Sunday, July 17, 2011

we've got HOKIE spirit, yes we do

Well, well, well. A full week and weekend of Orientation has come and's unbelievable how LONG the days are but how QUICKLY they seem to go by. I have now been in Blacksburg for 2 weeks, so I am halfway done with OL XI. I don't like that one bit!

My first week with the freshmen has been absolutely amazing, and way more than I could have ever imagined. I had no idea how great of an impact these students would make on me, let alone how large of an impact I am (hopefully) making on them as well.

First, I am going to illustrate what a day in the life (Mon-Thurs) of an OL is like:
5:30am - rise and shine! get ready for the big day
6:30am - meet in Matt's room to head to D2 for breakfast
7:15am - walk over to Squires to begin morning duties
(check-in, parking lot, traffic control, etc.)
10:30am - opening session and OL introductions
11:30am - small group facilitation with my freshmen
(lunch, lots of icebreakers, Q&A about VT)
2:00pm - campus safety presentation
2:30pm - get involved presentation
3:30pm-5:30pm - break for OLs
5:30pm - dinner at D2
6:45pm - meet freshmen outside D2 for traditions walk
7:45pm - academic session in squires
8:45pm - hokie camp video and presentation
9:00pm - community of hokies facilitation with freshmen
10:30pm - OL skits

Even though we have an explicit itinerary to follow, every day and every group of freshmen has been totally different. But that's what keeps me going, and makes Orientation so much more exciting!

Here are some defining moments from each of my first 4 sessions:

Session 1

Fire alarm in the middle of opening session, no introductions, t-shirt table with Tommy, and my amazing freshmen who put up with me on my FIRST day.

Session 2

Checking in all the male students for morning duties, first time doing OL intros in opening session, getting another great group of freshmen to work with, and reading my comment cards with Carly at night (nightly ritual).

Session 3
Dancing with Mabeus as the buses rolled into Squires, finding out Ceci was in my group, having a talkative and involved group of freshmen, and getting lots of laughs for our skit.

Session 4
Finally feeling comfortable on stage for intros and skits, avoiding the skunks while outside with my freshmen, really getting across to my freshmen during the community of hokies session, and re-reading my week's comment cards.

Although I only get approx. 15 hours of sleep from Mon-Thurs, I am so proud of how much we have already accomplished as OL XI. I feel so lucky to get to work with 29 other amazing student leaders that have so so much to bring to the group. 

I love every second we spend together, so this weekend was great! We had a very relaxed weekend here in Blacksburg. We got to sleep in until mid-day, saw Harry Potter 7.2, had a cookout/bonfire at Katherine's, I met up with KJ and her parents for lunch, went to El Rods, and finally a Team Juice Box lunch today at Red Robin.

Bring on week 2!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

day one

I cannot believe I am sitting here right now at my desk in Slusher Hall printing my final facilitation outlines for the BIG day tomorrow. It is incredible how much I have learned about Virginia Tech, myself, and my fellow OLs during the intense but fabulous week-long OL training marathon. We have all worked SO hard both as individuals and as a group, and tomorrow starts the beginning of it all.

I will be starting my day at 5:30am, so I am making this post short and sweet seeing as how I only have a few hours to sleep between now and then.

Of course I am nervous to be thrown into a day in the life tomorrow, but I know my excitement and passion will trump my nervousness tomorrow morning! And I hope I will be able to share that excitement about being a freshman here at VT with the incoming class of Hokies.

In conclusion, here's a quote from Carly's new fav song "A Sky Full of Lighters"...
"This one's for you and me, living out our dreams, we're all right where we should be"


Thursday, July 7, 2011

we got that OL swag

On our training schedule for today was an assigned time allotted to "TBA". All of the OAs knew what this 30 minutes was for, but they were keeping it a secret (as per usual). When that time finally rolled around, J.Jo and the OAs had us walk over to our "break room" in Squires for Orientation. We walked into a room decked out in maroon and orange and cubbies with our names on them! But the best part was discovering all that was inside of our cubbies...

We got...2 Orientation polos (which we get to keep this year), 2 Orientation Staff tshirts, Hokie Effect tshirts, a maroon and orange belt, the coveted OL backpack, 2 nametags, pencils, business cards to give my freshmen, and a bunch of other stuff!

But my FAVORITE item of all is my GROUP 28 sign! I feel SO official and (almost) so ready for all the incoming freshmen to step onto campus starting on Monday.

Dinner at D2 tonight was absolutely hilarious. It started off like any other dinner with the OLs...eating lots, funny conversations, the usual. But after dinner (for dessert), my table somehow decided it would be a good idea to have a contest on who could make the largest ice cream cone. Here are some of the winners...

I don't think I have laughed as hard as I did today (between the ice cream contest and watching everyone's skit rehearsals) in a very, very long time. Although the stress is starting to build up, it is so comforting to have 23 other OLs going through the same thing! The morale is ALWAYS high, which also helps.


