Hey Boxers! Welcome back to another year at Pacific!  Having just finished up another very successful Freshmen Orientation (my 3rd!), I really wanted to give a shout out to my fellow Ambassadors and make sure that everyone knows how lucky we are to have such an intensive Orientation program and an amazing group of students running it.

One of my duties at one of my jobs is to research other schools and their “Orientation” processes.  Having poured through virtual page after virtual page of university website after university website, I have developed a healthy respect and genuine appreciation for the amount of time and effort Pacific and its many student volunteers put into welcoming incoming freshmen.  It really is comparatively extensive.  We all know that leaving for college is a scary and exciting experience.  We’ve all been there.  So much is changing for these kids and Pacific goes the extra mile to make the transition as smooth and useful as possible.

Few schools do anything to really introduce new students to the campus, let alone provide them with a working knowledge of the university’s facilities, special programs, and student life.  The Orientation team and the Ambassadors here provide freshmen and transfer students with all that and more!  They go above and beyond to educate students about where to go for help of every kind, get them involved in the community through the “Sprucing the Grove” project, and more importantly serve as familiar friendly faces for the freshmen during their first few weeks.

It’s hard to explain the amount of work that goes in to making Orientation an effective and (more importantly) fun experience for the 400+ new students.  Let me break it down for you.  The 48 Boxer Ambassadors show up a week before the start of school to attend intensive training.  For three days these students work morning to evening learning how to be better leaders, getting to know each-other, soaking up information about Pacific and its resources, setting up tables and such for Orientation events, and practicing, practicing, practicing for the Real World performance.  And that’s all before the freshmen arrive.  The next four days are spent showing these students the ropes, doing community service with them, moving them in and so much more.  And then there’s all the work that goes in before the Ambassadors return to campus: communicating with PODlings, memorizing scripts, etc.  Additionally, Orientation is essentially planned by student leaders.  This year’s student leaders, Tyler Oshira, Sarah Flinn, Jessica Kirsey and Stephanie Struble, put in hundreds of hours to make Orientation an unforgettable experience for both the Ambassadors and the freshmen!  There is so much dedication from so many students.  Really, the amount of work these kids put in is unfathomable.

But the rewards are so worth the crazy amount of work and time put in by everyone involved.  And that is why there are so many returners every year.  There are a ton of reasons to get involved with Orientation next year.  First of all, you get to spend a week telling a group of new Boxers exactly why you love Pacific, which, if you’re anything like me is a cherished hobby.  You also pick up a lot of tips about the university that you probably never knew before but will prove to be very useful to you.  On top of that, Orientation is just a ton of fun.  A lot of the time is dedicated to playing games and surprise events.  Of course, there’s also Real World; everyone’s favorite part of Orientation.  It’s hard work, but it’s a riot!

But, in my opinion, the most compelling reason to volunteer your time to Orientation is clear:  the students represented in the Ambassadors experience a camaraderie rare among such a diverse and large group.  As an Ambassador, you get to meet and interact with people from every corner of Pacific’s student life.  Athletes, musicians, historians, sociologists, scientists, Greeks…not one group goes un-represented.  And spending a week straight with these people bonds you to them in a strong way.  You’re up at dawn together dancing and moving freshmen in; you’re working on community service projects with them, getting together to team-build with them, and rehearsing ‘til the wee morning hours with them.  You end the week having met, not only dozens of new freshmen but also a significant portion of the Pacific community.

I guess the point is we should all feel really lucky that Pacific and the Boxer Ambassadors annually dedicate so much of their time to providing an effective and fun transitional program to help ease the freshmen into college life and more specifically, welcome them to Pacific.  I think the students and staff of Pacific should recognize and appreciate all the individuals involved in this unique and important process and I encourage new freshmen and returning Boxers to take advantage of the opportunity offered by the Orientation program to lead and learn.

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