Hello again! As promised, I told you all that I was planning to write an in-depth explanation about what I have been up to for the last three weeks. As, I mentioned previously, I wrote that I would be on a “working adventure.” And, that’s exactly what I did.
First, I want to put a huge disclaimer out there that this experience changed my life significantly, and I am more than thankful that I had to the opportunity to be an Orientation Leader for my school.
Yes, this is the work/trip/adventure that I have been on for three weeks. And, yes, it did change my life. Let me explain…
At my school, orientation isn’t a five-hour event where you receive your schedule, take a tour of campus and leave. Orientation is a two-day event where we immerse the incoming freshmen into the life of a Bonnie. And, we make sure that they enjoy every second of their time on campus.
Although orientation is a fun time where we introduce students to campus, there is A LOT of work that goes into making orientation running perfectly. First, we have to film a video for the opening ceremony that introduces all of the leaders. There are 11 student leaders, 2 parent leaders, 2 co-coordinators and 1 director, which makes us a lovely family of 16.
Next, we are all a part of a series of skits called: The Bonaventure Experience, which is a set of 12 skits of possible situations that students could potentially face during their first year of college. Each member is in at least 4 skits, and all of the lines and cues must be memorized. As you can imagine, this alone took a lot of work. We preformed them 8 times throughout the three-week period. And, it was the most enjoyable part of orientation.
Also, we were in charge of preparing all of the paperwork and materials that the students would receive at orientation. Next, we had to practice possible questions that students and parents would ask about the school. Specifically, this was challenging because we had to be prepared for ANY question that they would throw at us, which was intimidating at first, but now, I feel confident that I know more about my school.
During the first week, we had a lot of team training and team bonding exercises planned throughout the week in addition to rehearsal for skits. There were many nights that we would go to sleep around 3 in the morning and wake up at 8 a.m. Needless to say that we NEVER slept during orientation. Also, there were multiple meetings we had to attend from staff and faculty members on campus. And, we had to take a five-hour CPR and first aid course. At least I learned how to save a life, but I hope I never have to use the skills I learned.
Now, it’s time for me to open up about how this experience has changed my life. And, I have been trying to put into words how significant this experience has impacted who I am as a person. Well, here it goes.
There is a portion of the orientation where we have students open up to a group of strangers. There is a 40-minute period where we ask questions that might be considered personal, but it’s been a tradition at my school, and I believe that it helps students connect with each other on a deeper level.
In the series of questions, there are some that are basic such as, “What’s your favorite movie?” However, there are some questions that truly allow students to open up about their lives such as, “What is the most difficult challenge you have faced in your life so far?”
There are many students who fully commit to the activity and pour their heart and soul to a group of strangers that they met earlier that day. But, this was the activity that truly opened my eyes to see how much pain and suffering some students go through at a young age.
The students felt moved by this activity because they realized that all of the leaders have had their fair share of struggles as well. That’s the part that surprised them most. The students couldn’t believe that their leader had something awful happen to them.
Every time we completed this activity, a student would come up to me and tell me that I changed their life. They would tell me that I was their inspiration to become a successful college students, or that they truly believe that I made them become a better person by being their leader. Or, one students said that he was going to back out of coming to college, but after day one of orientation he decided to come to school in the fall because of his experience at orientation.
There were many times where I almost cried because I didn’t realize that I was the source of inspiration for students to succeed in school. To me, I wanted to be their peer that showed the college in a positive light. But, to the students, I meant a lot more than a student.
One students, specifically, asked if he could talk to me during their free time from 9 p.m. to midnight, and of course I said yes. Him and I went for a long walk and he opened up a lot about his home life, and how difficult it was for him to get into a school. Essentially, he told me his life story because he felt that I was someone he could trust. And, he only knew me for a day. But, that’s the wonderful concept of my job; I want my students to know that I will always be there for them, not only at orientation, but also throughout the four years of school.
At orientation, I decided that I want to keep giving teenagers inspiration. I want to help them, and guide them through difficult encounters they might face. Again, I don’t know how I am going to do this as a career, but I hope that I can use my writing to illustrate how important it is for me to have a career that involved helping other people.
I cannot fully express in words how eye-opening this experience was for me. I always knew that I wanted to help teenagers or my peers, but this solidified my decision to be an inspiration for other people. I only hope that one day I will have career that will help teenagers.
I am thankful that I had the opportunity to change the lives of some incoming freshman at my school. It truly meant to the world to me to know that my job knowledge and friendliness could help students realize how important they are.
Finally, Here are a few group photos that we took throughout the three weeks we spent together. All of my teammates mean the world to me and I am blessed to be able to call them my friends. We all come from different lives, but together we became a team, and I cannot wait to keep our friendships strong throughout the year.
The Team (Family) right before session four. From left to right top row: Alex, Me, Josh, Toran, Josh. Middle row: Ryan, Joe, Taylor, Tatyana, Maggie. Bottom row: Abby, Amy, Jackie, Taylor, Andrew and Cody.
The Team (Family) right before dinner after session three. From left to right starting from the top row: Toran, Ryan, Alex, Josh, Cody, Maggie, Joe. Middle Row: Me, Tatyana, Taylor, Josh, Amy, Abby. Bottom Row: Jackie and Andrew.
And, Finally, the Team (Family) before dinner after session two (it was a rainy day, and we got to wear our matching rain jackets)! I won’t go through and list the names because I think you all understand the idea.
I hope you all enjoyed this update on where I have and what I have been up to during the last few weeks. I do want to apologize for not posting as frequently throughout my time at orientation, but I will do my best to make it up to you all for the rest of summer. Thank you for taking the time to read this and if anyone has any questions, please feel free to ask. And, if you have any new suggestions for blog post ideas, let me know and I will talk to you all soon. Bye!