Hi there! It’s Sophie again. Since my last post, I have fully jumped into NOLA summer mode and I couldn’t be happier.
I’m writing this blog post from the front desk of Butler House, the freshman honors dorm, waiting for the members of the Tulane class of 2017 to begin showing up and checking in for New Student Orientation. This March, I was selected to be an Orientation Team Leader through the Tulane Office of Orientation and Parent Programs. I am a member of a dynamic team of eleven campus leaders who were selected to welcome first year students joining the Tulane community in the fall of 2013. When incoming students come for one of the nine New Student Orientation sessions in June, they look to our team of leaders to guide them through campus, facilitate discussions about Tulane and university life in general, and serve as a resource for making the transition to college as successful as possible. As Orientation Team Leaders, we are asked to represent Tulane in all that we do so that from the very first moment new students arrive on campus, they understand expectations, traditions, and the many ways to get involved and leave their mark on the university community.
During each session, I am asked to share what I think is the most important thing a new student at Tulane should know. Though the delivery is a little different each time, here’s what I’ve come up with to share with new students:
- Though each student experience is unique, I believe that success at college begins with being comfortable with yourself and your decisions, past and present. Confidence in yourself eventually translates to comfort in your environment. In order to be comfortable with myself, I had to evaluate what I found the most enjoyment in and what I would rather not be involved with. You are the author of your own story, and thus you should be proud of your progress as a student, proud of the school and its values, and be proud of the New Orleans community and its traditions.
- Sign up and apply for as much as possible early on, because you can always cut down on your responsibilities and campus involvements when you get a better sense of your schedule. Like-minded people will do the same, and eventually you will open yourself up to entirely new circles of friends, students, and professionals. Though I soon I found that my involvement in Newcomb Scholars and the Reily Center aligned extremely well with my values and interests, it took signing up for about 8 different clubs and applying for 3 different jobs to finally understand this.
- Make sure it’s worth the autobiography. Though autobiographies are written in a number of ways and for a number of reasons, they usually all serve one purpose: to act as a reflection on the times that helped you learn a lesson, the times that helped you develop into the person you are today, and the times that were just plain fun. I have found that I am happiest when I say “yes” to experiences that I think I might want to include in my autobiography in the future. My first year was full of experiences like that, and all it took was me being brave enough to step outside my comfort zone and enjoy the little things in life. Believing in the mantra “Make it worth the autobiography” led me to a number of awesome, life-changing experiences, like joining Newcomb Scholars, being on the court of the Irish Channel St. Patricks’ Day Parade, running a half-marathon, and more.
Though this advice is by no means unique or special, I feel that it offers a certain amount of comfort for new students who may feel overwhelmed by all of the changes occurring around them. The process of welcoming new students to the Tulane community has been an incredible growing experience for me and it has absolutely reaffirmed my love for this school and this city. I love it!!
Until next time,