Pop, lock and SOC it: summer orientations begin

During the 2019 summer orientation, students were given more time before advising so that faculty could have more time to meet with new students and advise them. Student Orientation Counselors (SOCs) work with incoming students to ease the transition into college life.

SOCs are all Washburn students. They have different majors, hometowns, different involvement and experiences on campus.

“We try to find a lot of different types of students…But essentially, we want to find people that just want to be helpers. They want to support those incoming students,” said Carissa Johnson, the director of the Student Transition And Family Engagement. “A lot of times, they reference back to their experiences of their orientation experience, or things that they wish they would have known… all those types of thoughts and feelings.”

The goal of student orientation is to help new students transition from being a prospective student to being an actual Washburn student.

“The cool thing about orientation is that it’s a lot of things for a lot of people. But essentially, it’s helping them transitioning successfully,” explained Johnson. “My mission, for example, is that new student orientation will help the students be prepared with crucial information for a successful transition for their first year at Washburn… The orientation is supposed to provide them the opportunity to meet with current students, faculty and staff, learn the expectations of the academic setting, and then, register for their first semester course.”

Students can benefit a lot from being a SOC.

“My biggest philosophy about student employment on campus is that they gain something that they can use for the future… I really want to teach them about teamwork, about being a great team member. I want to teach them about how to have customer service skills. So how do you stay calm under pressure in the middle of an orientation day. I am teaching them information literacy,” explained Johnson.

“I am also teaching them a lot about identities that students and families come in with… We are talking a lot about social justice and advocating for students… Making sure that they know whoever walks through our doors or orientation, we are going to accept them, we are going to serve them, because that’s what our role is to do.”

Brianna Bradshaw, senior history major and anthropology minor, is a SOC for the 2019 summer orientations.

“This is one of the greatest opportunities I have been given to me through the university. (Being one of the SOCs), I feel like getting closer to my community here at Washburn, and telling coming students about my story, my experience, helping them on a path that can be successful,” stated Bradshaw.

“I am extremely proud of our team. They really came out of the woodwork as being wonderful teammates to each other. I can’t wait to see how they continue to grow over the summer,” said Johnson.

Edited by Adam White, Joelle Conway