For Courtney Hayes, a senior early childhood education major, serving as an Orientation Leader has been a constructive experience during her college career.
“My first year as an Orientation Leader has been pretty smooth,” Hayes said. “A lot of other things that I did on campus, such as being a Diplomat, prepared me to be an Orientation Leader.”
Hayes said she initially started her journey at FMU as a pre-nursing major, so she felt comfortable assisting students who wanted to pursue the same major as her.
During summer orientations, Hayes said she was placed with pre-nursing students most of the time because of this, but she also spent time with the student’s parents. She said her favorite part about being an Orientation Leader was her interactions with parents.
When Hayes was with the parents, she said her role was to attend the breakout sessions with them. During these sessions, parents asked Hayes and other Orientation Leaders questions about the university and about each of their individual experiences at FMU.
“I got to meet a lot of different parents,” Hayes said. “A lot of them motivated me to continue being an Orientation Leader and motivated me as far as graduation. Some of these students were first generation college students, and the parents were more excited than the students were. I love to see the students have support.”
Stephanie Bosch, coordinator of orientation and admissions events, said the students frequently complimented Hayes throughout the summer, but the parents complimented her more.
“She has a very outgoing and kind personality,” Bosch said. “She always wants to help and makes sure every student and parent leaves with their questions answered.”
Bosch said to become an Orientation Leader students must apply through the Office of Orientation in the Stokes Administration Building. Once students are selected, they go through an interview process which helps select Orientation Leaders.
“It’s a lot of work and the days are long,” Bosch said. “When we have our overnight orientation events, Orientation Leaders work for two days straight. Without these students facilitating the orientation process, we would not have enough hands to do everything. Our Orientation Leaders are crucial to the success of our summer orientations.”
Hayes said she was initially rejected as an Orientation Leader when she first applied, but that motivated her even more to become one.
“I was excited about being an OL because I was a first-generation student and I wanted to make sure that the experience I had as a first-year student was given to other students.”
Franny Robinson, admissions counselor, served as Hayes’ Orientation Leader when Hayes was an incoming freshman. Hayes credits Robinson as the person who inspired her to be an Orientation Leader.
Hayes said after graduation, she plans to stay local for a few years to teach in Florence. She said she plans to go back to school to receive her master’s degree with the hope of becoming a principal one day.