It is November 2017, and 167 UNCG students are awaiting their 2018 Spartan Orientation Staff decision letter. All of the applicants have been through a tedious application process which includes an Academic Standing screening, a group interview and also an individual interview. At 9:39 am on November 20th, I received an email from the coordinator of the staff. Anxiously, I open the email and find that I had been chosen to be 1 out of the 26 orientation staff members at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Little did I know of all the hard work, patience and energy that this position would require. Although it was demanding, it has allowed me to learn many things that would be helpful for any college student to know.
1. The meaning of the word "Leader" in the phrase "Orientation Leader"Giphy
Many people think that Orientation Leaders mainly just smile and greet new students. Although we do those things, there are a lot of "behind the scene" tasks that we have to do. Many of those tasks require us to take charge and to lead amongst other leaders. This was a difficult responsibility because I had never worked with so many other leaders in one environment. Usually, in a classroom setting, I am one of the few who participates, so I naturally become a leader. However, as an orientation leader, I had to find my place among other leaders. This humbled me and made me realize the importance of listening more than I spoke. I had to realize what made me unique, and how my talents and specialties allowed the team to thrive as a whole.
2. The importance of accountability and punctuality
One thing that my superiors enforced heavily was the importance of accountability. They made sure that we knew how important it was to act as a team. If one team member wasn't doing their job properly, it affected the whole team. If one of us were not on time, the whole team would be punished. This may seem a little harsh, but it helped us grow as a team, and more importantly, a family. We realized that our actions didn't just affect ourselves, but others as well. I call it "tough love" but sometimes we needed it, just to make sure that we were prepared for our tasks.
3. As student leaders, we live in what is called "The Fish Bowl".
The phrase "Fish Bowl" refers to "living in a bubble". Wherever student leaders go, there is always an eye watching. I learned to be careful what you do in public because someone is always watching. Additionally, watch what you do and post on social media. As student leaders, students look up to us for many reasons. If we choose to go out and party and post our "social activities" on social media , it reflects on the University. A phrase that the Orientation Leaders liked to say would be "No Face, No Case". Research it.
4. The Value of Self-Care.
As orientation leaders, we work from around 6:30 am to approximately 10:00 pm on most days. This takes up most of our time, and only allows for sleep. On our days off, we are encouraged to sleep in, rest, and to practice self-care routines. Self-Care is a term that I learned during my freshman year of college, and it means to provide oneself with "health-care". This means to do things that you enjoy doing, whether that be watching Netflix, painting, reading, etc. The list is endless, and each person has their own routines, where they aren't working or doing any extraneous labor.
5. Although you are working, Have Fun.
This seems like an understatement, but although orientation is hard work, we are encouraged to have fun. This can be applied to the school work we do, or even our occupations after college. Be optimistic while you're working, so that you are able to have a positive mindset while taking on difficult tasks The students and parents who come through orientation can pick up on our vibes, so they are able to tell if we are actually enjoying ourselves or not. If we are not having a good day, we are preventing someone else from having one.
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