Another semester, another move-in.

So I moved in earlier than the rest of the students to Brandeis University. I am an orientation leader (OL) this year, and with other 100 students, began the intense four-day training to become an OL. It is a training that completely drained us because of how physically and emotionally exhaustive it is. I am not being dramatic at all—in fact, it is draining because by the end of it. We all went through an activity called, “sneeches.” It is an activity in which all of us in training go through—we all have small groups of 10 people, within those groups we all shared to one another personal struggles and experiences.

I must add that, although, I felt like giving up many, many times, I knew I was doing something to help my university community. I was part of making the transition for the new upcoming first-years smoother. I think the most challenging part was that I constantly felt that I was stepping out of my comfort zone and if you have read my blog, it is something I talk about often.

Being an orientation leader entailed leading group discussions about all sorts of topics, such as, diversity and inclusion on campus and beyond, how to be an active bystander, and, even, sexual education. The main purpose of Brandeis’s orientation is to sort of level everyone, so that they can have, at least, a brief notion of all these concepts and empower the new students with this information, thus, making easier for them to navigate college in a better way.

The group of students I happen to have, was a concoction of distinct personalities and backgrounds. It was difficult to sort of help them bond. I must admit that not all of them bonded as one family, but within the same group they were able to, at least, find a good friend to chat, joke around, and feel comfortable. The OL job was a volunteer one, however, it had its perks, some I have already mentioned, but I just want to brag about getting to meet, author, Margaret Atwood; and about getting her autograph and a free copy of Oryx and Crake!

Now classes have started and I am trying to re-adjust to my life here at Brandeis. I am grateful for the life I have been able to construct here and the friendships that maintain me alive. That is why, as I do not emphasize enough, try new things, always. You will always meet new, great people that will expand your network, horizons, and perspectives: it is a crucial part of college, dear reader. Plus, friendships are a pillar to your self-motivation and self-confidence in order to navigate college successfully.

Every year, as I walk through campus, I ponder upon how lucky I am to be getting a higher education. I am grateful for the opportunities, like the one I had this summer, interning for a publishing company in El Paso, Texas. And then getting the chance to travel around the country, it all makes me think how lucky can I be? The answer is beyond the limits of my understanding. But, I embrace this good fortune, and I will try my best to keep striving and taking fun challenges this new school year.

I think that if you keep finding new sources of inspiration. If you set yourself long-term goals that have the potential to be accomplished during the year or, at least, complete a big part of it during the year, then you are on a good start.

I wish all of you a great semester. Remember that education is important, but self-care goes always first.