Ok, so I remember last year being so confident that I knew all I needed to know about Western. I knew where I fit in the campus, I knew where I was going academic wise (Yeah, I had the whole 5 year, 10 year plan done in elementary school), and I knew who I was striving to be.
I was wrong.
After participating as an Arts and Humanities soph during Oweek this year, it became staggeringly apparent that I had been living in a very small world and only experiencing the basics of Western life. Becoming a soph made me realize that there were so many opportunities and experiences and people and places I had never even known existed. It opened me up to a side of Western I had never been part of. I made so many new friendships and learned so much more about opportunities in my faculty and created such a vibrant network of support systems.
Plus, it was such a satisfying feeling to know that I was helping to better a first year’s experience and to make this monster under the bed into something they could conquer. Watching them get more and more excited to be a part of student life here was like a mama bird watching her kids learn to fly on their own. Spending time with them made me realize things about myself and made me more determined to take on life as passionately as they were.
It was much more different and exhilarating to experience Orientation week as a soph rather than a student. At this point, I had gotten so close to my soph team, especially since we are a smaller faculty and thus, have less sophs, and had already made friends with others on different teams. It was nice to be sure of where I had to be and know where I was and know that I was never alone, that I had people I could call on no matter the moment.
I didn’t realize that I was sounding like an after-school special and like the corniest advertisement in the world. But if my love for the entire orientation program didn’t come across before, here’s exhibit A:
It is a great opportunity and I hope my ramblings and photo collage showed you how many benefits there are to taking on this role. Even when I was stumbling into bed at 2:30 a.m., I knew how lucky I was to have those experiences and be part of something so integral to Western life. So if your interest piqued even a little bit through my eloquently written spiel and you’re thinking of maybe applying to be a soph, then in the words of Shia Labeouf:
To all first years: Welcome to Western!