Orientation has ended and now my last official semester as an undergraduate at William & Mary is upon us and let me be the first to say that I am more than ready to hark upon the gale. But I’ll be real with you – I didn’t expect to have so much fun during orientation. Nor to be currently experiencing a severe case of separation anxiety. A few Fridays ago, on August 19th, my co-OA (Orientation Aide), Greg, and I woke up early, and made sure to be at Yates Hall by 7:00 A.M., an hour before the freshmen were allowed to move in, but only after a brief trip to Manhattan Bagel to get some sustenance that would allow us to stay strong all throughout the day. And after a honey wheat bagel, I was ready to rock and roll.
Greg & I - my wonderful Co and Me!
Although I’m not new to the orientation aide experience, I’m new to the Freshman OA experience. Last summer, I served as a PFOA, which stands for Program and Family Orientation Aide. I had two halls, but didn’t have the opportunity to spend every moment of my time with them, so I finished the summer not really knowing that much specifically about either of the halls that I PFOA-ed for. But this orientation experience was so much the opposite. So much the opposite that I’m experiencing some major separation anxiety today now that I’m not with the crazy boys of Yates 3rd North. I knew on the first day when one of their “orientation names” was Judgmental Jim that we’d be in for quite the orientation experience together. And boy was I right. For five days, I was a full-time mother to 25 different 18-year-old boys and now have a renewed sense of understanding for the boys that I was friends with my freshman year.
Two of my OA boys - Lukas & Taegan - at Convocation 2011!
Before Friday, which was one of my favorite traditions on campus (Convocation), I hadn’t seen any of my OA boys in over a week – and that was crazy! But, on Friday, we were reunited and I was able to watch them walk through the Wren Building with that same wide-eyed-curiosity and excitement that I did merely 3 years ago. Being an Orientation Aide is something that will always hold a special place in my heart and I have a feeling that my role as the OA for Yates 3rd North has only just begun – there will most likely be many trips throughout the year with them to Target, cookies brought during finals, and tearful goodbyes at the end of the year when I graduate and they begin their sophomore years (I’m assuming here that the tears will be coming from me, per usual).
It’s weird for me to not only think that these boys have only been a part of my life for three short weeks, but more importantly, that it’s almost time for me to walk the opposite way through the Wren Building – the scary way that means I’m leaving William & Mary and going on to do big things with my life. And although that involves me staying here for another year and doing the 5 Year B.A. to M.Ed. program in Elementary Education, it’ll be a different year. One filled with grad-school classes and student teaching, not with sorority chapter meetings and Wren 10’s and mug nights galore. I know without a doubt that William & Mary has prepared me to head out into the real world. But first, I think I’ll just take the rest of this year to continue my role as a student at William & Mary and as mom to those crazy boys of Yates 3rd North…