From The Diary Of An Orientation Leader: Chapter 2

Hi! Welcome back to my orientation leader series. For this article, I'm going to be explaining how my summer differs from most other college students'. As an orientation leader at my school, we are required to work a few summer orientation days, which help prepare students to move in and go through the full orientation in the fall.

What do the incoming students do at summer orientation?

It's a long day for both the students and staff, but it is filed with information. An important part of the day is that the students take their placement tests for math and English, and possibly physical science if it is applicable to their intended major. The students also get to meet with an adviser and choose their classes for the fall, which is really exciting! The other portions of the day are filled with different info sessions that cover subjects like residence and commuter life, and how to get involved on campus.

Can the students bring guests?

Definitely! Almost all students show up with their parents, siblings, a friend, etc. The guests follow a different schedule than the students, also attending a variety of info sessions. There are a few OLs assigned to hang out with guests all day, leading them to where they need to be and just striking up conversation.

What do you as an orientation leader do during these days?

Whatever is asked of us! We show up bright and early (about an hour before any students arrive) and get our clipboards, which contain our task lists for the day. All of the orientation leaders have a different schedule, no two schedules are exactly alike. Each leader gets paired up with one or two other OLs and meets with a group in the morning, so they get some personalized time with students. We all also attend the opening and closing of the day, as well as a debriefing meeting for the orientation staff once all the students leave. Other than that, we do everything from directing students to sessions, giving tours, and proctoring and grading inventories.

Do you enjoy it?

Oh, absolutely. You definitely hit a slump at a certain point in the day (getting there at 7am is a part of that), but there are always things to lift you up, whether it be the students or other OLs. Personally, I liked doing it so much that I actually volunteered to work a few more days than was required of me.

Do you have a favorite part of working these days?

I have a few. One of my favorite jobs to be assigned is to stay in advising sessions with students that share my major. There's usually some down time to talk with the students, and it's so fun to share with them my experience in the major so far. I also love the feeling of being able to make a student or guest's day extra special. Being able to answer their questions and help them out with something they're nervous about is a great feeling. Throughout all these days, I get to hang out with my fellow OLs, and that is absolutely wonderful as well. I can say with all sincerity that I can't remember the last time I felt so welcome and comfortable in a larger group than I do with these people.

And that's all! While it isn't the most convenient thing to have to drive back and forth to school, I don't regret it in the slightest. I'll update all of you once fall orientation is done. Bye for now!

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