Last spring when I saw all the flyers around campus about the orientation application, I immediately knew I wanted to be a part of it.
As a freshman, I came to Cabrini with trepidation and hesitation. I didn’t know what to expect and I honestly don’t remember seeing friendly faces during my first day at school.
Granted, I didn’t really want to be at college to begin with but I don’t remember anyone coming up to me asking me how I was doing or how my experience was going.
During my orientation training, we were taught leadership skills, how to handle unsure incoming students and how to effectively play icebreakers.
I honestly would have never known how important those training exercises were. Yeah, 90 percent of incoming students don’t want to do icebreakers and “gay” games but little do they know how those activities affect their college experience.
When I was freshman, I didn’t show up for anything but the first icebreakers and the Phillies game because, why not, it’s the Phillies!
After orientation had ended, I realized how my peers had already developed groups of friends, crushes and perhaps even enemies. I completely missed the boat.
I relayed this message to my orientation group and surprisingly they took my advice. Even though they didn’t want to do stupid games where you catch a ball and answer a question about yourself, skittles fun fact games or two truths and one lie, they still showed up. Maybe they liked the games, maybe they didn’t but they still bonded over one of these factors.
Aside from learning things about each other, I learned a lot about myself. The first day of orientation, I walked up to a father watching students move in and immediately started a conversation with him. I am naturally outspoken and a people person but I would never normally walk up to a random person and start a conversation. We talked for about an hour until we both discovered I was his son’s orientation leader.
I am typically the type of person that shy’s away from my peers. When it comes to presenting in front of others, leading others or being their boss, you can forget about it. But during orientation week, I walked up to anyone and everyone, whether or not they were in my orientation group, to ask how they were adapting to Cabrini.
But I can’t take all the credit for my awesome experience. My partner Ryan Pashley was great too. He was outgoing and welcoming to our group as well. We both agreed on every game and how to handle our students.
Not only was my partner great but our group was awesome too! We had 16 boys and four girls, which as you may know is an unusual ratio for Cabrini. The boys were definitely engaged and the girls seemed very eager. I was very fortunate with my group. I loved being a role model to my students but also being their friend, someone they can go to for advice or help.
I feel as though I learned a lot about people, myself and my future, oddly enough. I am a business administration major and have taken leadership courses and have defined and evaluated the term leadership half a dozen times.
Never before have I applied it to my life. I learned skills that I can discuss in the classroom and bring to my career.
During orientation we supplied the freshmen with a haunted tour of the mansion, game nights with awesome prizes, laser tag, photo booths, movie night, King of Prussia Mall trip, a Wayne-area tour and even tours of the campus.
I was amazed at all the imaginative ideas that orientation coordinators Brittany O’Connor and Aisling Carroll created. I was truly impressed and maybe slightly jealous that my orientation wasn’t as inventive.
Even though the hours of orientation can be long, I couldn’t be happier with my decision. I would definitely recommend others to apply and help with freshmen orientation, because being a leader and guiding the new students can change their experience and potentially change the face of Cabrini.