I had the pleasure of being an orientation leader (OL) this year. Although I had never experienced a role as important as being an OL, I knew it was a serious position. I pushed past any doubts or nerves I had and began the journey of becoming an OL, which included countless training sessions and even a lack of sleep on some nights.
In the end, it was all worth it.
I am extremely happy I was chosen to be a crucial part of orientation week. I remember being an orientee. I was extremely nervous to start college. The transition from high school to college is difficult for many students but Nazareth’s orientation experience is amazing at helping students make this transition smoothly. My experience as an orientee shaped my future life at Naz and I would not have met so many different people and gotten involved on campus during my freshman year without it. Orientation week introduces new students to the different departments of Naz, the different aspects of college life, and the culture of our campus! It might seem odd to be thinking about new student orientation before you even choose a college, but checking out what incoming students have done at past orientations during your college search is a great way of finding out what kinds of things a school values. Nazareth’s orientation, for example, features the annual Day of Service, where new students spend an afternoon doing various community service projects. You can read more about Orientation 2017 here.
After my orientee experience, I wanted to take on the role of OL and help shape the lives of new freshmen in a positive way. Attending and participating during orientation week is crucial to your college experience and there are several things that make Naz’s orientation worth participating in.
- It’s a chance to make new friends. Orientation week helps many new students find some of their first college friends! There are different events set up throughout the week that allow students to interact and engage with their new classmates. This year, the Undergraduate Association hosted an outdoor movie night, a “backyard BBQ,” and other events throughout the week to welcome new students! You’ll meet so many different people coming from different backgrounds at these events. One of my favorite events this year was the backyard barbecue because I witnessed so many of my orientees engaging and interacting with each other and those around them. It’s amazing to witness different types of friendships created during orientation week!
- You might get some free shirts! One of the perks of being an OL is the free Naz gear you receive! I added five new Naz t-shirts to my wardrobe after Orientation Week. Orientees also have this advantage and have different opportunities to receive free Naz gear throughout the week. Who doesn’t like free stuff?
- It’s an informative and rewarding experience. During orientation week, freshmen are exposed to various aspects of life at Naz. New students receive opportunities to work and make connections with various departments and clubs. Naz even provides an involvement fair for new students 2-3 weeks after the orientation experience, during which students are able to learn about the different clubs and organizations they may get involved with during their time at Naz. There is also a job fair during orientation which is a great resource if you plan on working on campus during your freshman year. Out of all the enriching experiences during orientation week, my favorite would have to be the Day of Service trip. Each orientation group is assigned a different service destination where they spend their day volunteering and reflecting on the experience. Service spots can include schools, senior living spaces, and even the zoo! This year my orientees and I volunteered to help set up classrooms at Clara Barton School No. 2. The Day of Service is a rewarding experience because we are able to give back to the Rochester community and learn about how to get involved with community service at Naz. Civic Engagement is the department at Naz that handles community service trips, which are a great way to get involved and meet new people!
- It marks the beginning of your Naz experience. You get to represent Naz for the next four years which is a really exciting feeling. Nazareth is not just a college, it is a community, and orientation is your first chance to experience that! As soon as you step foot on campus, you will be greeted by various departments and friendly students on campus. During your four years at Naz, you will attend games, get involved in various clubs and organizations, and take on various internships/experiences that will get you closer to your career goals. Naz is where you will meet your lifelong friends and become a part of something bigger.
It’s extremely rewarding to know that I could help new students feel more comfortable at Naz. The best part of being an OL is seeing your orientees learn and grow through these new experiences, similar to what I experienced myself during my freshman year. Nazareth College’s community vibe makes the freshman transition from high school student to college student much easier. I really hope my orientees got a sense of the Naz community and, hopefully, you will someday, too.