It's May 1st of your senior year of high school and you finally committed to the college you dreamed of attending. Now that you've made your decision, it's time to sign up for an orientation session before starting classes in the fall.

Orientation is an experience where you become familiar with the campus and meet people who you'll be spending the next four years with for the very first time. It's nerve-wracking, but an incredible fun-filled experience.

Going into my senior year at Quinnipiac, I was given the opportunity of being an orientation leader. To this day, I will always remember where I was, what I was doing and the time when I received the phone call. It puts a smile on my face every time I think about it. To me, being an orientation leader is a huge honor and I wouldn't trade the experience for anything. 

wine, beer
Mary Rose Bevins

They always say being an orientation leader has a tremendous impact on the incoming freshmen; but what about the actual orientation leader? Not only was I able to make an impact on their lives but they also made a positive impact on mine.  

A typical orientation session at Quinnipiac lasts two days with various activities that help the incoming freshmen feel acquainted with the school.

One activity that stands out from the rest is, "Celebrating You at QU." This is where diversity plays a huge role. This aspect of orientation is where students are encouraged to embrace who they are and their differences. They are reminded this is a place where they can express who they are and will be supported and embraced by others in this community.

It's always at this time I feel myself change as a person. Hearing their stories and witness how brave, proud and confident they are for who they are, where they come from and who they want to be blows me away. It inspires me to be a better version of myself. 

wine, beer
Mary Rose Bevins

It was bittersweet when orientation came to an end in August but I'm happy to say I made the most of my experience. Being surrounded by 72 other orientation leaders and the 50+ freshmen me and my partner were responsible for changes your whole perspective on life. To give you a better idea, here's what orientation did for me. 

Just Be You

Mary Rose Bevins

I went into orientation one person and came out as a completely different one. Not only did the freshmen teach me being yourself is key, but so did the other orientation leaders. On the first day of training we did ice breakers. Each ice breaker was with a different group of people that way we can all learn how to work with one another.

Being thrown into a group of 71 other student leaders I wasn't acclimated with yet was very intimidating and I wasn't sure how to act. But I quickly learned being me was more than enough. I was surrounded by so many different people who embraced who they were, so why not do the same?

I'll Never Lose That Loving Feeling 

Mary Rose Bevins

Before the five sessions are over, all of the senior OL girls get serenaded by all of the OL boys. The serenade is a send-off; a thank you to all the senior girls for everything they have done for the program. Boy, let me tell you, it's quite the experience. You don't know when, where or how it's going to happen and the build-up to it makes it all the more exciting. 

The second day of the first session I was serenaded by all 20+ guys who sang a version of the Righteous Brothers, "lost that loving feeling" in front of 400 freshmen. It was the most beautiful experience and something I will never forget. But that one moment of fame simply does not showcase all the love and support I felt the entire summer and will continue to feel. 

Being a first year orientation leader I've never had so much support from any group of people than I did this summer. Everyone, including the newbies, reached out to me and everyone else and helped in any way they could while working with the freshmen. With the amount of support and help I received, I was able to make the orientation experience for the freshmen all the better.

Life-Long Friendships 

Jessica Ciccarella

I got very lucky and was able to go through this experience with my best friend, Jess. But not only did I go into this with my best friend, I came out with so many others I know will last a lifetime. Spending time with 71 other people for three weeks creates special bonds amongst one another that cannot easily be broken. 

Not only did I develop friendships, but I was able to see friendships amongst the freshmen blossom right in front of my eyes. Witnessing that was beautiful and definitely a feel-good moment. A lot of people are afraid they may not make friends when they get to college—I know I was—but I know for sure this group of incoming students will not have a hard time at all.

Orientation was a once in a lifetime opportunity that I am so glad I got to be a part of. I'm sad that it was my senior year I was finally on staff, but I would never trade the experience for anything. Summer 2017 was very good to me and altered my life in the most positive way where I am able to live my life to the fullest every single day. #O2k17, it's been real my friend.