As many know, orientation is a pretty big deal here at Eastern Michigan University. It’s an intense four-day experience that helps acclimate incoming students to their new surroundings while also giving them a chance to bond with fellow students. Only, a lot of work goes into our orientation, and it absolutely wouldn’t be possible without a very passionate group of individuals known as New Student Orientation Assistant.
NSOA is a volunteer group who facilitates the orientation program by guiding and assisting new students through the experience. They go through a training process before orientation that’s specially catered to make them better leaders, both through sensitivity to diversity and a focused look at leadership styles. The three-day training program creates a cohesive and organized mass of people who get the academic year started right, with energy and enthusiasm.
Why mention this? It’s simple really. NSOA applications for fall 2012 orientation went live at www.emich.edu/campuslife last week, so people need to fill them out.
I’m not so much a serial advocate for university programs so much as a firm proponent of a positive orientation experience. Most of the first-year incoming students who will be living on campus don’t know what they’re getting themselves into. Having a good first four days on campus really helps to put them to ease.
That’s the reason I became a NSOA. I really valued the experience as a freshman, because it helped me to really get to know the place where I was living, and the people who I would later become very close to. It was the least I could do to give that to someone else, and that’s what NSOA does for a few students each year.
After having done it three times, I know I have made a difference in a lot of peoples’ lives.
That’s why I feel the program is so important.
It leads people down roads they otherwise wouldn’t have traveled. If it weren’t for my NSOA, I wouldn’t have gone on to meet two of my very good friends, and I feel I would just be a completely different person in general.
It’s this growth that orientation itself is generating which I find so great. It gives people the road map to the avenues they’ve already been seeking to reinvent themselves.
It’s a catalyst for self-discovery, both on the part of the new students and the NSOAs.
Over the course of the seven days, NSOA actually makes a difference. According to a study conducted by the ACT Policy Report, “[…]orientation programs can help reinforce to students that they matter to the institution and will be supported as they proceed toward completion of their degrees. This validation connects the student to the institution and helps build institutional and goal commitment as well as social support networks.”
It goes on to allude the introduction of campus resources and activities along with campus culture really help to build a solid foundation for future-student retention and success.
So there it is. If you’re looking for a way to make a difference, and have a little bit of fun along the way, becoming a NSOA is the right thing for you to do. It’s a fantastic experience, and you’ll learn a lot along the way. Oh, and did I mention the copious amount of EMU shirts and food they provide you for volunteering your time?
Your move, really.