Adam on Being an Orientation Advisor

Adam is currently a sophomore majoring in Business Administration and
Communication. This past year,
he had the opportunity to take on a position as an Orientation Advisor for the USC Orientation Program — a program for newly admitted students and their families. This is his interview on how it was like being an OA for the 2011-2012 school year.

What was it like being an orientation adviser and what was some of your responsibilities?
Being an orientation adviser was a lot of fun. Our main job is to assist in the transition of students–whether they are freshman, international, graduate, transfer students to USC–getting them registered for classes, doing activities with them, telling them about resources, and things like that. We weren’t just dealing with freshman students; we had to deal with a wide variety of students, LGBT, straight, from China, from California. So, it was a lot of fun but it was also challenging in that regard because there are so many different types of students and it was impossible to relate to every single one of them. That is pretty much the goal of orientation.

What was one thing that you enjoyed the most from being an OA?
Probably the best part about being an OA was just meeting all the people, especially the freshmen because I am only a sophomore so I was in their spot like ten months ago when orientation was going on. So it was really cool how they could easily relate to me. They were all very excited to come to USC. For a lot of them, it was their first choice or they were spring-admits that got bumped to fall, or they just really wanted the package that USC offers. Also, becoming really good friends with all the other OAs too.

What was it like being out as an LGBTQ-identified person to the other OAs?
It wasn’t that hard at all. Orientation is a really all-inclusive department. They have people from all different religions, all different sexualities, sexual orientations, genders, everything. So I felt really comfortable. There were a couple of other LGBTQ people as well so that was comforting. But everyone who is an OA or a part of Orientation was accepting.

As a prominent leader of the LGBTQ community here at USC, how was it like taking that leadership experience and using it in your OA position?
It definitely helped me know that there is not just one type of LGBT. Growing up, I wasn’t around as many LGBT people so I was like one of the only ones. I knew some beside myself but really, LGBT people come from all different backgrounds as well. So being at USC, with all the experiences I’ve had, it had helped me become more accepting and include more people in the LGBT term. They are not necessarily going to appear as LGBT, or they may come from a different background, but we’re still a part of this community.

What have you gained from this experience that can possibly help you on your future endeavors?
It has definitely improved communication, public speaking skills, mentoring abilities (both as a mentee and mentor). It was a good learning experience to grow up with. I wasn’t a freshman anymore; I was now the one providing them with the information. The extra responsibility helped me grow.

Do you have any words of advice for LGBTQ students who may be interested in applying to be an OA?
If you’re planning to be an OA or to get involved, I would just say to be true to yourself. If you know how you identify, if you identify as some way, own up to that. It’s okay. You will definitely grow a lot throughout the year and start as early as possible. If you aren’t sure yet, or if you are just not comfortable, it’s okay to wait it out. I would still look for those organizations and people who are here to help you. Once you just develop relations with other people or with a support group, you will be able to develop yourself as well.

Aside from Orientation, Adam is also a USC Tour Guide, Daily Trojan Copy Editor, and Dornsife Student Ambassador. He is involved with University Rap as a facilitator and in USC Residential Government.

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