We made it through the first year with all 17 students! This was a year of a lot of growth and learning for everyone. The students have now gone home for the summer and now it is time for us to review the year and begin planning for next year. I am going through my journal and will be posting entries reflecting on the year starting with the first week…
Monday, September 17, 2007
Move in day! Totally crazy, but oddly serene and okay.
Tuesday, September 18th, 2007
I got very little sleep – it hit me while I lay there – there are 16 students in their apartments with their new roommates. I remember being away from home those first few days – lonely, worrying about finding new friends – where to go what to do – and I know that all of them are feeling similar things. Holy crap! We have some part in that and some level of responsibility especially if things go wrong. But the more I hang out with the students the more relaxed I feel. I think they have gelled well and are making connections with their fellow students. I think things are going to be just fine.
First orientation and breakfast over at the Student Activity Center. Went very well, though not enough time to really get into to much. We did a few role play activities to demonstrate some of the rules and that was fun.
In the afternoon, Sumudu and Karen led the group in a “starfish” exercise focused on the students talking about themselves and their view of service. It was very interesting, but by this point I was exhausted and ready to drop. The students too were pretty tired of all the walking and we cut short the campus tour with Maddy.
Later that evening the RAs ordered pizza and had their first meeting with the students to go over some more orientation issues. From all reports that went really well. Logan and Nicole are both really great and are doing a wonderful job.
Wednesday, September 19th, 2007
Things have been better than imagined, sure there have been hiccups, but I expected that. Those things have been minor and we have just gone with things.
I have some comfort that we have made it to this point – we have reached a significant plateau – now we need to deliver on our promises and expectations. We need to make sure we are moving forward and not just resting on our success. We don’t want to recreate what already exists – we want to create something more…something that is harder to achieve.
The students had breakfast on their own and then came down in small groups to do their academic advising. This for me was the real highlight of the week. The students were so excited about taking classes and we talked about a huge range of things – their roommates, what electives they want to take, their expectations for the next two years. It was great, and I could hardly contain my excitement. Lauren especially – she was so excited about taking dance classes it was infectious.
Thursday, September 20th, 2007
We met at the Sunset Canyon Recreation Center to do some group activities with Jamie Hoffman (UCLA Recreation). It was great. We did 90 minutes of games aimed at getting to know on another and build a team. The students had a great time. We had lunch delivered and then some folks went to get their Bruin cards and meal plans while the rest swam. This arrangement worked quite well and eased the burden of the big group a bit.
Getting the Bruin cards was really a great experience. I think even the folks at the center were touched by how proud our students were of getting the cards.
We then went around the corner and everyone got their meal plans taken care of and now the students are official!