One of my favorite experiences at Utica College has been my involvement every summer with the first year orientation program. I started doing it the Summer after my freshman year, and fell in love with the experience. It’s a lot of fun introducing new students to the UC community, and getting to know the incoming first year class.Orientation is a great way to meet new people on campus-both current students, and the new incoming class. You are seen as a “pseudo adult/role model” by the incoming class, and its actually really cool. One of my favorite things is when someone comes up to me and mentions how they remember me from orientation! It even happens months after the fact! The impression that you make on the incoming students is huge.
I also love how orientation allows for current students to share their stories and experiences with incoming students. It’s nice to be able to give little tips and tricks to the new class so they too can navigate their own ways through their college careers.
Going with the theme of the sharing of information, orientation also holds a play, “Transitions” every session. This play is written/directed/acted in by students. It’s a lot of work because the mentors that are part of the cast only get a few days to rehearse, but those few days rehearsing are some of my favorite Orientation memories! The whole point of the play is to show students various situations that have could actually happen on our campus, and it also shows what to do in case an event like that were to ever occur. I’ve been involved with transitions every year I’ve worked Orientation, and I always love the responses that students have to it.
Another faucet of orientation is ice breakers. As a mentor, you are in charge of helping to “break the ice” between the new students. This is done by little games and get-to-know-you activities that range from stationary name games, to massive games of red light/green light. The games are fun to facilitate because you get to watch as students gradually become more comfortable with one another, and establish tentative friendships.
This year the first year orientation has been moved to the fall, so it is going to take place August 28th-30th. If you remember your orientation or think it sounds like fun, I strongly encourage you to apply to be a mentor! (Go here: Utica.edu/orientation) This year I decided to apply to become a student coordinator of orientation and I got the job. It’s a little more in depth than a regular mentor job, but I’ve never had more fun at a job in my life; orientation is literally one of my favorite things at Utica College…even more of a favorite than brown paper packages tied up with string. (Sorry, the Sound of Music is a classic…I couldn’t resist.)
To be sappy, Orientation helped me to become the person I am today. I grew more comfortable with the Utica College community, and grew more comfortable taking charge and being a leader. Orientation introduced me to friends that would help to shape my experiences at UC and even more so, my life in general. I am forever grateful for that. So, if you want to be a super sap like me, apply to be an Orientation Mentor. Trust me, you won’t regret it!