The Kick Off of Orientation 2011

       *Note: this post was written yesterday, but Duquesne’s internet wouldn’t allow me to post it.  So, I wrote it in a word document and kept it over night!

Today was the big kick off of Duquesne’s 2011 orientation.  All the freshmen were safely moved in and settled and it was time to get down to the real fun.

I started the morning by grabbing a quick breakfast with Lance and running to a team leader morning meeting.  We went over our game plan for the day and received our burgh bucks.  Burgh bucks are the fake money of orientation, and all the team leaders, chairs, advisors, and basically anyone of importance has them.  Every day we get a huge stack of burgh bucks to give to the freshmen to encourage participation, excitement, and mingling.  At the end of the week, we have a big auction where students can redeem their burgh bucks for prizes such as xbox 360, tv/dvd combos, gift cards to resturants, gift baskets, and clothes.

Let me say now that I love burgh bucks.  I love being a team leader, but being a team leader with burgh bucks is doubly great.  As a small girl, I was harassed at school.  I was the village idiot, I was the kid with the cooties, and I was excluded from nearly every recess game, every talking circle, and every group of friends.  I got made fun of for my love of animals, my buck teeth, and my hand me down clothes.  All I ever wanted to do was be liked. As a successful 20 year old, my love of animals is admired, my buck teeth are fixed, and I own new, stylish clothes.  However, my old insecurities have always haunted me.  I still wince when a teacher tells us to find a partner, I still shy away from events that have a lot of people I don’t know, and I still long to be the one people want to know, be approached by strangers, instead of always having the be the one seeking them out.  And burgh bucks fulfill that sick fantasy of mine.  I let all the freshmen know that I am available for all their questions, that I’m happy to help them if they ever need it, and that if they find me at events, I’m willing to reward their efforts generously.  And suddenly I’m grand central station.

But anyways, we got our burgh bucks and I went off to start campus tours.  I also happen to love giving campus tours.  I love my school, I love talking about my school, and I love teaching people about my school.  Plus, I love helping people.  I felt that my tours were quite unique to me.  I was willing to take the students anywhere they wanted to go, give them as much interesting and useful tidbits as I could and answer any and all questions that they might have.  I really tried to get to know them, and not just chuck information at them.  I honestly want to be able to walk down A walk half way through the year and still wave to some of them, or stop and talk.  I want to build bonds with people.  I gave some tours to some really awesome people.   I really hope that later, after all the burgh bucks are gone and life starts, they still remember me at least a little.

After tours we went to matriculation, the formal welcoming of the new students.  Matriculation was matriculation.  Long.  Formal.  Boring.  But, what could I do?  It was mandatory.  The one thing I do always get from matriculation is  a really strong sense of pride in my university, and an ever larger desire to share it with others.  I really love Duquesne.

After matriculation, we changed back into our team leader uniforms and rushed over to eat dinner and meet with our freshmen teams for the first time.  I was so impressed with my freshmen.  When I first saw their facebooks, I thought they were all going to be snobby little princess and chunky meat heads.  I really didn’t have much hope in bonding with them.  However, after  I met them, I realized they were actually concerned with what  I had to say.  They had questions and they were looking to me for answers.  They liked me.  They didn’t seem to know or care that my father makes far less than theirs nor that my haircut wasn’t designer.  Instead, they respected me and treated me like I was genuinely helping them and they genuinely wanted to get to know me.  I was so happy!

After our meeting, I opted to skip going to a performance by the Tamburitzans and let my future roommate come see our room so she could decide what she needed to bring.

Then, we went to the graffiti dance! 

The graffiti dance is where everyone wears a white t shirt, grabs a sharpie, and signs everyone else’s shirts.  Last year, I found it awkward and annoying.  This year, I had a blast!  Not only did I not care about looking like a dork dancing and signing everyone’s shirt, but I had all the freshmen I met throughout  the day coming up to me and talking and signing.  They all knew my name, they all remembered my face, and I didn’t feel like that awkward little girl that no one liked.  I felt like I kind of fit in.

The hardest part about orientation is not flirting with Lance.  We tend to be a rather cuddly couple, and there is a strict no flirting with freshmen rule.  So, for the rest of the week we have to kind of keep our distance (at least when I’m in uniform).  And it sucks.  But, I’m happy I can be down here with him, being a part of orientation, and at least supporting him if he needs me! 

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