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Collis at nighttime.

At some point during early 2023 I applied on a whim to be an Orientation Leader for the Class of 2027 ('27s). I was unsure what my responsibilities would be, but my lack of knowledge was overpowered by my excitement to help a new class get adjusted to life at Dartmouth. Getting settled into college is no easy feat, and I owe a lot of gratitude to the Orientation Leaders that I met when I was arriving on campus for the first time — they were the folks who helped me remember why I chose to come here in the first place.

I arrived on campus on August 28, just a few days before the majority of the first-years would move in! For the next few days, the OLs were hard at work, training and preparing activities for the 14 days. (O-Week isn't just one week - it's more like two!)

The orientation leaders in front of Collis.
The orientation leaders (OLs), clad in bright green matching t-shirts!

The beginning of orientation was certainly the busiest time - and not just for Orientation Leaders. On one of the move-in days, Hanover decided to grace us with downpouring rain. I have no words to describe how badly I felt for the families that day, but at least they'll have a move-in story to cherish forever (and hopefully laugh at later on). Students were busy with name tag making, first year trips, bingo, s'mores, shopping shuttles, and so, so many icebreakers. One of my personal favorites was: "if you were a non-electric kitchen appliance, what would you be?" Strange, I know - but I find myself identifying with that thing that slices hard-boiled eggs.

The orientation leaders holding signs to welcome '27s.
Some of the OLs, ready to welcome '27s with uplifting signs!
The orientation leaders making s'mores.
My personal favorite activity: free late-night s'mores at Collis!

As the two weeks closed out with days less and less busy, I found myself feeling so very appreciative for the people I had met. When I first walked into training on August 28, I knew about three people in the room. By the end, we had all bonded so strongly over the common goal of providing guidance and support for the new first-years on campus. In addition to just fellow OLs, I was also able to meet so many '27s from all sorts of backgrounds! Although we may not remember each other's names, I'll always be grateful that I was able to help at least one person feel more comfortable here at Dartmouth.

Orientation seems corny, but there is so much dedication put into it. Prior to being an OL, I had no clue about the hard work put into O-week behind the scenes! This was an experience that's brought so much value to the way in which I navigate and explore Dartmouth for myself!

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