Strong Women, Strong Minds

by Meghan Powers '04

Orientation is a time filled with excitement, anxiety, and often a little fear.These emotions are not felt solely by the entering first-years, they are also felt by administrators who have worked for months to bring the 228 bright and beautiful new faces to campus, by volunteers who have been trained as mentors to the first-year class and transfer students, and by a small but mighty group of resident advisors. I have the pleasure to be one of the resident advisors in the best, most fun dorms on campus, Mary Routt Hall.

After two weeks of intense leadership training, hours of CPR and first aid, and sessions that included programming, conflict resolution, and diversity, my 15 new best friends and I were considered knowledgeable enough to be called resident advisors. Rooms surveyed, bulletin boards and hall decorations complete (thank you, peer mentors!), we were told to get some sleep and be ready to meet and greet our first-years at 7:30 the next morning.

Of course, 7:30 a.m. to a college student is an insane hour, so the next morning came as a harsh reality to us. Nevertheless, the R.A.s were up and raring to greet students, parents, family members, and friends as they all experienced their first day of college at Scripps.

After handing out countless copies of the Guide to Student Life, the Catalog, and room keys, I watched the first-years and their families schlep trunks, boxes, bags, suitcases, furniture, fans, and everything else known to womankind to their rooms. I was on edge, just waiting for a problem to arise so that I could be “super R.A. to the rescue” (insert Indiana Jones music here).

Fortunately, there were no crises. I gave people directions to Target, told them when events started, and gave them advice on buying textbooks, so as to not spend their life’s fortune at Huntley Bookstore.

It has been exciting to see a new group of students start their transition into college. I have watched them meet and become friends, knowing that the significance of those friendships has not yet dawned on them. I have seen them complete their first Core paper and start using the term “autonomous self ” in their everyday dialogue. I have observed them as they explore the other campuses and find friends outside of the walls of Scripps. And, finally, I have been able to help my residents start to appreciate and love our community. Scripps is a unique college experience, and the first-years are merely embarking on a journey that will help mold and shape their opinions of themselves and the world around them.

The questions I hear now are mostly academic- or roommate- related, and of course I have caught a few first-years asking upper-class women such questions as, “So, for real, what can I get away with?” In answering those questions, I refer to my co-R.A., whom we all like to call “the enforcer,” and answer, “Absolutely nothing.”