Hannah Xavier (second from right) and members of the 2016 Squad Leader team.
Coming to UBC fresh out of high school can be an overwhelming experience. I had decided not to visit UBC before applying, and when I arrived, I was in shock at how many people there were on campus. I remember attending Imagine Day and being in the stadium for the pep rally with all the other first years in 2013, and could not believe my eyes at the sheer number of us. Every single seat was filled and there were groups of students seated on the floor!
After attending my first few classes, I was still overwhelmed. I was not used to being in classes with over 200 people, and on top of that, most of the people in my classes weren’t even from my faculty. In fact, I would introduce myself to people in class or in my residence, sharing that I was in the Faculty of Land and Food Systems, and many of my peers did not even know what it was. Needless to say, it was an overwhelming experience.
I spent my first term adjusting to my new academic environment and getting to know people in my classes and residence. It wasn’t until my second semester that I began exploring ways to get involved with LFS. It started slowly by going to faculty events like Wednesday Night Dinners, and in January I learned about being an Orientation Leader from the weekly LFS Newsletter. I got really excited about applying; I wanted to help incoming first years feel like they were part of a strong, supportive community. I had learned through my own experience that the first introduction to UBC and LFS on Imagine Day is really important and that I could help new students overcome their sense of feeling overwhelmed as I had.
With this motivation in the back of my mind, I applied for a position as an LFS Orientations Leader and I got it! It was awesome to go through the training days and being able to meet so many my LFS peers who had a lot a similar enthusiasm for our school and faculty just like me. I felt really prepared for Imagine Day after going through the different training activities and when the day finally came I was beyond excited. I was able to facilitate new relationships within my group of first year students and it is my hope that I was able to help them all feel supported and connected to UBC and to LFS.
I have now been part of Orientations for going on three years and it has been so great to be there for my peers, contribute to my community, and to continue to build on existing skills and learn new ones that I’ll use in the future. Through my role as an Orientation Leader I truly feel a deeper connection to UBC and LFS and have been able to instill a feeling of belonging and community to new students. If students are looking for a way to get involved on campus, I highly recommend applying for an Orientation Leader position within their faculty. It is a rewarding experience that allows for you support your peers and helps grow a sense of community at UBC.
– Hannah Xavier, 3rd year FNH
Apply to be an Orientations Leader today. Applications close on January 31st.