April 24, 2011
I was on the phone with my mom a few days ago and I said to her: “Mom, I just wanted to let you know that I was offered a position as Orientation Leader.” After a quick sigh, she answered: “What? Nico, stop signing up for things! Remember you go there to study.” I know I do. Believe me, there’s a lot of work that needs to be done during the school year. And it gets done. But luckily, being an Orientation Leader doesn’t interfere with academics, so don’t worry mom.
As all Hamitonians know, orientation plays a big part in our journey from high school students to college students. Chronologically speaking, it’s merely a switch of location, building and intensity. However, mentally and emotionally speaking, transitioning from a high school mentality to a college mentality is … well, it’s sort of a big deal. Neil Armstrong would define it as ‘one short drive for mom, one giant leap for my life’.
I remember having somewhat of a panic attack the night before driving up to Hamilton. SNL actress Kristen Wiig put it best: My panic attack was having a panic attack. It’s called a panic-anic attack. I was terrified, excited, nervous, thrilled, worried, and ecstatic all at the same time. I never knew so many emotions could fit in my body. I suddenly felt emotions I didn’t even know existed! OK, I might be exaggerating a bit, but just a little. I really hope other people felt like this too. If not, I’m probably just exposing my quirky, idiosyncratic tendencies to the world. Whoops.
Nevertheless, transitioning to college is a big deal. We OL’s are hired to ease that transition. The incoming freshmen are divided into around 30 different orientation groups. The other students in your orientation group will live in your same building, which is great because the first people you meet are your neighbors. After learning names, we would play games and go to different lectures. It’s really nice to have some time on campus to get to know people, to get used to the new location and to learn the in’s and out’s of college life –without having to worry about schoolwork. Orientation Leaders are not paid, so I can assure you that all the upperclassmen greeting incoming freshmen are there because they want to be.
So, if you’re crossing out days on your calendar to that dreaded, yet anticipated moving day, just know that Orientation Leaders will be there on the other side. We’ll be here on the Hill, awaiting your arrival. We’ll be cheering and screaming like there’s no tomorrow! Believe me, this is the most excited and energetic you will see us before 10am. Ever!