Follow the Leader

Reflections on Orientation

Orientation at Puget Sound is the ultimate bonding experience. Immersive adventures like backpacking the Olympic Peninsula and canoeing the Hood Canal (Passages) and exploring music, art, and community service in Tacoma (Perspectives) have brought about life-changing moments for generations of Loggers. At the heart of it all are student orientation leaders who guide new students through this major transition into college life, and have some wisdom to share.

Orientation 2017

My own Passages experience was an overnight backpacking trip led by two fiercely cool and determined women. One was a total free spirit, and the other was on top of everything logistical and mechanical. Despite their opposite personalities, they worked extremely well together, and my Passages experience was the powerful and transformative one that all leaders hope to facilitate.  The big takeaway from leading Passages  is that very different people can find ways to work together and collaborate. Groups of 12 strangers go off into the woods at first having very little to talk about, and come back laughing and sharing stories. I hope to take this lesson into the real world as I navigate new work and social environments.
Hannah Gould ’18

I remember orientation being very overwhelming, but as soon as I started getting to know more people, I became a bit more comfortable with being away from home. As a Perspectives leader, I think I was able to create that space where incoming students could be vulnerable with each other. Both of my maroon and white groups bonded really well. Now I see them eating together and hanging out. It’s really great to see how much they’ve become part of our community within just a few weeks. 
Ivin Yu ’19

If college were a movie, orientation would be the opening scene where the protagonist has just moved to a new city and has no idea what they’re doing. As orientation leaders, we act as friendly guides through a confusing maze of newness and uncertainty. As a freshman, I felt the pressure to explore everything. I wish someone had taken me away from the bustling crowd to tell me that stillness can be an excellent complement to motion. As a leader, I had the opportunity to do that for my group. My advice to them was, ‘Give yourself time to figure yourself out in this new space.’ I watched each member of my group sit up a bit taller and breathe a little deeper.
Elena Fulton ’19