First-Year Preview Staffer: Omarley Spence

Name: Omarley Spence
Age: 18
Year: freshman
Major(s): biology and political science

Her Campus: What motivated you to apply to be a Preview Staffer for the Class of 2020?
Omarley Spence: “Honestly, coming into my own Preview, I was really unsure of myself. It’s not that I didn’t think I was good enough. It’s just that I doubted if I would succeed at the University of Florida because I came from a small high school with a very small number of students, and when I realized that UF was such a huge school with so many intelligent and ambitious students, I was just not sure if I would be able to shine. That lowered my confidence level. However, as I went through Preview, I was very impacted by my Preview Staffer, who took the time to sit down with me and help me with that transition. I continue to keep in good contact with her throughout my freshman year because she made such an amazing impact on me. I myself am very service-oriented, and I wanted to make that same impact. I wanted to do for another freshman what my Preview Staffer did for me. That is my big motivation to join the Preview Team, and I am so blessed to have the opportunity to do it so early on in my college career.”

HC: How did you react when you found out you had been chosen?
OS: “Oh, this is great. I was actually in the Reitz Union eating lunch when the announcements came out. I was very nervous because I had gone through three rounds of interviews, and by the third interview I was skeptical because it wasn’t the best in my eyes. I did not think I would get it. I kept telling myself not to check because I wasn’t going to get it. I finally got the nerve to check my email. I opened up my laptop and saw the 'Congratulations!' I was just so ecstatic. There is not one word that could describe it. I quickly packed up my lunch, didn’t even finish eating and ran to the Plaza of the Americas. That’s where they had the announcement party where all the old Preview Staffers welcomed us in. That was a really great afternoon — the perfect ending to the crazy rollercoaster ride that was the application process.”

HC: As a first-year student, what do you hope to gain from this new experience?
OS: “It’s weird being a freshman Preview Staffer. The other freshmen and I feel that, you know, we were just in those shoes, and now just a few months later we are going to be the actual Staffers, the role models of incoming freshmen. This spring semester I will be trained on every aspect of UF, and I hope to gain a greater understanding of everything the university has to offer.”

HC: What are you most anxious about as you prepare for the summer?
OS: “I’m anxious about finding the confidence within myself to be that role model. In my own Preview, the Staffers I came into contact with were all upperclassmen doing great things on campus, acting as true leaders who I really looked up to as an incoming freshman. The idea that people will look up to me makes me the most nervous because I need to know how I can make myself an individual that someone aspires to be like. I need to bring myself to that level.”

HC: What experiences prepared you to take on this challenge as a freshman?
OS: “I first started applying to Preview in November, and I arrived to UF during Summer B, so that’s not a long period of time, but I definitely gained a lot of leadership experience. In September I joined the Impact Party with Student Government for the Senate elections, and that process was very crazy, very intimidating, but I stood up to the challenge and gained my seat in Senate. It served as an environment where I could connect with other upperclassmen leaders, learn from their leadership skills and become more connected on campus. Another thing that allowed me to branch out and become a leader on campus was the Freshman Leadership Council. It impacted me because it taught me not only leadership skills, but also professional skills, interview skills and presentation skills. With these organizations, I have learned so much in just a few short months. They have built me into someone who is equipped with the skills to be able to spread the knowledge that was given to me and to offer guidance to incoming freshmen.”

Photo courtesy of Omarley Spence