Oh hey! I remember you; you’re that funny guy from Orientation!
That’s how most you of know me. At least that’s what you say when you see me on campus. Yes, I was the guy who welcomed you to Orientation. It’s a great job, it really is. But sadly, that’s probably the last time most of you saw me or my colleagues in First Year Experience. And why should we expect any different. We work on the third floor of the Student Academic Services building on the far edge of campus. You have no reason to wander up here.
Many of you are probably still connected to your Orientation Leader, right? I’m sure they may help you from time to time. “Yes, but Bernie, they don’t actually work for you anymore,” you might say. That’s right. The summer is over. The red polo shirts have been retired.
My colleagues and I started a conversation just like this a little over a year ago. It wasn’t hard to figure out that we’ve been doing this all wrong. The people you might actually listen to, connect with and reach out to when you have a question (your peers, that is)…we let those people go. Every August. And now, during the school year, we’re hoping you’ll listen to us. A bunch of staff members who haven’t been college students for 10 or even 20 years. Heck, my son is closer to your age and he’s nine.
So, I hope you’re not offended, but starting this fall, when it comes time to actually connect with you, it won’t be me or my colleagues leading the charge anymore. Instead, we’re going to let you connect with and talk to a fellow student. And not some random upper-class student you haven’t met before (because honestly, that’s always awkward) but those same students you’ve come to know and trust because they helped you feel at home, get some answers and have a great time at Orientation.
Now, there will be a slight change. We won’t call them Orientation Leaders anymore. They’ll be so much more than that. They’ll meet and help new students like you over the summer at Orientation, just like they always did, but now they’ll stay in touch, answer your questions and help you explore Ohio State all throughout the year. And the new name: FYE Peer Leaders. Simple, right?
I have a hunch that some of you (if you’ve read this far), might be thinking, “Bernie, how can I apply for this new Peer Leader job?” Well, I have good news for you. The application is available now (through January 30). All you have to do is go to our webpage to find out more about applying. I hope you’ll watch the short video and maybe even join us this month at an info session.
The one catch is that this job isn’t for everyone, and you may not be ready…just yet. I say that because I remember applying for a pretty amazing job on campus my first year, one that had the potential to impact other students. I started the process, filled out the application and even successfully made it through the group interview. But then, just before getting the final word, I removed myself from the process. Why? Well, I knew I wasn’t ready yet. I barely knew myself, how was I going to help others. I still had some growing up to do. The next year, my sophomore year, I applied again. And this time I stayed with the process. The very next fall I became an RA in Taylor Tower and had the time of my life helping other students.
I hope, when the time is right, you’ll apply to be an FYE Peer Leader. First-year students need people like you in their lives. We understand that now.