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The Hidden Value of Working as an Orientation Leader

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at BU chapter.

I get the same reaction every time someone asks why I stayed in Boston over the summer. When I tell them I worked as an orientation leader, it’s all the same: wide eyes and a painful grimace.

Photo Credit: Geneve Lau

During spring of this year, a coworker convinced me to fill out an application to be a student advisor for the summer. At first, I was hesitant. It would be my first summer away from home, as I was wrapping up my freshman year. However, the offer of free housing for the summer was tempting and I remembered how much fun my orientation leaders looked like they were having. I also knew that the opportunity would allow me to explore more of Boston and even take on a summer internship.

As a person who usually turns things in early, I surprisingly turned in my application three days past the deadline, since I had only just found out about it. Within days, I was called in for an interview, and the rest was history.

Photo Credit: Geneve Lau

I’ll admit, I walked into my first day of training acting like I already knew enough about BU, its services to students, and the campus. But those two weeks, filled with presentations from different departments on campus, countless icebreakers, and 30-minute lunch breaks sitting on the grass outside of the GSU with the warm sun soaking into our skin really resonated with me. I realized the immense power that mentorship has on new students, and I grew close with so many amazing people on campus — people who were involved in endless varieties of clubs, organizations, and groups. Together, we covered so many bases and were trained to be a useful resource for the new students we would be welcoming to campus.

I was one of the younger student advisors. As I had just wrapped up my first year of college, I was worried at first that the smaller age gap between myself and the incoming students would make them feel less inclined to respect me. However, it was actually quite the opposite. They were surprised that I had worked my way up to a leadership role early in my college career, and the small age difference made it easier for us to bond since I had been in their exact position just a year ago.

Photo Credit: Geneve Lau

Of the many heartfelt moments I had this summer, most included students asking where they could find an application to be a student advisor for the following summer.

In short, there are a lot of things that we may question doing at first. At times, we may feel too inadequate to step up for a position. This summer, I undertook over 100 hours of training — six orientation sessions where I often worked from 6 am to 11 pm. There were times when I felt burnt out. There were times when I cried in the back stairwell of the GSU because I felt like I wasn’t giving the students the good experience they deserved. But at the end of the day, I knew I gave it my all, and that these students had nothing to compare their experience to. When I thought I did terribly, I might have been just fine.

Photo Credit: Geneve Lau​


These lessons are ones that I’ll take with me for the rest of my college career, and quite frankly, the rest of my life. What began as a summer job and a way to stay in Boston for the summer ended up helping me grow and shape my character.​


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Geneve is a sophomore studying public relations at Boston University with a minor in business. When she isn't writing, she enjoys exploring Boston and documenting good coffee shops on her @bean_happens account on Instagram.
Writers of the Boston University chapter of Her Campus.