between the Life of the Party and the Observer (see below); they oscillate between these two types. They’re perfectly fine with sinking back and becoming one with the fixture, but they also voice out their opinions and ideas when the time feels right.
These people usually go with the flow, checking the social atmosphere before deciding on their method of approach. If everyone is silent, they step up to take the lead; if there’s someone else charging ahead, they’re willing to let them lead. These people usually have great ideas during War Games, so keep an eye out for their gameplans!
Essentially, you have great ideas and a solid ability to read the mood at hand.
Of course, it’s important to know how to find that balance between speaking out and blending in. Make sure your ideas are heard, and if you second-guess yourself, never fear! Any idea is a good idea, so just throw it out there and see where it goes.
While you’re at it, don’t forget the sidelined members in your OG. Get to know them better, and try to form friendships with them. Although it may be tempting, refrain from nudging them to speak up or bluntly asking them “Why are you so quiet?”. If they’re introverted, it’s just who they are.
3 – The Follower
Profile: They nod quietly, and drift along calmly, steered towards wherever The Life Of The Party chooses to take their OG. Probably your average OG-ling who is simultaneously trying to adapt to the environment shock.
Frequency : 40%
As ironic as it may seem, the behaviour that characterises this type is unfortunately the exact same behaviour that many of us regret after Orientation is over. Yes, you might not be completely disengaged, and you certainly don’t cause any trouble for the group, but it’s a strange, uncomfortable sort of middle ground.
Simply going along with the loudest person in the group is unarguably an easy and a good way to tide yourself through Orientation, but just how fulfilling can this be?
As cliche as it may sound, how much you put into these 4 days will be proportional to how much you gain from it. As terrifying as it may be, Orientation does provide all OGL-ings with a rare opportunity to meet new people, and to dedicate all your time to the single pursuit of having fun together. Don’t be too afraid to disagree. As long as you are respectful and open-minded, your opinion could very well provide a viable alternative that could bring your OG closer. We promise that Life Of The Party really doesn’t turn savage whenever somebody decides to play the devil’s advocate.
If you’re (understandably) too uncomfortable to do it on your own, you could enlist the help of The Contributor, who will gladly act as your personal megaphone. The goal isn’t to morph into The Life Of The Party overnight. That’s unrealistic, and to be vocal just for the sake of it really is anything but a good option. Take slow yet steady, proactive steps outside of your comfort zone, and you will soon start to reap the sweet fruits of your labour.
4 – The Silent One
Profile: Elusive, often lurking in the background while the other members aggregate in a circle…..
They’re the ones who sit in silence. Do you know their names? Probably not, because you couldn’t hear them during the introductions. They seem to be perfectly content on their own. They don’t speak. Once you’re dismissed, they disappear before you can even pick up your bag.
Anti-social comes to mind. But truly, more often than not, what lies behind this unfortunate label is the inertia and difficulty to warm up to the OG. After all, the image of an introverted guy bursting with boisterous roars of laughter amongst an equally exuberant Orientation group does not come to mind. Simply put, it is difficult to relate.
On hindsight, what this breed should aim for is not to become a follower. Rather, it probably is about making Orientation bearable at the very least. If you cannot enjoy orientation thoroughly, perhaps the best outcome is to leave orientation with 2 or 3 new friends.
“Bilateralism over multilateralism. Try to foster strong personal interactions instead of mashing into the group.”, says a classic Silent One, who obviously wants to remain anonymous. In fact, forming friendships with at least 2 members obviously increases engagement with the OG as a whole (at least you are friends with 1/10 of your OG).
There will be plenty of social pressure. But crucially, don’t pressure yourself too much. There will be much prompting to be like the other more extraverted members or you might even start to question why you aren’t like the other members. Avoid the latter. Rejoice in the fact that there is a high likelihood of another member who doesn’t understand the laughters and cheers during Orientation. Talk to that person!
At the end of the day, it does not actually matter which type you identify as. Orientation should not, and was never intended to be a social game. The prospect of members fighting to be the most dominant and loud-spoken in the group is simply weird and unnecessary. Regardless of your personality, there is only one sure-fire way to enjoy yourself at Orientation — and that is to go in with an open mind, take proactive steps in trying to socialise, and simply enjoy what the programme has to offer you. We hope that you’ll have a wonderful time!