Orientation! What an exciting time of the year! This will be my third year as an Orientation Assistant (OA), and I love that I have met so many new people through that first weekend each school year. Orientation has been one of the highlights of my Hope College experience and is always a blast! Whether you make relationships in your Orientation group, through your residence hall, or from other events throughout Orientation Weekend, you will have the opportunity to meet all kinds of new people and form friendships with other students.
The OAs are not only here for you, but we want to get to know you and cultivate a friendship with you as well!
Although it may seem overwhelming and uncertain, the goal of Orientation is to ease you into your Hope experience. Through your Orientation group, the OAs (upperclassmen volunteers) help you and other new students break the tension and get to know each other through icebreaker activities. Those activities may be a bit silly and goofy, but they can also be the best part of your Orientation experience!
Through these Orientation groups, I, along with many other OAs, have been able to create connections with new students that have lasted well beyond Orientation Weekend. One of my best friends was once one of the new students in the Orientation group I led during my first year as an OA! Since then, we have joined a sorority together, been leaders for Club Connect together, and she even joined the Bible study group I led the year we met. The OAs are not only here for you, but we want to get to know you and cultivate a friendship with you as well!
It is weird to be in a completely new environment, but some advice that my OAs gave me as an incoming student was to really dive in and not think about home too much during the first few weeks at Hope. My freshman year I lived in Dykstra Hall in cluster 2-3, and just by spending that first weekend at Hope, I was able to start forming deep friendships with girls who have continued to be some of my best friends.
Although it may seem overwhelming and uncertain, the goal of Orientation is to ease you into your Hope experience.
So, here’s my advice to all of you new students: embrace the awkwardness and silliness of Orientation. You truly get out what you put in, and you aren’t in it alone– everyone around you is dealing with the transition into this next chapter. Lean on your classmates, and lean on your OAs!
Rebecca Biernacki is a rising senior majoring in Nursing and minoring in Spanish. She is from the suburbs of Chicago, and she found out about Hope through a neighbor from home who had been attending Hope at the time. Throughout her time at Hope, Rebecca has been involved in the Alethean Sorority, Nykerk Play, Dance Marathon Morale squad, a leader of Club Connect, small group bible studies and immersion trips, and she went on a May term to Málaga, Spain. She is so excited to meet all the incoming students!