Sunday, July 29, 2012

all good things must come to an end

As I sit here in Carly's empty apartment, it is finally starting to hit me that 2OL2 has come to an end. It has been one amazing summer with some of Virginia Tech's finest student leaders and staff! I feel so blessed to have been given the opportunity to be both an OL last summer and an OA this summer.

Coming into 2OL2 as an OA, I really had no idea what to expect. But I would have never guessed being an OA would be as rewarding as it has been. I am going to miss my Terminions so much! But I know they aren't going far. 

Sometimes I think they did more for me than I did for them. Thank you so much for all your hard work and dedication to the Class of 2016 this summer, Terminions! But most importantly, thank you for giving me a reason to wake up every day at 5:30am with a huge smile on my face. You guys made my job so easy and so exciting!

I am also so proud of the relationship the OAs had during the past 10 months. JJo and Rick even said at the closing luncheon that there has never been a team of OAs that was more balanced or cohesive. And that came easy for the 6 of us! I have loved every minute of working with Carly, Monica, Tommy, Sean, and Terrence. Although they are all going off to do bigger and better things next year, I know none of us will ever forget our two summers with Orientation together!

Thank you, New Student Programs! For shaping me into the person, student, and leader I am today. It has been one heck of a ride!!

Monday, July 23, 2012

monday motivation

As we head into the FINAL week of orientation, I wanted to share with you all some words of wisdom that Carly posted on our 2012 Orientation Team Facebook group last night...

You were meant to be sitting here today with bright minds and hopeful hearts.
You were meant to use that spark to become a student at the best university in the nation.
You were meant to take 4 (or 5) years of your life to become a better person while touching the lives of others along the way.
You were meant to join student organizations that introduced you to new pieces of yourself.
You were meant to become one of 24 extraordinary Orientation Leaders for freshmen orientation.
You were meant to teach each other about finding the joy in the simplest of gestures.
You were meant to lead groups of incoming students through one of the most exciting transitions of their lives.
You were meant to create an environment of fun, laughter, love, and service.
You were meant to put families' minds at ease about this big step and season of change.
You were meant to open your hearts to these students in order to set the standard of what it means to be a Hokie.
You were meant to treat each day as "day one"; a gift not to be wasted.
You were meant to be a Hokie.

Because of this let's celebrate our incredible school and its traditions and legacies. Let's celebrate this final week of orientation because you were chosen to be Orientation Leaders. Let's give this our all because we have the opportunity to impact the Class of 2016, and ultimately, Virginia Tech for years to come.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

all in a day's work

Two weeks into was the fourth session of week 2. By this point in the summer, the 6 OAs felt pretty comfortable and confident in the day's routine. But as we have been told since day one, VT Orientation is organized chaos. Adaptability is the name of the game. And Thursday definitely threw us all for a loop!

Every day since Orientation has started, Blacksburg's weather forecast has "called for thunderstorms". Every day. But have we ever need to use our rain plan? No!

Monica and I were sitting at the info desk during the middle of the afternoon on Thursday. I looked over to her and said, "wouldn't it be crazy if we actually had to use our rain plan now that we have made it 8 sessions without it?" All of 5 minutes after saying this, it just started down pouring on all the OLs and freshmen.

The office went into a state of panic and ridiculousness. Yes, we have known about the rain plan for weeks, but we have never really sat down and organized it. The OAs were in charge of making sure the rain plan was executed correctly and the OLs knew what to do.

We had about an hour and a half to get this show on the road. And we ended up coming up with something great! Monica and I introduced the session by talking about VT traditions and set up a quick video about traditions. Then Tommy came on stage to introduce Rachel Parent and Hokie Camp. We played some cool videos and a prezi about Hokie Camp and then Carly came on stage to do a dance contest. That was a huge hit! The freshmen got really into it and the crowd was super involved and excited about it!

Phew! Made it through that minor freak out. Next up was leading a small group facilitation with the STEP students (Student Transition Engineering Program) in place of them attending a full 2 days of Orientation. Sean and I were partnered up to lead this session, and we had a blast! It was definitely a lot different than what we were used to because the students had been together for about 3 weeks already, so they knew each other and thought they were comfortable with VT. But we changed their minds real quick and got them to recognize how much more Tech has to offer than just engineering and what they were used to as summer students.

The OAs were rocking it out! To reward ourselves, we took the golf cart to Sub Station for dinner on NSP's dime. Free subs, chips, and cookies. And did I mention the 6 of us all happened to order the exact same sandwich? We really are a family. That's what you get for working together for over 2 years now!