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

let's ROCK this

For the past few days OL XI has been away at Wilderness Adventure. Here are a few of my favorite memories from the trip:


We were spoiled by getting to stay in an air-conditioned cabin for the night. The food was also great at Wilderness Adventure! And I will forever have fond memories of gathering around in the living room playing games like Truth or Dare and Signs. 


Our team's first session was low ropes. We were paired with Wes' team where we overcame many obstacles and further developed our teamwork. 
My favorite low ropes course was getting Tiffany (our ninja) through the obstacle course of ropes.


Every day we spend together as a team brings us closer and closer. I was so happy to have them there cheering me on when I had to face one of my biggest fears...heights. We also started working on our skit while we were at Wilderness Adventure, and I know our team is gonna create something unforgettable!


On day 2 at Wilderness Adventure our team headed out to the zip line for a WILD ride. We hiked up a mountain to where the zip line started and then were "kicked" off a platform to fly! 

I can't even remember the last time I was on a zip line, but it was soo much fun! I screamed like a baby, that's for sure.


Since I wasn't able to do any high ropes the day before due to thunder and lightning, I wasn't able to overcome my fear of heights. Although at first I was simply relieved, I was kind of disappointed that I didn't get a go at it. So today I climbed the highest rock wall I have ever seen. Yeah, I have climbed indoor rock walls before, but this one was monstrous in comparison! I can't even begin to tell you how GREAT I felt after doing it though. 

"The only thing we have to fear is fear itself"
-Franklin D. Roosevelt 

Sunday, July 3, 2011

slusher tower

Today was a BIG day...move-in day! I woke up at about 10:30am and left my townhouse to move into my new home for the next month at Slusher Tower, a very old residence hall on campus where the freshmen are going to stay for one night during Orientation.

Upon arriving at Slusher with a car FULL of things that needed to be unloaded, I was so happy to see John and Lydia in the parking lot! They helped me carry all of my things into my room on the 3rd floor (I got pretty lucky with room placement), and I think we brought everything in with a total of 4 trips as opposed to the 12 trips I would have had without their help. OL love at its finest right there!

When I walked into my room, I found THE most adorable decorations, letter, and tshirt from my OA, Jen. What an awesome surprise!

From about noon until 3:30pm I was unpacking my room, assembling fans (much needed in this non-air conditioned residence hall), walking around Slusher Tower and Slusher Wing, and visiting the other OLs while we were all moving in.

At 4:45 SHARP, all 24 OLs, 6 OAs, and the New Student Programs Staff met up in the crossover between Tower and Wing to meet for a mysterious dinner adventure. They loaded us all into 3 large vans and we headed out to The River Course at Virginia Tech for a fabulous dinner at Bull and Bones overlooking the river.

Just look at my plate and tell me this is not a dream come true ALREADY...

After dinner, we all came back to campus and met with our OAs and team of OLs. During our meeting, we wrote ourselves letters that Jen will give us sometime during or at the end of Orientation. Our group also decided that we wanted to all write each other letters and include them in the envelopes, so I am also currently in the middle of writing those. I love Team Juice Box (our team name) SO much! They inspire me everyday.

It is now almost 11pm, and I am finally fully settled in my room. I think I win the award for bringing the most stuff. Check it out...

Well, tomorrow we are off to Wilderness Adventure for the next two days! Jen didn't specifically tell us what all is in store, but I can only imagine it will be a challenging couple of days. Here's to the beginning of OL summer training week! I have never felt so lucky to be part of such an amazing program here at Virginia Tech! HUGE thanks to J.Jo and NSP and everyone who has given me this opportunity of a lifetime.

Friday, July 1, 2011

getting on track

Well, this is it. I am 99.9% packed to hit the road for Blacksburg tomorrow morning. I gathered just about every maroon and orange shirt/short/shoe/other miscellaneous VT item I own and neatly put it all in one large (orange) suitcase, several cardboard boxes, and a variety of bags.

All I have left to do now is wait. Wait for tomorrow morning to pack the car and drive down 81 all the way to Blacksburg (I have never driven to VT before...wish me luck). Wait until Sunday morning to move into Slusher Tower and see the 23 other OLs and 6 OAs I love so very much. Wait for training to start at Wilderness Adventure on the 4th of July. And wait until July 11th for the first group of freshmen from the class of 2015 to start their journey at Virginia Tech.

Let me just say, I am a-okay with waiting for it all to start. As much as I am excited and anxious to dive into Orientation training, duties, and a-day-in-the-life, part of me doesn't want it to start quite yet just so it doesn't ever have to end! I have been waiting for this time (as corny as this sounds) since I was at my very own Freshman Orientation two short years ago.

I knew that I wanted to be an OL the minute I saw all 30 of those crazy Hokies run onto the stage in Squires Colonial Ballroom, and as soon as I met my Orientation Leader, Joey O'Toole. I have so long admired Joey and my big, Anna, (who was an OL last summer), and now it is my turn to hopefully make that same impression on the incoming class of freshmen!

So off I go! Just livin' the dream of CAT. I hope to journal and blog often during my month as an Orientation Leader. So stay tuned...