Edit desk: Spell your name with your butt

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Gabby Pomerantz

Gabby Pomerantz

Spell your name with your butt!

If you have heard these words yelled around campus, chances are you were surrounded by a couple of orientation leaders at the time.

It’s our job as orientation leaders to make first-year students feel comfortable at Lehigh, and one of the ways we do this is by encouraging the spelling of names with butts.

We collectively try to help first-years drop their “cool baggage” and embrace an open-minded attitude to get the most out of their college experience. This involves getting students to leave their comfort zone by participating in lighthearted energizers and deeper self-disclosure activities with the hopes it will help them form lasting bonds with one another and acclimate to their new life in Bethlehem.

I applied to be an OL my first year because I wanted to help new Lehigh students feel at home on campus.  Little did I know this experience would make me feel at home as well.

Being a part of the Office of the First Year Experience as an orientation leader and now as an orientation coordinator has completely transformed my Lehigh experience. I have grown so much from being an orientation leader. I became better at public speaking, I became a more open person, but most importantly, I realized everyone has the ability to inspire others and create lasting change. I would not have gained so much from this experience if it weren’t for the incredible group of orientation leaders I was surrounded by.

I came into Lehigh as a first-year who was undecided about everything — I didn’t have any idea what I wanted to major in or what I was passionate about. I applied to be an orientation leader on a whim, minutes before the application was due.

Boy, am I happy I applied.

Never before have I been surrounded by a group of such happy, positive, compassionate and inclusive people. The atmosphere we strive to create on campus as OLs is one that is evident during all group meetings and training sessions.

It is a special atmosphere of having fun and creating meaning to make Lehigh a better place. It is an atmosphere of knowing when to have a random dance party or start a massage train and when to have meaningful conversations about powerful subjects such as diversity or inclusivity.  It is an atmosphere that makes me a better person.

I have found my best self at Lehigh by being a part of the Office of the First Year Experience, and it has made me realize how important it is for individuals to surround themselves with people who inspire them to be a better person.

We are a sum of the experiences and people we are surrounded by, so we should all strive to place ourselves around those who bring out our best qualities. In this way, we can take the positive qualities we see in others and emulate them within ourselves to create a more positive internal and external environment.

We should seek to bring out the best qualities in others. This can be done by the means of uplifting encouragement or even just a smile. The goal is to create a ripple effect of positivity throughout campus and the world, so that idealistically, everyone is surrounded by individuals who bring out their best self.

This mentality I’ve gained from being an orientation leader is one I now work to pass on to the world outside of orientation, and I hope all individuals surround themselves with those who inspire them to be better humans, just as my fellow orientation leaders inspired me. Through this, we can collectively create a society that looks forward to create lasting positive change and of course, a society that doesn’t forget to spell your name with your butt every once in a while.

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Gabrielle Pomerantz, ’18, is an associate lifestyle editor for The Brown and White. She can be reached at [email protected]

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