“Orientation is one of the most vital college experiences a student will ever have as it initializes the connection between the university and the student for the next four years,” the wise words of Orientation Peer Assistant, Desiree Frederick.
Orientation Peer Assistants facilitate the orientation sessions for new and transferring students and aid with the registration process for international students during their orientation. The Department of New Student and Family Programs usually organizes a two-day orientation program in the summer designed to teach students about university resources, complete course advertisement and registration while allowing the students to socialize and break the ice amongst themselves.
Frederick, a senior majoring in Psychology, was more than excited to be an OPA a second time around.
“The first time I was a bit anxious, but this being my second year I felt more calm and relaxed, plus I had my colleagues, the OPA family as we call it, behind me every step of the way,” said Frederick.
Frederick’s curiosity in the job and interest that grew from conversing with individuals that were already OPA’s led her to a last minute application just in the nick of time and luckily she got the job. She applied for the job because she enjoys working with other students and wanted to ease the transition for students from high school to college.
“As OPA’s we work solely with local students that have been accepted to Minnesota State Mankato, promoting a positive image of the campus while create lasting connections between and with the new entering students,” Frederick goes on to say.
Her exuberant personality and amazing charm are truly spectacular, bound to lighten up one’s day in less than a minute. Frederick already had a job as a tour guide for the school; therefore, she already a good understanding of the University.
“I believe I bring a strong sense of leadership along with being outgoing and positive to the OPA team,” Frederick said.
Communication is key when trying to convey messages to groups of people, and even though Frederick has a very powerful voice, she has learnt the importance of the effect that words can have on an individual. Being an OPA has made her more conscious of the tone she uses and the manner in which she conveys messages.
“It is a lot of pressure knowing that you are in control of shaping future Mavericks opinions and attitudes towards the campus through the orientation sessions,” Frederick says. “My co-workers and I want to help create a sense of belonging and comfort for the students during their brief time on campus before they actually begin their four-year journey.”
Some of the benefits and perks Frederick mentions about being an OPA is that one is able to work in a positive, loving and motivating environment. She also says that the connection between her coworkers turns into a special friendship, and the relationships one creates with the new entering students is something that can last throughout their entire college experience.
Frederick remembers a student that she orientated in her first year and he was so amazed by the magnificent job the OPA’s were doing. The student joined the OPA family this year, inspiring Frederick as she felt that she acted as a role model for the student.
The OPA job can be challenging at times since always being in a cheerful mood can be difficult and dealing with people tends to be overwhelming sometimes. Frederick relies on exercise to keep her nerves calm, her favorite form being yoga. Frederick also instructs a yoga class that meets on Mondays and Wednesdays on campus.
Frederick says that it is a privileged to be an OPA and usher in new Mavericks into the college system. She highly recommends the job to anyone as you get to learn essential skills like leadership, time management and effective communication skills.
“The OPA job may have long hours but it is one of the most rewarding jobs I have had so far,” Frederick said.
Frederick is a remarkable individual who not only sees the best in individuals but also tends to bring it out; she is without a doubt an exceptional example of the Maverick spirit.