Florida State University's Westcott building

The Inside Scoop on What It's Like To Be an Orientation Leader

After undergoing an intense and competitive application process, junior Emily Delemos became an orientation leader for the class of 2024. To kick off the operation, Emily participated in a group interview in which she and fellow contenders were analyzed for a multitude of qualities, but most notably, for their ability to interact with a team. After successfully making it past the group interview, Emily was then given an individual interview where she was further evaluated on her leadership and teamwork skills. 

“Orientation leaders are all about being a team. There is no ‘I’ in a team is something that we consistently say. From being an OL, I was able to see FSU from a different aspect, rather than just as a student but also as someone working for the school. I wanted to give people the same experience that I had.”

Emily’s mastery of information regarding school facts and trivia extends far beyond that of your average student. “Being an orientation leader, you have to know the in-and-outs of FSU, you have to know the dates, the birthday and just about everything.”

For bright-eyed college freshmen and transfer students, their first glimpse into the charisma and charm of FSU comes to them from interactions with their orientation leader as they are the initial impression of the student body. With this comes not only a great deal of pride, but also responsibility because orientations leaders must have extensive knowledge about all things FSU. 

“Leading up to our sessions we did go through a rigorous process in the spring semester. One course that we took in the spring was called leadership development experience. It was a three-hour-long class every Wednesday where we learned all that there is to know about being a leader and different leadership theories .”

Considering that this year’s incoming students were not able to experience an in-person orientation due to the coronavirus, leaders had to be even more informed and well-versed than in prior years to convey the on-campus experience in a virtual setting. To enhance her knowledge of school trivia, Emily and her fellow orientation leaders took part in a training camp on campus before the government shutdown. “We spoke to every single resource on campus from Health and Wellness, the Leach, Advising First, Campus Police and even the Den workers. We had to know everything to be able to tell the students what it was gonna be like.”  

While having the ability to win at FSU trivia is a pretty amazing skill to have, it’s merely one of the many benefits that came about from Emily’s experience as an orientation leader. “For us, being an orientation leader is about all these characteristics and all these personalities meddling together to form a team. Whether you like it or not, you are working together under contract for a year or more. It’s silly to say but these people do become not just your friends but your family.” 

Despite the seemingly boundless responsibilities and duties that orientations leaders have, Emily manages to tackle it all while still finding the joy within her experiences and encounters with her students. “Just being that familiar face for students and having some still talk and ask me for to this day I think is probably the most rewarding thing that comes from being an orientation leader.” 

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