I remember walking into New Student Orientation and all the feelings that went along with it. I was nervous, excited, but mostly just overwhelmed. I remember standing close to my dad, and it made me feel like a child again—how was I supposed to find my place in a school so large? That’s when he pointed to the Orientation Leaders and told me that I would enjoy work like that. I had a wonderful time at orientation and mostly forgot about the conversation with my dad.
The second semester of my freshman year was hard; I wasn’t sure of my place here. I had not finalized my majors, and I lacked direction in a few different areas of my life. One night I was talking about these issues with one of my best friends when she reminded me that I said I wanted to apply for OTeam a while back. I found the application quickly, but the only problem was that it was due that night, and I obviously hadn’t started. I spent the rest of the night diligently completing the application for what would turn out to be one of the most rewarding summers of my life.
As a member of OTeam, I got to tell new students of what their day-to-day life would be like when they first came to college. Since I had only completed two semesters here, I was unsure of my ability to actually give this kind of advice. But with a lot of practice I made sure I was a comforting and informative person who the incoming class of 2022 could trust.
Before I did OTeam, I wasn’t very confident. I wasn’t great at public speaking, and I was not as good at presenting my ideas clearly. On OTeam, public speaking is a necessity. At least once a week I was randomly selected from the team to give a 45-minute lecture to close to 400 parents and guardians about normal life at Indiana University. Needless to say, I saw a huge increase in my public speaking skills. Close to every day I interacted with a group of around 30 incoming students for the whole day. I did so many different things: small lectures, facilitating activities, and a lot of one-on-one advice. These were all things I did not consider myself to be good at, but after a 3-month crash course they’re some of my greatest strengths today. I made my best friends over that summer and felt more connected to IU than I ever had before.
I still work for the First Year Experience program on campus! The experience had a such a profound impact on me, and I still wanted to be part of that impact for others. Now I’m a program assistant for Hoosier Experience. This program helps to create your very own unique IU experience. By going to a bunch of fun activities on campus freshman can earn the First-Year Hoosier Experience Achievement Award. Going to these events opens you up to so many resources and opportunities. One of the best ways to make IU your home is to go outside of your comfort zone! If I had any advice it would be to explore new things that will challenge you and might even teach you something new. Stay updated with Hoosier Experience events to make IU home!