A Day in the Life of an Orientation Leader

Published on 03 August 2018

The feeling of anticipation is prevalent as students set foot on campus. Greeted with friendly waves and gleeful introductions, they are directed to the registration table for New Student Orientation.

Every student who attends St. Louis College of Pharmacy is welcomed to campus by orientation leaders. This interaction marks a pivotal milestone that students remember throughout their time at the College.

Orientation day is a time filled with excitement and nervous butterflies as students take the first step of their journey toward earning a degree. For junior and orientation leader Summer Byerley, it’s a monumental moment that she feels fortunate to be a part of.

Why did you become an orientation leader?
When I was an incoming freshman, I remember that going away to college was a big transition. Thankfully, my orientation leaders helped ease my worries by explaining what to expect. Now as a current orientation leader, I get to help calm the nerves of incoming students. It’s rewarding to be one of the first to welcome them into the STLCOP family.

What was your favorite memory from orientation?
During my orientation, we went bowling and had dinner at the Old Spaghetti Factory. That was the first time I had the opportunity to interact with my classmates and I cherish those memories.

Now, incoming students participate in team building activities like trivia, name games and other icebreakers. The team building activities are some of my favorite parts of orientation. Most recently, my group of students and I were not doing very well in orientation trivia. Our whole group had a good laugh about it considering there was no way we were going to win.

It was a learning moment for the group. Sometimes you struggle, but when you have a support system it makes challenges easier to figure out.

Has anything interesting happened during this year’s orientation?
I had to leave the first orientation early because of appendicitis. Thankfully, the other orientation leaders were able to take over my group and guide them while I got my appendix removed. It all goes back to the power of having a strong support system!

What do students do at orientation?
During the morning session, new students and their families are welcomed to campus. It’s the first chance students have to meet their future classmates and learn what to expect during their first semester.

Then, we send the families to an informational session while students collect their class schedules, get their student ID photos taken and participate in community-building games.

After lunch, we take our StrengthsFinder strengths assessment and discuss how having different strengths brings value to interprofessional, collaborative health care teams. We close out the first night with trivia and a welcome dinner hosted by President Pieper.

After a full day of activities, the students go back to the residence halls for the night. They stay up late chatting, playing games and walking to restaurants and coffee shops in the Central West End. Even though we all have to get up early the next day, we try to stay up as late as possible so everyone has the chance to get to know each other better.

The next day kicks off with an early breakfast and interactive sessions highlighting student success resources. After lunch, we participate in a Q & A session with current students.

Orientation concludes with hugs, plenty of warm goodbyes and shared laughs over the memories that were made over the weekend.

What other activities do orientation leaders help with?
We will be with new students from day one and meet with them once a week throughout their first semester. We welcome them to campus before the first day of classes, help them get settled on Move-In Day and assist them with getting their laptops set up.

We also teach a Foundations of Learning course which teaches students about ethics, conflict resolution, study skills and how to become a well-rounded student at the College.

What advice do you have for incoming students?
I would tell students to be themselves and come to the first day of school with an open mind. I love it here, and I let all of my students know that they will love it as much as I do. I would also tell students to never be afraid to ask for help. Everyone at the College wants them to succeed, and we’re all happy to do what we can to make sure that happens.

For more information on New Student Orientation, visit stlcop.edu/orientation.

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