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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

READY FOR ’DEIS? The Hoot takes a look at orientation through the eyes of Core

Published: September 2, 2011
Section: Features

As the new Brandeis students anxiously checked into their new living spaces, they undoubtedly had many thoughts and concerns. New-student orientation can indeed be a stressful time for any new college student. As they hurried to establish friends, it is possible that some also noticed how much work went into making sure that orientation went as smoothly as possible. If the new Brandeisians wondered who they should thank, they can start with this year’s Orientation Core Committee.

Although Orientation began Aug. 29, the members of Core began planning in January. The first step was finding the Core coordinator. Rachel Nelson ’13, a past Orientation Leader, applied and after a rigorous application process, which involved creating a mock training schedule and several interviews, Nelson was chosen to be this year’s Core coordinator. She then helped pick the rest of the Core Committee.

Preparation for orientation began before the spring semester was even over. Once the Core Committee was picked, they still had to hire the OLs which took up most of the semester. A total of 120 OLs were chosen. Each Core member was then put in charge of different programs, such as International Orientation, Waltham Food Night and different skits.

“Basically, we all fought for the programs we wanted,” Nelson said.

As the summer started, the Core Committee moved into a five-person Charles River apartment and commenced the final preparation process. While living together could have raised tension among the Core members, these five coworkers instead began to feel more like a family.

“I consider all four girls on Core like my sisters. Sometimes tensions are high, but every family has it’s disagreements,” Core Committee member Max Goldstein ’13 said.

On a given day, the Core members would have to answer a number of e-mails and phone calls from concerned parents of new students, plan their individual programs and make preparations for move-in day. Eating candy from the surrounding offices or taking fun pictures on Photo Booth were also part of the daily routine.

While Brandeis becomes quite empty and quiet during the summer time, Core members still made sure to have a good time. Besides making daily trips to Einstein Bros. Bagels or conversing on the Great Lawn, Core members also made sure to explore the rest of Massachusetts. They visited neighboring beaches, spent time with local friends and family, and grew accustomed to Massachusetts’ public transportation.

Although it was difficult to ensure that every aspect of orientation would run according to plan, the Core members were not too worried.

“We can ensure that everything runs smoothly by trusting our Orientation Leaders and their abilities,” Core Committee member Elana Rueven ’13 said. “It is also partially knowing that it is impossible for things to work perfectly so you must roll with the punches.”

Perhaps the biggest challenge Core members had to overcome was rescheduling orientation around Hurricane Irene. Orientation was originally planned to begin Sunday, Aug. 28. After Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick declared a state of emergency, however, orientation was postponed until Monday. While certain activities were also put on hold, others unfortunately had to be canceled.

Overall, Core members viewed their summer as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

“[Core is] kind of like skydiving,” Nelson said, “it’s awesome, you love it … but you would never do it again.” But Nelson would certainly recommend the experience to any interested student. While Core was a great way to improve one’s leadership skills, according to Nelson, it also proved rewarding as the pieces of orientation fell into place.

“… The best part is seeing all of the Orientation Leaders and eventually the first-years move in and seeing all of the programs we dreamed of months ago actually happening,” Rueven explained.