First-year students at Castleton University deal with a lot of stress and anxiety when first showing up to Castleton. Student Orientation Staff leaders help to make the transition from high school to college an easier and more enjoyable one.
Whether it’s planting trees, waving people in at orientation, or just being there to answer any questions that first-year students have, SOS leaders are there to help.
The job for someone who holds this position is to, “serve as a role model, peer counselor, peer academic advisor, and group facilitator for new students during summer Registration sessions, Orientation, and First Year Seminar,” according to the school’s website.
First-year student Baylee Lawrence had a good experience with her SOS leader last fall.
“She was pretty great…She basically guided us through the process of registering here,” she said. “Just guiding us and making sure we were on top of stuff…Helping us get better and better while we’re here at Castleton.”
Castleton’s Student Orientation Staff looks for students who are passionate about their love for Castleton.
“One of the most telling characteristics that I look for is someone who is really enthusiastic about Castleton and their experience here,” said Victoria Angis, assistant dean for Campus Life.
Angis is one of the driving forces behind SOS and believes that without that passion for Castleton, an SOS leader cannot be as effective as they should be.
James Wolfe, a senior who has been an SOS coordinator for two years, thinks that SOS leaders get lost in the shuffle.
“You hear about community advisors all the time, because they’re on duty throughout the whole entire year,” he said. “But the ones you don’t hear about are SOS.”
But Wolfe believes that SOS leaders are on duty 24/7.
“I’ve had students call me in the middle of the night. I’ve had them say ‘hey can you come to the library and help us with this homework,’” he said. “SOS are really always on call.”
Applications for new SOS leaders were due on March 22, and there are many hopeful students waiting to be interviewed for the position.
Caton Deuso, a transfer student from CCV, applied to be one.
“There was a lot of things that I saw within SOS leaders and the overall program during orientation that I would have loved to take part in,” she said.
Deuso is excited for the opportunity to talk to first-year students. She believes one of the biggest challenges they deal with is personal growth.
“Realizing who you are, and what you’re about and developing your identity, your true identity,” she said. “Not one that you have to form in high school to make friends and maintain because of popularity, because college doesn’t work that way.”
But what kind of person would be best suited for becoming an SOS leader?
“Somebody who is attentive, somebody who listens, somebody who pays attention, somebody who has patience,” said Patrick Lucey, a first-year SOS Leader. “If you don’t have patience with a group and you don’t know how to stand up and lead, then you’re not going to be a good leader.”
Junior Meranda Allen applied for the opportunity to become an SOS leader.
“I thought it would be a great opportunity to get more involved, and meet more of the students here,” she said.
Allen also believes that becoming an SOS leader will help her obtain skills that will help her later in life with her career.
“Being able to work and communicate with new people is a big thing … In a department, you gotta work with people even if you don’t like them,” she said.
If you are hesitant on becoming a member of Castleton’s Student Orientation Staff, Victoria Angis has some advice.
“Last year I had a student who was a fabulous SOS, she was enthusiastic, she was a hard worker, her students loved her,” she said. “She admitted to me after most of her SOS work was done that she didn’t want to apply.”
Angis said that this student was upset with herself for not applying to become a member of SOS sooner.
“I would encourage anybody who has even an inkling that they might be interested in doing it, or someone has encouraged them to do it because they saw something in that person that makes a good SOS give it a try,” she said.