What has 2000 legs and is heavy enough that when it parties, Karrie-Ann Loh has to scramble to the podium and shout at it to stop jumping? The 2018 batch of J1’s. Orientation has finally come to a close after four draining days. Comfort zones were out of the question and self-consciousness became a thing of the past as the J1’s were forced to sing, dance and mingle with new faces in unfamiliar places.
Going into orientation this year as an OGL was equally as novel. Forced to cheer – not as a face in the crowd – but as one the crowd faces was a completely new experience for me. If my comfort zone were a cute sweater from Brandy Melville then cheering in front of crowds was a massive gym-frequenting muscle man—in that the latter very obviously did not belong in the former.
Constantly meeting new people also proved to be a mammoth task for me. As it was, leaving a good impression on people was already hard enough. But when you represent the school as an OGL, first impressions suddenly become that much more important because you now not only represent yourself but all the other OGL’s and the entire school, essentially. It’s a lot to consider within the first few seconds of meeting someone.
Being an OGL also means being a role model to the new students. But there were times when I felt borderline schizophrenic switching between the voices of friendship and authority. You’re having to constantly remind yourself that you’re in charge of these students and responsible for their safety while also keeping in mind that they’re really only one year younger than you and probably as mature. Interactions between OGLs and the new J1s look and feel almost like banter between friends, but when the times comes the OGL must learn to put down his/her foot, firmly. For me, this proved to be the hardest aspect of being an OGL. My typically avuncular nature lends itself to making friends quick and easy but makes it so that commanding respect and authority become, quite frankly, a challenge.
And then there was nothing. After orientation night where the last laughs were laughed, last hugs hugged and last cheers cheered, all of us returned to the monotony of everyday school life. Lectures and tutorials came to replace OG time and cheers. Spontaneously bursting into dance was suddenly strange and deemed “inappropriate behavior”. Just like that, orientation became yet another memory.
It doesn’t have to be that way though. To the OGL’s: orientation is over but we can reminisce about meeting OTAH deadlines as we rush into school at 7:24 in the morning, again barely making the stipulated time. To the new J1’s: I hope orientation managed to accomplish what it was meant to do: orientate you to this new environment. Have a great time in school, say hi to your OGL’s and don’t cry when you fail terms for the first time. To the PIXIEs: All of you are so special and unique, don’t let school or the new people you meet change that about you. Say hi to each other(and to us) when you can, and come to us if you need help with anything.