Adrienne Macdonald, a fourth-year international business student, speaks about how Fall Orientation has shaped her experience at Carleton and why students should consider signing up to volunteer during the week.

Since my first day at Carleton University, I have felt like I belong.  In 2009 I was inducted into Carleton University after a week of Fall Orientation activities.  It was the experience of a lifetime, full of dances, cheers, concerts, and bonding.  My experiences at Carleton University’s Fall Orientation in 2009 have shaped and continue to shape my life within this vibrant community.

Leaving high school is a challenge for all students. Whether leaving for post-secondary education, joining the workforce, or travelling abroad, the transition between high school and the rest of life is unique to each individual.  Luckily, Carleton has a Fall Orientation program that is both welcoming and exciting for students making the transition to post-secondary education.

Due to my positive experiences at Carleton’s Fall Orientation, I have continued to be involved with the program.  In my second year at Carleton I volunteered as a Facilitator for the first time.  It was an outstanding experience, and I enjoyed it even more than my time as a first year student.  I made many life-long friends and was given a multitude of opportunities to be a leader for my group.  It was both challenging and rewarding to be on the other side of Fall Orientation.

At this point, I believe that I began to truly understand the importance of Carleton’s Fall Orientation program.  Creating a welcoming and safe environment for new students is a key factor in their success.  Through volunteering with Fall Orientation I have learned about the effects of positive leadership within my community and the value of being a role model for other students.

Following my positive experience as a Facilitator in 2010, I volunteered again in 2011 for Fall Orientation.  This experience was even better than the previous two, and inspired me to apply for the position of a Head Facilitator in 2012.  Being chosen as a Head Facilitator was an exciting and humbling experience.  Managing a team of 30 volunteers and over 150 first year students was inspirational.  The positive energy that my team brought into my life throughout the entire experience has been life changing.  Each student was so unique, and in that uniqueness, was able to teach me something about myself and the world as a whole.  The Vice Facilitators on my team are two of the most dedicated and determined individuals that I have met.  They enabled me to better understand my own leadership style and to become a better person.

My Facilitators inspired me to be an even more dedicated leader within the Carleton community.  Their infallible energy and dedication to the Fall Orientation program was a primary reason for my application to be a Fall Orientation Coordinator for 2013.  When you meet a group of people that are willing to dedicate over a week of their lives to make their community a better place, it is pretty easy to be enthusiastic about a cause.  My Frosh (the first year students) were also exceptional throughout the week, and continue to be important members in my life at Carleton.  It is my hope that these individuals feel, in the same way that they make me feel, welcome and valued in the Carleton community.  My continued involvement with this program stems from the exceptional experiences that I have had with Fall Orientation.

Presently, I am the Administration Fall Orientation Coordinator.  I am very excited for this coming year, and hope to continue to improve the Fall Orientation program.  The program has helped me in countless ways, and I would like to give back to my community in the same way that it has positively affected me.

Submitted by Adrienne Macdonald, a fourth-year international business student. 

To find out more information about Fall Orientation and how to apply as a volunteer, please visit carleton.ca/fallorientation


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