Four weeks ago, I packed up my white Toyota and went on my way to orientation for the second time. (Secretly paraphrasing our awesome motivational speaker right there) Pulling onto campus, I found myself heading into a place different than what I had left a week prior. The entire student body had left, leaving 45 students behind in Willow eager to train and prepare to introduce around 1,200 students and their families to their new home away from home. Not knowing what to expect, and wondering if this summer could live up to the experience I had prior, I was quick to sit back and observe the new staff dynamic. Immediately I noticed that our staff had done a 180-degree shift from the year before to this one, and honestly I was a little overwhelmed. Though people rarely believe me when I say this, I am naturally introverted. Walking into a room with 45 peers, many of whom I had never met prior made me nervous, even as a returning orientation advisor who was expected to know what they were doing.
However, I quickly learned that there was nothing wrong with the experience being different, in fact the opportunity given to us as a team to motivate, challenge and form connections with 45 diverse individuals was extremely valuable!! Slowly I got to know each orientation advisor, and it was one of the best decisions ever. So I sit here a month later, becoming less shy day by day and realizing that I will walk away from this experience next week with 45 more students on campus that are more than just Facebook friends. Orientation is hands down one of the best, most rewarding experiences I have had at RWU!!
I say all of this because I think it is important to know that college is an opportunity to encounter differences, learn from them and step out of your comfort zone. Without obstacles to overcome it seems impossible to gain enough experience to grow. Your time at RWU will rapidly become the most challenging, exciting and best four years of your educational career — and I can comfortably say that after just two. The challenges end up being the best experiences without a doubt. The university not only gives you endless opportunities to challenge yourself, but to do absolutely anything you want to do before graduating. It’s amazing.
Though orientation definitely keeps us going, even after we have welcomed all of the members of the class of 2017, our o-team is still busy. With just one week until Bristol’s infamous 4th of July parade (and their celebrations are already underway!) we are busily working on the float, ready to defend our Best in Parade title for the third year. *Fingers Crossed* Though, I am not at liberty to discuss what our theme is, come check it out next week when it is unveiled to the public! I know I can speak for our entire team when I say we are thrilled at how it has come out, but there is still a lot of work to be done. Third time’s a charm!
As if orientation isn’t busy enough, my CEN co-chair and I are busily working on opening weekend. It’s difficult because she is experiencing an amazing opportunity in Africa, so contact is limited, but we are both preparing to make this one of the best 1,2,3 weekends the campus has seen. Shoot for the stars, right?! This new position is difficult, and I still have a lot to learn, but I have been working towards this since I was a freshman, so to finally have this opportunity is amazing. And, I hear I have an amazing committee to help create extraordinary events for us every step of the way.