“Hello, my name is Alexandra Farber. I’m a sophomore Speech Communications and Advertising double major from Britton, South Dakota. Today, I’ll be working with the College of Arts and Sciences.”
This is how every session began. With endless smiles and a pink fanny-pack on my hip, I welcomed hundreds and hundreds of new students to our university at New Student Orientation.
This summer, I served as an Orientation Leader, primarily for the College of Arts and Sciences. I felt at home among the dreamers: future architects and chemists and linguists and economists, all listening to my words, welcoming them to a bright future at South Dakota State University. You may wonder how these new freshman, the ever-so-present hashtag of #newjacks16, impact your life at our university. I guarantee that these new students, these fresh faces of first-day nerves and lanyards around necks and students far too excited to eat at Chick-fil-A for the first time, can make a difference in your life, in our university, and in our world.
That new student may challenge your professor to think in a new way. That freshman may use their voice in student government to impact change for all students. That student may become the university’s largest benefactor in 30 years and create a brand new facility on our campus. That student may create a device that saves thousands of lives. These students will not only impact the long line at the University Bookstore, but also the long line of innovators, entrepreneurs, engineers, pharmacists, and successful people that have once walked the same paths as you and I.
The First Year Advising Center has taken an approach called the Appreciative Advising Model, encouraging our incoming students to dream. Imagine if we, as upperclassmen, also encourage these students to follow those dreams and utilize the resources here to propel them into futures filled with success. From our campus to Cambodia, our students have dreams that span beyond our imagination. I saw them, in colorful sticky notes, plastered upon a glass wall in the student union.
I ended every orientation session with a smile, thanking these new students for their impact on me. These students, in two short days, allowed me to improve my leadership and communication skills, learn more about various academic majors and career interests, and gain more friendly faces welcoming me back to campus this fall. Most of all, these students have inspired me to dream.