We thought this day couldn't get any better. But Tommy and I had Parents Reception duty at the Inn at Virginia Tech for the evening. And that is our favorite OA duty...usually. Thursday night was certainly an exception. Something was just off. And for whatever reason, Tommy and I just had to get out of there! We couldn't even explain all the reasons why when we went back to tell the other OAs about our night. What a roller coaster of a day!

Here's to the final week of Orientation. Let's hope it's another week full of surprising challenges!

Friday, July 13, 2012

DAY 1!

As an Orientation Leader at Virginia Tech, every day is Day 1. This is a mentality that we instill on the OLs to remind them that although it may be their second, third, or even twelfth session of Orientation, it is still the freshmen's DAY 1!

On Monday, we had our first session of freshmen come through Orientation. The OLs were anxious, nervous, excited, and very prepared. The Terminions had Office Duty as our morning duty on Monday and Tuesday, so we were able to sleep in a little bit before heading over to Squires. Although I know none of us "slept in"...we were ready to go!

The rest of the day went so well! We successfully had opening session with OL intros and all (unlike last year with the fire drill mishap). The OLs got their groups of freshmen, went outside for lunch and introductions, went on their first ever Life on Campus tour, attended the Campus Safety and Security session, met as a staff before heading to take a quick nap. Then we met at D2 for dinner, the OLs walked their groups back to Squires for the Academic Session, heard a presentation from Hokie Camp, went outside for Community of Hokies, and ended the night with some hilariously awesome skits! If that isn't a full day...I don't know what is!

And every day following continued to go through that same schedule. It takes a very special group of people to be Orientation Leaders. Doing the same thing every day for 3 weeks definitely does not appeal to everyone. Although it seems like the days may be repetitive, I have never heard of an OL complain. And that's because every day is different in its own way. Every day you have a new group of freshmen with new questions and personalities. So you adjust your day and really cater to them!

As an Orientation Assistant this summer, I love getting to step back and watch firsthand how quickly the OLs impact these freshmen's lives. I had my chance to interact with the Class of 2015 last year, and I wouldn't trade that experience for a THING! But I truly do love my job this year. I get to work with 5 other awesome OAs, a hilarious Office Staff, and 24 outstanding Orientation Leaders. OAs work more behind the scenes of Orientation. We attend parents sessions, work in the office, staff in the info booth, make sure the OLs are hitting all the spots of the tour on time, and a TON more.

I wish the days would go by slower...why is Week 1 over already?? At least we have 2 more weeks to go. Keep killin' it 2OL2!!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

God Bless America

Well, these past few days have been absolutely insane, amazing, inspiring, exhausting, long, hot, and sweaty. I love the fact that I have only been here in Blacksburg for 5 days but it feels like 5 weeks. Orientation will do that to ya! So let me give you a brief recap of my whereabouts these past few days.

On Sunday night, we kicked off Orientation training at the River Course Bull and Bones. We took vans out to Radford and enjoyed a delicious dinner with a beautiful view of the golf course and river. 

The next morning we left for Wilderness Adventure. Now this was my third time going to "Wild Wonder"...which is so funny because last year I just kept reminding myself I would only have to do this once. But little did I know I would be back in full force for both a NSP retreat in the winter and round two of Orientation training in the wilderness with 2OL2.  

I really enjoyed my time at Wilderness Adventure this year as an OA. It was great to get to step back and watch my team, the Terminions, as well as the entire Orientation Team overcome many challenges and obstacles and truly build a great team dynamic. 

I was especially proud of all that my team was able to accomplish on both low ropes and when working on their skit (even though they claim to have done "nothing" that first night). To me, success  is not measured by how quickly a team can come up with an idea for a skit or a solution to a team building exercise. Success is achieved by the way a team works through adversity and conflict to build that awesome team dynamic. And after our two days at Wilderness Adventure, I am fully confident that the Terminions are going to be a solid, SOLID team. 

The following day was the 4th of July! The Orientation Team and Staff walked in the Blacksburg parade in the afternoon. We passed out candy to the children lined up along Main Street and cheered Old Hokie while we made our way to the Pylons. It was a blast!

From spending a few days in the woods, to wearing red, white, and blue and walking in a parade, to sitting on a stranger's lawn to watch the Blacksburg fireworks....I could not have asked for a better start to the month of July. God Bless America.