What I learned from Orientation

When I was given the task to create a new Orientation program at my institution, I knew I wanted to create a Spring semester weekly training for the 35 Orientation Leaders.  To start each training, I would always ask: “What have you learned this week? Teach me something.”

I would get answers ranging from Psychology fun facts to what they learned about each other in an intramural basketball game to fun facts about Kim Kardashian.  I loved learning more about the OLs and encouraging them to be curious every week.

The Orientation Team had a dinner off-campus to celebrate the end of Orientation.  At this dinner, I took the time to tell the OLs 10 very important things I learned from Orientation.  Here is my short speech:

1) Don’t leave an empty cup on the lunch table or you WILL get stacked. (If someone finishes their beverage, another person will start stacking cups and make you take the entire tower to the cleaning line…jerks).

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2) This incoming class is CRAZY.  From alcohol incidents to students trying to jump out of bathroom windows—we’ll definitely need to saddle up.

3) SnapChat is overwhelming and takes a lot of my battery.

4) You can play music in your residence hall…just keep the volume low, don’t disturb your neighbors and you should be golden.

5) Maddie and Sara (my Orientation Coordinators) are my saving grace and this program would not be what it is without them.  Period.

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6) Orientation Leaders cry over everything…even trips to the bowling alley (The Vice President of Student Affairs and I may have tricked the OLs into thinking they were in trouble…and surprised them with bowling.  Tears were shed and I will never trick the Orientation team again).

7) There will always be mean people.  Those people who talk down to you to make themselves feel better.  Mean people suck.  But you know what?  Surround yourself with amazing people (incredible people sitting around you right now) and you will find happiness.  Always be sweet.  ALWAYS.  You are better than those mean, nasty people. 

This is why I surround myself with people like this:

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And this:

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And this:

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8) Liz (my graduate assistant)–you are an AMAZING soul and you have a beautiful heart.  Thank you for standing by my side and teaching me so much.  I am so happy and blessed to have you in my life.

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9) I’m really, really good at picking out polos. The OLs and UMW staff were always complimenting the Orientation Swag picked out by yours truly.

10)  I will never know everything or be prepared for everything–no matter how hard I try.  Not fire alarms, tornado warnings, blown transformers, taking students to the hospital, or unexpected alcohol incidents.  But that’s OK.  You learn something every day and life would be boring if you always had a plan.  Be curious and always strive to learn something.

And even though sometimes I felt like this,

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I mostly felt like this

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Orientation was a blast and I’m looking forward to reconnecting with the students in August. I miss these guys already…

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But for now….I’ll enjoy a much needed vacation 🙂

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2 thoughts on “What I learned from Orientation

  1. I experienced this program as in incoming transfer student. The professionalism, poise, and grace I saw in your OLs bespoke of good, solid training. You deserve to savor every moment of pride in a job well done.

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