Orientation – for many, it’s the first time they set foot on campus to drink in all the sights and sounds. As CalSO counselors, or Cal Student Orientation counselors, your job is to make sure it isn’t their last. You have to make students – or parents, depending on the group you get – feel welcome, engaged in activities, and wanted on campus, all within the span of a couple days! Sound
impossible? It’s definitely worth a try.
The application comes first, and that’s probably the part that eliminates the majority of contenders. It’s partly because you have to upload PDF documents, and most people don’t know how to make those. Oh, and you also have to write some stuff about why you want to be a counselor… as if no one saw that coming. You also have to acknowledge that you might not get the positi– wait, this is easy!
In spring, you have to take a class for 2 units to prepare yourself for the marathon of students you’ll be greeting during the summer. It’s convenient because you know, you’re probably have exactly nothing to do besides go on Facebook and bump Gangnam Style on Wednesdays from 4-6PM. You’ll get to meet those who love meeting new people just like you do. It’s like a specialized class for a major, since it’ll be considerably smaller than 500 people – except it’s designed to be fun! As part of the class, you have to give up a weekend in late January, when the semester’s barely started and you don’t have anything to worry about. “It requires a lot of time and dedication,” says 2012 counselor Kendall Prohaska, “but in the end it really pays off. The people you get to meet, the family/community you become a part of the, and the transformations you go through are truly priceless.”
If you love the Berkeley area and you’re too scared to tell your parents that you don’t want to spend the whole summer at home, the training session will save you! Right after finals, there’s no need to say goodbye to all of the new friends you’ve made. For two weeks, you get to stay in Northern California and learn how to deal with the eager Freshman that will be coming in droves in just a few months.
Of course, you can’t forget about the orientations themselves. There are a total of 19 of them, and you can be in charge of up to 15 students for each one. You get to be on the other end of all the activities that you did at your CalSo – ignominious icebreakers, time-consuming tours, foot-chauffeuring services, complicated class registration, and powerpoint presentations. Best of all, you get to share a laugh with your fellow counselor as you watch all the newbies attempt to defeat the evil Tele-Bears.
It’s difficult, having to work full weeks and weekends, but how can it not be the best, most fun summer internship out there? “I learned so much about myself, the Cal community, and what it is like to be a leader on Cal’s campus,” points out Prohaska. Meeting tons of new people who are always going to remember you as their CalSo counselor – in a good or bad way is up to you – and bonding with your fellow counselors for months has to be rewarding. You have to deal with your fair share of “vegetarians, republicans… Canadians, and New Yorkers”, but they might grow on you as the weeks go on.
“CalSO made me fall in love with Cal all over again,” says the experienced Prohaska. Applications are due on the 8th, so don’t miss out!
Image source: Uday Mehta, The Daily Cal
No comments yet.