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On Thursday June 20th, I timidly made my way to the Jean Yawkey Center, ready to check in for my orientation session. In the four and a half hours I spent driving to Emmanuel, I prepared myself for a series of awkward icebreakers and lots of small talk. At the end of it, however, I was pleasantly surprised by how enjoyable of an experience it truly was.
The information sessions came to a quick start. Students were placed into several groups with Orientation leaders (OLs). They immediately started the ice breaker games. Some of these games included activities to help learn each other’s names and interests. I came to learn quite quickly that these OLs were extremely talented in making these sessions both interesting and fun, even in the early morning hours.
What impressed me most about the OLs was their ability to answer almost any question you could think of. Whether it be what to bring to campus, or what to expect from freshman year, they were honest and informed about nearly any and every part of being an Emmanuel Saint.
In addition to the fun games, we attended a service in the chapel. We used candles as a representation of our lives at Emmanuel College. As we lit the candles, we also ignited the start of our college experience. The Emmanuel College Programming Board hosted a carnival later that evening, which was a great means of socializing and getting to know one another. While I embarrassed myself struggling to win any of the games available, many of my classmates found it easier to just enjoy the delicious assortment cotton candy and candy apples.
My personal favorite part of the 2013 orientation was the Diversity Seminar. We gathered in our orientation groups and discussed both the similarities and differences among our lives. It was interesting to see that such a myriad of personalities and people could share many of the same problems and concerns. Some shared fun and quirky facts about themselves. Others shared more personal and in depth stories of their pasts. The seminar concluded with the group cohesively coming up with a definition of what it meant to be a diverse campus.
It was during this part of orientation that I, along with many others, realized that Emmanuel College was a wonderful place to grow and learn. Each and every person in my group was attentive and interested in one another. Even those who thought they were too cool for silly ice breakers like Turtle and Speed-Friending, participated and shared during this particular part of the Orientation program. This was the first time I felt the feeling of community and unity that Emmanuel College prides itself on.
There have been many folks who’ve said college is a difficult transition period. Thanks to the staff at Emmanuel, the Orientation Leaders, and the students who participated, I personally felt myself more prepared for the college life. One can only hope that some of the friendships started, continue throughout the course of the semesters to come.
Ashly Uss, Class of 2017