Things I Learned as a USC Orientation Advisor

Today’s post is from guest editor Sarah George

When I was chosen to be an Orientation Advisor (OA) in fall 2015, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I was nervous about helping my orientees smoothly transition to life at USC, but as a first-generation college student, I understood how crucial orientation could be for building an expectation of university life. Now, after an entire summer as an OA, I can confidently say that joining the USC Orientation team was one of the most rewarding experiences in my time at USC. Here are a few things I learned:

You can make a difference.

Being an OA is a very important job. You address a lot of sensitive topics, concerns and rumors about university life, and your opinions and experiences really matter to the students. After weeks of training, you have the ability to give the “inside scoop,” and by the end of orientation, the incoming class really trusts you and sees you as their friend.


Time Management, Time Management, Time Management!

If you don’t already have strong time management skills, orientation will instill them in you. You quickly learn that despite last minute schedule changes, your orientees still need to receive the same information as they would on a regular schedule. You learn to make adjustments to your group discussion schedule on the fly and manage your timely wisely.


You are more patient than you think (or you’ll learn to be!)

If there is one thing you take away from orientation, it will be increased patience. Supporting a student in registration when they insist on building a schedule with no classes on Wednesdays, Fridays or after 3 PM is a truly unique challenge that you will learn to navigate with the utmost patience and sympathy. You will constantly be reminded of your first time registering for classes at USC and be eternally grateful to those who helped you with the process.


You will become a USC know-it-all.

After weeks of extensive learning, training, and presentations by campus resources, you will become a wealth of USC knowledge. You are definitely prepared to answer any question a student may throw your way, and if you don’t know the answer, you have the contact information for someone who does. You will learn things about USC that you never knew and better your own student experience.


You will remember all of the reasons you decided to become a Trojan.

Whether it be through the excitement of the freshmen students at their first USC spirit rally or through an exceptionally meaningful encounter with one of the members of your orientation group, you will find little reminders of why you chose to become a Trojan all summer long. The last orientation session will be over before you know it, and you’ll be so grateful for the new friendships you’ve made and the experiences that you’ve had. You will start a new school year with a renewed sense of pride in being a member of the Trojan Family, and you will truly understand the meaning of Fight On!


All of these skills will last me far beyond my summer with orientation and have helped me grow and change in ways I never expected. If you are interested in becoming a USC Orientation Advisor, come learn more at one of our information sessions on Thursday, September 15 at 9 PM in Taper 208 or Friday, September 23 at 1 PM in Leavey Library 17. The online application is open now at and closes on Monday, October 3.


–Sarah George