By EDDIE HIGGINBOTHAM
June 24, 2013
“Hail to George Mason, don your GREEN and GOLD…”
That’s the beginning of the “Mason” fight song - the song that runs through my head everyday as I proudly “wear my green and gold” and prepare for another exciting day of orientation!
My summer internship is in the Office of Orientation and Family Programs and Services (OFPS) at George Mason University, located in the suburbs of the nation’s Capitol, Washington, D.C. With the motto, “Where Innovation is Tradition,” George Mason is noted for being one of the most prominent “up and coming” universities in the country. This is clearly evident by its unprecedented growth in enrollment and campus expansion projects in the past few years. What does that have to do with orientation? Everything! This summer, we are serving approximately 2,900 incoming students and their families with over 15 sessions for both transfer students and traditional freshmen.
Working in the Hardee Center with just Dr. Hardee to keep me company, to working in an orientation setting has been a big adjustment to say the least! Per the nature of orientation, the days are long (15 hours+) and unpredictable. What keeps me motivated and going strong? That’s easy! They are a group of the school’s most energetic and influential students who can be found in their infamous green polos – the 2013 Patriot Leader Team. I have the pleasure of working with over 40 diverse and special young men and women from every facet of campus! As we learn and grow together, they have been an endless source of energy and inspiration for me. They serve as a constant reminder of why I am in this field.
I also have the opportunity to work with a very talented professional staff, whose focus on student learning and development is second-to-none! From day one, I have been welcomed with open arms and treated like a valuable member of the OFPS team! They have made every effort to invest in my experience to make sure that it is as beneficial to my future as possible. I knew that I had found a home in OFPS when we took a day off for staff development training and, to my surprise, ended up in an indoor trampoline park. As I became one with my inner 5 year old and dodged getting hit in the face with a ball by the director, I was excited for the summer ahead with these individuals. That trip and others are very telling of the office environment and the emphasis on work-life balance that exists in OFPS. As much as I’ve developed as a professional, I’ve also had more fun than I ever expected.
If you follow me on ANY type of social media, you know that one of my favorite things about interning at George Mason is its proximity to Washington, D.C. Every weekend is a new adventure filled with excitement and mystery. Needless to say, I have never been disappointed. It is simply a magical place. From the mix of culture and politics, fashion and food, landmarks and history, Washington D.C. has provided me with endless opportunities to make my summer one that I will never forget. With just six weeks remaining, I am hopeful and excited for what “the District” will bring!
As I reflect after completing our first week of orientation, I have realized just how formative and enjoyable that this summer has been. Not to mention BUSY! With that said, my heart and mind often leads me back to Tallahassee. There is not a day that goes by that I do not pull from things that I learned in my assistantship or in a class during my first year at Florida State University. There is also not a day where I do not miss my cohort members – not one.
This experience has truly shown me the power of the Florida State experience and the impact that it has had on me personally and professionally. We are given so many wonderful opportunities from our affiliation with the FSU LifeNet, including a renowned educational experience that brings theory to practice. My hope for my peers and future members of the FSU Higher Education Program is that they take full advantage of these opportunities and allow it to transform them into the professional that they are meant to be – changing the world, one student at a time!
I am not only honored, but blessed to be a member of the both the FSU LifeNet and the George Mason Family! I look forward to what the rest of the summer brings and cannot wait to see everyone in the fall!
GO HIGHER ED!