Nov. 28, 2012
Junior midfielder Nicole Schuster spent the summer of 2012 in Chestnut Hill. The Doylestown, Pa., native was chosen during a rigorous progress to be a freshman orientation leader. She wrote about her experience below.
For as long as I can remember, I spent every summer playing field hockey. This past summer, however, I broke my streak of playing sports and hung up my stick to embark on a different job as an orientation leader at Boston College. Although I did not use my field hockey skills to be successful at my new job, I gained a lot from my experience as an OL that I have applied to various parts of my life.
The application process began in January and did not conclude until April. After completing the application and several rounds of interviews, I was ecstatic when I received my invitation to be an OL last summer. Even though the experience would be unlike anything I'd ever done before, I wanted to accept it. Little did I know my choice would be a life-changing decision.
My journey began in May when the orientation staff went on a retreat and completed a ropes course to build our bond as orientation leaders. After our retreat, we had two weeks of intense training on how to accurately facilitate a group and how to be a good role model for the freshmen. To ensure our knowledge about BC, we met with almost every organization at the university ranging from President Fr. Leahy to the BC Bookstore.
Throughout the summer, I led five groups of incoming freshmen through the three-day orientation program. I also held various discussions ranging from social choices to diversity in college, which also opened my eyes to various perspectives and beliefs. When I was not leading my groups, I ate meals with families from all over the country and world, presented a speech about my BC story to an assembly full of parents, and had my first acting debut in educational and social skits.
From the retreat in May, I knew I was surrounded by some of the best people at Boston College. The orientation leaders and staff come from different backgrounds and have various passions; however, we share a common love for BC. Even though the sessions were long and tiring, I always had a smile on my face and loved every second of it because of the amazing people who surrounded me. Not only did I make 42 amazing friends, but I also made great friendships with administrators, whom I look up to as role models. The relationships I made this summer are ones I know will last much longer than my four years at the Heights. Everyone I met allowed me to develop into my true self.
Public speaking used to be big fear of mine, but after getting up front of an assembly full of parents for an open question-and-answer session, engaging in great conversations with freshmen and their families and even acting in front of every member of the class of 2016 , my feat was shattered. My confidence and leadership skills improved as I grew as a public speaker and gained confidence, both in the classroom and as a vocal teammate.
My decision to be an orientation leader was one of the best choices I have made while at BC. The lessons I learned, the life long friendships I have made, my growth in maturity and confidence and my role as a mentor and leader have forever changed my life.
This past summer has allowed me to grow into a mature, confident young woman. More importantly, however, being an OL has allowed me to become a better role model both on and off the field hockey field.