First, please accept my apologies for not writing as soon as orientation was over. The last week of orientation was without a doubt a memorable one, and since I have been home I have found myself missing 45 of my new best friends or trying to catch up on my lack of sleep. I haven’t been 100% sure about what I want to write about, but the more I wait the more I forget the little details of that week, so here it goes!
On June 24th, six OAs and two professional staff members ventured with Swoop to Fenway Park! It was Rhode Island appreciation day and Swoop, along with the Salve Regina mascot were invited to go to the Red Sox game and also go onto the field with Wally the Green Monster. Even though I have lived in New England my entire life, I had never been to a Red Sox get let alone gone on the actual field! Without a doubt, that was the best first Red Sox game at Fenway that I could have possibly experienced. Go Sox!
Thursday of that week was our last themed dinner. The last dinner we all have together is formal, and this year we were lucky enough to have it at Leo’s. The evening was full of harmless mischief (if you ever meet Sean Thompson, ask what we did to him when he gave a speech… here’s a hint “#swag”), laughter, tears and an OA version of “My Heart Will Go On” by Celine Dion.
Later that week, after all of our orientations were over, we took the trolley (yes…. I do mean the trolley) and a shuttle up to the Wrentham outlets and then continued on to our vice presidents house for a pool party. I am happy to say that 45 of us got in and out of there without breaking anything (or stealing the adorable dog…)! To top off an eventful day, everyone piled back in the trolley and shuttle and started the drive back to RWU, with a much needed pit stop at Eskimo King.
We spent our last weekend on campus working on our Fourth of July float. In 2011 it won Best in Parade and considering Bristol has the oldest Fourth of July celebrations in the country, there was no pressure to win it again. Ha. Though sometimes working on the float seemed tedious, and there was always a desire to do everything perfectly, the end result was phenomenal.
What do I mean by phenomenal? I mean that we were all outside the float and ready to go by 5:45 in the morning that way we could get to Colt State Park in time to be considered for judging. Even though that didn’t start for another couple of hours, we were anxiously awaiting the arrival of the judges and most importantly the results. And then the time came…
The judges finished analyzing every float and came to decisions on awards. At this point we were all standing around our float watching to see what everyone else was winning since the judges just “skipped” over us making it seem like we didn’t win anything. Rumor has it they just happened to “skip” over the float last year as well. We didn’t want to get our hopes up, but after hours of working on the float all we wanted to do was bring back Best in Parade to the university for a second year. And guess what….? WE DID IT!!!! I am pretty convinced that our excitement was so loud that we woke up anyone in the area who wasn’t awake yet, and made every one around us think we were crazy… but that’s okay, right?!
After that we walked in the parade with 125,000 people lining the streets, which is one of the coolest things that I have ever done. 3.1 miles later and it was over, which meant that orientation was also over and once we took apart the float we were “free to move about the cabin…” All that there was left to do was pack…
However, we needed to get one last adventure in before going our separate ways. I don’t actually know exactly where the nine of us went, so I suppose it’s a good thing that I trusted who we were following. All I do know is that it involved wandering through the woods at night and cliffs. Yes, I know none of what I just said sounded like a good idea, but it turned into one of the best nights of my summer. These cliffs had at least a 180 degree view of the bay, but probably even more than that. It was pretty warm out on the fourth, so as we sat on the cliffs we saw so many beautiful sights. On one side of the bay was heat lightning that was so intense you could see more than just flashes, but streaks of lightning that reflected onto the bay. Across from the heat lightning on the other side of the bay was an orange rising moon that was moving at such a fast pace that it almost seemed like you could actually see it in motion. Between Tiverton, RI and the power plant in Fall River, MA (so all around the bay) were multiple fireworks shows. At one point we could pinpoint at least seven different shows going on at once in different towns, along with random fireworks here and there. Heat lightning, fireworks and an orange moon all reflecting on the bay at once… there is no other way I could have imagined ending the Fourth of July and my five weeks in Rhode Island. It’s times like these that I wish I had a camera that took pictures of exactly what I saw, that way I could show just how unbelievable it really was.
Overall, yes I was at school because it was my job. And yes my job was to make incoming freshmen and their families feel welcome and comfortable coming to our university. That itself was rewarding, but I didn’t originally expect my summer to be so much more than that. Everyday was a new adventure, and there were always surprises hidden around every corner. I finally understood what every past Orientation Advisor had told me about what it was like being an OA. It meant that I was going to have the best summer of my life, and that I was going to leave the experience with 45 best friends and more connections to the university than ever before. And you know what, being an OA was just that… the time of my life.
Have an amazing summer and I’ll be back soon!