Orientation leaders (OLs) are responsible for helping first-year and transfer students get acquainted with the UNC campus life. They help out with New Student and Parent/Family Orientation, Week of Welcome, Tar Heel Beginnings activities and Family Weekend.
The Daily Tar Heel spoke with Kimberly McCullough, a junior who became an OL in December 2012 and worked Summer 2013, about her experiences.
The Daily Tar Heel: Why did you apply?
Kimberly McCullough: One of my friends was actually an orientation leader, and they talked about how great of an experience it was. And I realized that as a student at orientation, I did not have the best experience. And I wanted to give back something to the students ... something that I didn’t have. You can build close and intimate relationships.
DTH: What’s your favorite part about being an orientation leader?
KM: My favorite part of being an orientation leader was definitely connecting and talking to the new students and families, just because sometimes I feel like you can get lost in your job that you forget the reason why you do things. And just being with my students and just having conversations with them and, you know, getting to know them a little bit better, it really reminded me of why I wanted to be an orientation leader in the first place. We’re all people. We all just genuinely want to have a good time and just enjoy life. That’s what really hit home for me with the job. It no longer was a job for me.
DTH: What are some of the concerns that you’ve heard from incoming first-years?
KM: Most of the concerns were either centered around diversity or how they would adjust to the college lifestyle. And I think that mostly came in part from, you know, they all come from different areas and walks of life, and they’re nervous about coming to a big campus like UNC. And with the great reputation that UNC has, it can really play a role in how you may view your competitiveness or how you will perform as a student academically. Even socially they had some concerns, you know, meeting new friends and things like that. So, they would always talk to me about the social life and academic life. I was able to provide them my own personal account of my story, but I always remind my students that your journey is your own. And it definitely is what you make it.
DTH: What are some of the things that you tell the first-years about UNC to get them excited about coming here?