But I still have class…

The “adult world” can be a scary but rewarding place. It’s full of bills, paychecks, a 401K, deductibles, goals, advancements, bosses, coworkers, caffeine and rewards. It’s overwhelming but worth the stress; at least that’s what I’ve been told. While my once closest campus confidants graduate and learn about their health insurance plans, I prepare to buy my books and sit through my last semester of college. “Enjoy college while you can” is what last year’s graduates say, “I can’t wait to start my job” is what the more recent graduates say. Who am I supposed to listen to?

As I walk around campus I know I’m going to miss every part of it. From the burn mark on the side of Warriner Hall to the construction zone on east campus that will soon be the biosciences building. I’ll miss the hot days when your backpack causes you to sweat just a little bit more and the cold days when you pray that if you do slip, no one is around to see you. I’ll miss the professors, the library, the learning and of course the people. I’ll miss the late nights and early mornings. This intense fear of missing any and every moment has caused an irrational fear of missing out (FOMO). I have to pick and choose what to do I can and cannot do. Screen Shot 2016-01-07 at 8.28.15 PMWithin the last year I’ve struggled as the people who were my usual “go to people” threw on their cap and gowns, walked across stage (they walk up in two lines and either go to the left or the right, there actually isn’t a stage for them) and switch their tassel from right to left. I watched as they moved away from the safety of Mount Pleasant, became full time employees and took on the responsibilities of being an adult. I began to struggle with the issues that arose in my life because the difference in getting an A or an A- is no where near the struggle for paying bills and working over 40 hours a week. My complaints of making a latte or calling an alumni for a donation were no where the struggles of preparing to travel again for work or presenting to a team of investors. I began to feel inferior when their work friends asked “what do you do?” and my response of “I’m a student” was suddenly uncommon. I was the one putting extra pressure on myself as a student. I started to believe that being a student wasn’t enough. Some how I began to down play the 18+ credits I was enrolled in (at one point dual enrolled), the multiple leadership roles I had obtained on campus, the two campus jobs I was working and the social life I still maintained. I began to forget about the nights where you think studying will never end and the mornings you think the sun will never rise. I ignored the nights where I stayed up all night with my roommates, some of which are now the people off being real world adults, talking about our goals and dreams. Though I found the secret to getting over my personal criticism of “what does being a college student really mean?” I still haven’t conquered the heart pains of losing some of my closest confidants.Screen Shot 2016-01-07 at 10.19.08 PMAs I take on this next semester, with the remaining close friends I have, I have to enjoy the little moments with them too. I have to focus on them and our last college moments together. We will always have more moments together, but they won’t be spent in my sorority house living room, or jokes between phone calls at work. They won’t be those quick catch ups in between classes or standing outside before a meeting starts. They won’t be Bird Thursday’s at 4pm or Monday mornings moaning about starting the week, even it it is noon. We will start having experiences of attending our friends weddings and seeing each other’s first apartment outside the Mount Pleasant city limits. We’ll create new memories together while laughing about the old ones. We will have new favorite restaurants, bars, TV shows to binge watch together and friends to make memories with. I guess in the long run it’s actually pretty amazing. I’m lucky enough to continue my relationships, whether they’re on or off campus.

11138540_10206631755455757_2729649916087612000_nI have no more than to say: thank you for being a piece of my life and I love you a whole lot.

Welcome To CMU

11350431_10153325498127866_5464017373766886692_nThis summer close to 4,000 incoming freshmen and transfer students meandered onto campus, followed closely by their family members to experience their first Central Michigan University (CMU) orientation. Over the summer 36 student and family mentors worked closely with professional campus staff members to coordinate 11 orientation sessions. Orientation consists of educational sessions for both students and family members. Family members learn about financial aid, campus life, the bookstore, safety and eat lunch at a residential restaurant. Students schedule classes, meet with advisors, receive their student ID and discover places where they can get involved on campus. The day ends with Reunion Central. This is the time family members take full advantage of this time to ask questions, explore, make phone calls to find the entire family and eat ice cream cones.

10407973_10153325498842866_2925108577260570278_nI spent my four weeks of orientation working with the family team. What does it mean to be a family academic orientation mentor? This means I had the opportunity to work closely with the family members that decided to take the trip to Mount Pleasant for the day. I met the fathers who feared that their daughters might meet a boy on campus. I met the mothers who asked where their sons would get their laundry done. I met the first time parents along with the second, third, fourth and fifth timers. I met the parents of twins, the parents of adopted children, the family members who weren’t their parents and the parents who had graduated “not that long ago” from CMU. For some family members this was their first time visiting Mount Pleasant and for others they had spent the day before exploring campus so they knew where every building on campus already was. I had family members that could give my tour and family members that had stories to tell about their off campus experiences. I had the good, the bad, the funny and the fast walkers. This truly was the experience of a lifetime. I would never trade the experience of being an Academic Orientation mentor, even for all the khaki pants in the world.


A Day In the Life of an Academic Orientation Mentor

5:15 am: First alarm goes off; snooze is hit shortly after and repeatedly.

5:30 am: You mutter “let’s go” and roll out of your twin bed.

6:45 am: Everyone reports for breakfast downstairs. During the walk to residential restaurant, you pray they will be serving “tri-tators” this time.

7:00 am: Daily morning meeting with Michelle Howard, the director of academic orientation. This meeting included numbers for the day, weather, daily awards and of course the moon phase.

7:30 am: Clean-up and head to our various starting locations on campus.

8:00 am: Registration, welcoming eyes, smiling faces and groups begin to form.

9:05 am: Meet my group of family members for the day.

9:30 am: Programming begins.

12:00 pm: The best part of the family member’s day: LUNCH!

4:00 pm: Reunion Central begins. Family members and students reconnect, catch up on their days and indulge on the provided snacks.

4:30 pm: The best part of the mentor’s day: DINNER! This time is spent catching up, sharing stories from the day and stuffing our faces after another day on the sunny Mount Pleasant streets.