BY COLLEEN RUPP
SC Contributing Writer
When I say I am an orientation leader (or OL as we are also known) here at ESU people look at me as if I am crazy.
They say, “oh cool” or, “isn’t that an intense job?” The answer is, yes, it is a very intense job.
I became an orientation leader because, like most of the orientation staff, I remember my freshmen orientation.
When I applied in February of my sophomore year, I had an idea of what the job entailed, but was never expecting the experience I got.
When a student applies, there are multiple requirements, and a job application that reads like an essay.
You are interviewed by multiple ESU staff and faculty members. After the individual interview, all applicants attend a group interview, which includes most of the returning OLs.
If you receive the job, the training process starts right away. Spring training takes place every Tuesday from 2 to 4 PM.
There is also a weekend in which all OLs are required to go to Stony Acres.
This is a weekend when you have a chance to get to know your co-workers, challenge yourself, learn from others, and grow as a person and a leader.
Once summer begins, orientation leaders go home like everyone else. But the week before the summer orientation starts we move back into the residence hall.
Summer training is long hours, no sleep, and a lot of information, but this is when the fun really starts.
The week contains meals together as a group, spirit week, and lots of team bonding exercises.
At the end of this week it is rewarding to know you completed the most intense and tiring week.
When the first orientation session begins, normally the day after training is over, the OLs are sleep deprived, but with so much excitement emanating from them, no one would ever know.
That excitement is not fake or over-exaggerated. Parents and incoming students always ask us if we are always this lively. Yes, we are, that is why we are hired for this job.
They also always ask, “How much caffeine have you had today?”
That answer normally tends to vary from leader to leader, and day to day. Some of us never have any but others are always feeding some kind of caffeine into their body.
For the next five and a half weeks, orientation leaders live, work, eat, and sleep together at ESU.
We normally have overnight freshman sessions, and two one-day transfer sessions. Each session, and each group of students are a totally new experience.
Going into that meeting room on the first day, an OL never knows what to expect.
We’ve been challenged many times by students, but we’re trained to handle that too.
Then other times, we have parents and students who are so happy to be there. They make our job so easy, and put an even bigger smile on the leader’s face.
At the end of the session we say goodbye and give students and parents our cards in case they have any questions.
We hope that upon leaving, they feel better acquainted with the campus, and the way ESU works as a whole.
We hope the students met new friends, and the parents feel more comfortable sending their child here in the fall.
Being an OL at ESU is tiring and intense, but it is also fun, rewarding, and the experience of a life time. I loved my experience as an orientation leader, that is why I did it for two years, and still wish I could continue this year if I was not graduating. It was one of the best jobs and experiences I have ever had, and think that I will ever have.
If you think you want to be an OL look for our recruiting coming up soon, or ask any OL about the job!
Email Colleen at: