The Centipede

Kevin’s First Orientation

CA - Website

CA - Website

Anika Talwar, News Editor

“When I was a freshman in high school I joined marching band. And with marching band comes band camp. So two weeks before school started, I had to go to band camp everyday, nine to five. Imagine me as a pale, awkward fourteen-year-old in the sun for hours learning how to march from juniors and seniors who seemed so much cooler. I got really sunburned. But the seniors showed me around the school and made me feel welcome. I made lifelong friends with some of those older students from band – some I even marched with again, in college marching band.”

All of you new students will also have to make a transition just as Kevin Parker, Wilcox Fellow in Student Life and Activities, noted above. Parker’s experience in marching band is similar to your transition into Concord Academy. At first, the transition might be awkward, intimidating, and difficult, but eventually, apart from making friends with students in your grade, you will become close with the older students as well. To ease the transition and give you a sense of campus life before school officially starts, you will attend CA’s New Student Orientation.

This year, orientation will be managed and led by Parker, who came to CA knowing that he wanted a job in student life or technical theatre.  So what got Parker interested in working with students in the first place? He himself said, “When I was at Northeastern, I worked as a peer mentor and as a resident assistant with first-year students. This work in student life at Northeastern was why I was interested in continuing to work in student life. I study student development in graduate school now, and I’m particularly interested in transitions – the transition to high school, the transition to college, and how they create major moments for identity development.”

Orientation is a growing experience. It  not only allows new students to become familiar with CA’s academic resources and principles but also creates opportunities for them to interact with their peers and gain new perspectives as they meet people from various backgrounds. In Parker’s own words, “There are two parts to Orientation. First, there are the formal learning outcomes, a series of moments for students to think reflectively about their identity and lay a foundation for new relationships. But the second, more important part, is it’s just fun!” He continued, “I think it should feel like mini summer camp. It’s important that a first experience in a new place has positive memories.”

Like anywhere else, there will be times when you will step outside of your comfort zone and feel uncomfortable doing so, and that is okay. Parker addressed the likelihood of this discomfort, saying, “There are always awkward moments in any new experience – we play silly games and icebreakers because we want to create some laughs and break down the barriers of the awkwardness.”

        It’s completely normal to be a bit nervous when you transition into a new place. As Parker noted, “Acknowledge your anxieties! Be honest with yourself. It’s okay to say, ‘I’m nervous, this is awkward, I miss my old school.’ Talk to someone about those feelings. Those are important steps to being ready to embrace new experiences, new people, and feelings of excitement. Also, just say hi to everyone! I always think of that Emerson quote when I’m meeting new people: ‘…the only way to have a friend is to be one.’ ”

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Kevin’s First Orientation