Orientation gets revamped

First-year students will be welcomed with a more personal approach

The Campus: Where are you from and why did you choose Allegheny College?

Mark Myers: I’m from Lock Haven, Pennsylvania. There were a lot of reasons that I chose Allegheny. It came down to University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania State University and here. There was an intern in admissions named Spencer Vicente [at Allegheny], and he really helped me through the process, and I applied to 13 schools. He actually helped me along the way with all of them. I fell in love with the campus. I immediately made friends. I really liked their whole unusual combinations thing, the way that I could get involved easily and kind of find my own path.

Campus: What was orientation like for you as a first-year?

Myers: I’m a Bonner, so I actually came three days early for our orientation. My experience was different than the average new student orientation goes. I was greeted by my Bonner family with cheering, and they had stuff on our doors. It just felt very personal, and the new student orientation was just an additional program that I had to go to. There was no personal touch to it.

Campus: What are some of your roles as Gator Orientation Director?

Myers: Dean Ferguson asked if I wanted to be an orientation leader, and she asked if I wanted to put together a whole new program. She came in from Spelman [College] in January, and she really wanted something different, something more student-centered because what we had wasn’t so I was kind of given a rough outline of things everyone had to go to. I had to work with it. I’ve done scheduling. I’ve done programming. My big thing that I’m hoping doesn’t fail is the pep rally that we have this year.

Campus: Is there anything different about orientation in comparison to last year?

Myers: Now we have orientation leaders. That is completely new. I had to recruit 60 leaders. When I came in we had 20. Dean Ferguson wanted 50. I wanted 60. We actually ended up with 62, so with lots of nagging and harassing I ended up getting 42 people. I’ve been dealing with all of them, learning about them, making sure that we work together as a team to make this orientation different and cool. It’s almost like a pilot program. Right now, based on research, students who do have an orientation group do work better.

Campus: What were some worries you had going into your first year of college?

Myers: I am just an anxious person by nature. Am I going to make friends? Am I going to fail out? My school district is in the bottom ten in the state. I’m coming to this rigorous liberal arts school, and I didn’t even know what liberal arts was. I was just worried about so many different things. I’m not a science person, so how do I make money, a future, love what I’m doing and pay off these huge student loans that I’m taking out at 18 years old?

Campus: What was something you were looking forward to?

Myers: I was excited to get away from home, get somewhere new, meet new people and really learn about myself. I really wanted a chance to find myself without outside pressure pushing me. I knew I would have that here.

Campus: Why do you think it is important for first-years to get involved on campus and in the community?

Myers: I think that getting involved in the community makes you feel more invested in what you’re doing. You become passionate. I think we all are given these amazing opportunities, and it would be crazy of us to not take advantage of them.

Campus: If you ever got homesick, how did you make Allegheny and the Meadville area feel more like home?

Myers: I never really did get homesick. I’ve loved it here since day one. I got involved, and I was always doing something. If you’re not doing that, then you have no investment here.

Campus: Do you have any advice for first years?

Myers: Don’t be afraid to be pushed. We’re not paying per class. Join clubs and attend some meetings. Don’t be afraid to sit down with someone at lunch and just talk. Cliques aren’t a thing here. There’s groups, but it’s not difficult to penetrate them.

Campus: What is something that you wish you knew as a first-year?

Myers: Google Calendar. I wish somebody had shown me how amazing Google Calendar was. Google in general because I lost three papers on Microsoft Word, and then I realized that Google will save my life.

Campus: What is one of your favorite Allegheny memories?

Myers: Everything kind of comes together into one big thing. This summer has been amazing. I have been working very closely with Dean Ferguson. I have had many people in my life that I have admired and looked up to, but I have never had somebody that I connected with, understood and really believed in. She is just an incredible specimen that I aspire to be.

Campus: What is something that you are looking forward to in your next three years at Allegheny?

Myers: I never thought that I’d be where I’m at now, so I can’t even imagine it anymore. I came in very loose. I knew I wasn’t going to be a Biology major, but I let myself kind of go up and down with the flow of things. I accepted help when I needed it. I think if I keep doing that in my next three years, that’ll be just fine.