Our student reporter randomly checks out the action on the Diag.
What made you want to be a summer orientation leader?
I didn’t want to be at home, needed money, and I love to help people.
Has it lived up to your expectations?
Oh yeah. It’s so fun. I didn’t think I’d be this excited for each new session. But now we’re on our sixth time, and I’m like, “OK, I’m ready. Let’s have some fun.”
What’s a typical session like?
The first day is really heavy. We do an hour and a half welcome meeting, we proctor placement exams, and we have Community at Michigan, where we sit with our group from the tour (oh yeah, we also do a tour) and for 45 minutes the kids just ask us questions. Then at night there’s the ETC (U-M Educational Theatre Company) show. Day two is more focused on their academics. But we also do sessions on college expectations, collaborative learning, and the library. Then we take them to meet their academic and peer advisers. Day three, we do nothing at all. They go register and we have a five-hour break. We have this thing called “MD2 naps,” which stands for “morning of day two naps.” I sleep. It’s beautiful.
Sounds like it! So, how often do you have to discipline new students?
They talk a lot, so we have to keep them quiet. But we also work with a lot of academic units who tell them something different from what we say. We’re just like, “Listen to us, we got this, we know what we’re doing. We are the overseers!” The honors kids always want to go off and find where they’re supposed to be on their own, and we’re like, “No! We’re taking you there because you don’t know where you’re going. Please stop running away.” But that’s about it. No fist fights or climbing up the sides of buildings.
What’s the best question you’ve ever heard?
I’ve got two. One girl asked me if she could Segway to North Campus and I was like, “There’s a bus system. Did you know?” She was like, “I don’t know how to use a bus.” And she really didn’t! She didn’t know that there are cords that stop a bus. I had to show her how to use a bus.
And the other one?
I had another girl ask me, “How do you use the bathroom?” And I was like, “What do you mean? You sit down on a toilet.” She said, “No, in class. Do I just get up and leave?” And I said, “Yeah. Please don’t raise your hand in a 500-person lecture. We don’t have time for that.”
That’s too funny.
I love that one.
Do you ever get students with messed up views of what college is going to be like?
Yeah. There was one girl that asked me about the Hash Bash. She said, “My mom was telling me about that event which took place a couple months ago. Is it required that I go?” And I’m like, “What? No!” I’ve never encountered peer pressure, which is a message you have to relay to new students. Don’t do something you don’t want to do.
If someone is thinking about being an orientation leader, what advice would you give?
Be prepared to realize some things about yourself. I thought I wanted to be a psychologist. But now I am thinking I should start looking at higher education because I love helping people and working with students and kids.
David Newman is a junior acting major in the School of Music, Theatre & Dance. He just completed a summer development internship with the Alumni Association.