A few Pitzer graduates from the class of 2015 who combined to lead 7 Orientation Adventure (OA) trips wanted to share their insights and experiences with the incoming class in order to prepare and excite you for this experience!
If you’re not already excited for OA placements…you totally should be! How cool is it that your first task at Pitzer is to go and bond with a group of fellow first years and leaders at some cool location in Southern California. You arrive for move-in day, meet your suitemates, say goodbye to the fam and BAM, you wake up early in the morning and get bussed (or shipped) to the beach for a few days of surfing, to Catalina Island for krazy kayaking, the San Gabriel Mountains for some backpacking action, Huerta del Valle for sustainable farming, or downtown Los Angeles to sample the best food the city has to offer. Regardless of what trip you’re on, everyone is ensured an OA group of 10-15 first years and 3-5 leaders that quickly becomes the first family you have at Pitzer. While some connections are made through shared sunrise hikes, memories of wiping out from a particularly strong wave, or through one of numerous slightly embarrassing and often times revealing ice-breakers, the bottom line is that everyone bonds through the similarity of being in a new place surrounded by new faces. By the end of the 4th day, you realize you’ve grown close with people that you barely met and have established potentially long lasting relationships. Then you come back to campus and not only do you have some new homies, you have campus to yourself with a plethora of Orientation activities to explore.
Although participating as a first year is fun, I don’t think it gets more rewarding than being an OA leader. Most students who choose to lead an OA do so because they want the incoming class to receive the same amount of support that they received during their OA. Your OA Leaders become some of the first mentors you meet at Pitzer; the first ones where you can ask “so tell me what it’s ACTUALLY like at Pitzer”. And believe me, OA leaders love to spill the beans and tell you all about what Pitzer has to offer. All leaders arrive a week before the trips to head out and participate in a weeklong training to ensure that we create an open and inclusive environment and especially to make sure everyone stays safe, fed, and stimulated. The OA coordinators and leaders put in a lot of time and effort to make sure that this experience is one that you wont forget, and hopefully makes the college transition process a bit easier to navigate. So know that your OA leaders are just as excited to meet you all and share this adventure together. The Orientation Adventure program epitomizes the Pitzer community, and you will soon find that there is an incredible number of people on campus that want to start your Pitzer adventure with a bang!
Oh, AND everyone gets a cool NALGENE and TSHIRT!! Get pumped!
-Andy B, Stephen M, and Tyler C
The following is a short interview with one of this year’s Orientation Adventure coordinators, Tyler.
What is your role as an OA coordinator?
My role as OA coordinator involves working on a team with two other coordinators and a supervisor to take into account what the OA program has done in the past in order to design and put together this year’s program. I am personally taking care of food for all of the trips, along with paying extra close attention to the surfing, beach camping, local outdoors, and camp Pitzer trips.
What has been the most surprising/fun part of this process so far?
The most surprising and fun part of this process has been the mixture of autonomy in terms of being able to put a personal touch on the work I’m doing. Also just the great people I work with.
As an OA veteran, what’s some advice you have for the incoming Pitzer class?
As an OA vet, my advice for the class of 2019 is to relax your mind and relish in the specialness of your time on the trip. Keep an open mind because everyone you’re meeting is new and even if you judge them now, most people are about to change a lot over the next four years.
If you lean towards the YouTube variety, check out the OA Prelude to Pitzer video here:
Posted by Andy Buitron ’15 and Stephen Moser ’15