Today on the Orientation blog, we are getting to know our New Student Orientation Directors. Here is a little bit about why they are so excited to work for Orientation:
Grace Purdue: What is my why? Why does Orientation matter to me?
Imagine your hometown as one side of a canyon. On the other side of the canyon is Hope College. When I arrived in August of 2018, there seemingly was nothing that could stop me from jumping and flying to the other side of the canyon. I was so excited about this new experience of college. My daydream of instant friends and flourishing success was about to be realized. I really believed that I knew everything there was to know about college. For months, I had done my research, gathering information about what to pack, who to know, and how to fit in. I could see the other side of the valley and it was within my reach.
After that first day of moving into my little dorm room, meeting new people, and exploring campus, I fell into my Twin XL bed to go to sleep. That is when it hit me. I was away from home and everything I had known as constant and easy. I was about to embark on an adventure, a long and scary one. It felt like I was in the middle of the canyon with no ladder to get out.
The next day, my Orientation experience felt distinctly different. I no longer felt on top of the world. As the second day of Orientation progressed, the feelings of caution and curiosity intensified. I remember looking around at the opening session of Orientation, hearing the speaker say, “the people sitting next to you are in the same spot. Don’t forget that you’re all in the same boat.” Those words gave me the courage to see that I could take a risk, believe in myself, and go freely into this new experience. From that moment forward, I have remembered Orientation as a pivot in my mindset; a time and place where the hard transition from old to new was smoothed over. Holding the hands of my fellow classmates lifted me out of the canyon and onto the other side.
I have remembered Orientation as a pivot in my mindset; a time and place where the hard transition from old to new was smoothed over.
This brings me to my why. Why do I want to work for Orientation? Because moving away from home, moving on from high school, and moving towards the future sometimes feels like an impossible jump, but Orientation was the bridge that got me over the great crevasse.
Grace Gadwood: Sitting down to reflect upon why Orientation matters to me brings so many emotions and feelings to the surface. It takes me back to when I was an incoming student going through Orientation weekend and feeling nervous but so excited for what was to come. I can very vividly remember the nerves and the way my stomach seemed to be lurching out of my body as we got ready to pull up to Dykstra Hall and unload all of my belongings. Everything I had dreamt of and thought about since I made my decision to attend Hope was coming to the ultimate climax as I stepped my first foot on campus as an actual student.
I was so unsure of how I was going to feel when I plunged head first into Hope College on move-in day. That is most likely where the majority of my nerves and anxieties came that day. Was I going to be emotional? Was I going to be more homesick than I could have ever thought? Was I going to immediately thrive? But, once I got out of the car, I was immediately greeted with bright orange shirts and bright white smiles, and that is the moment the nerves subsided. The smiling faces and welcoming arms (quite literally) of the Orientation Assistants, offering their names and to move my things to my room for me, helped encourage me that I belonged here. I, along with my family, immediately felt welcomed. Our concerns and worries, while valid, were not going to stick around for a while. The encouragement that I felt that day by all of those people helping me every step of the way is a feeling I will never forget. It is honestly a feeling I still feel to this day when I look around Hope College and the people supporting my journey.
The encouragement that I felt that day by all of those people helping me every step of the way is a feeling I will never forget.
All of this being said, my “why” of Orientation is to create and foster that exact feeling in you all. To be that welcoming face and open arms to the incoming students of Hope College. I want those potentially overwhelming feelings of nervousness, anxiety, and fear to seem so much smaller from the second you step out of your car on move-in day. I want you to feel welcome and present and, most importantly, home.