Today I am a has been.
Thirty-something people will walk – or have walked – into Hale Hall to receive the nail-biting, gut-wrenching news they’ve been anxiously awaiting.
Somewhere around half of them will walk out with thank-you letters for their interest. Many will feel like they’ve just had the worst breakup of their life. It’ll be hard to carry on for a few hours, and their hearts may or may not feel like they’ve been completely ripped out of their chests. I felt that way two years ago.
Sixteen will walk out with their lives forever changed. They’ll probably hug everyone around them. It will be one of the most memorable days of their lives. They may cry. I did a year ago.
Most of us remember our Orientation Student Leaders. The sixteen goofy older people who flagged us to check in at Tolliver, wowed us with their dance moves in Presents and tried their hardest to explain to us the differences between Declining Balance and Tech Express.
From the moment Tori Close complimented my blue shirt by saying she liked my spirit, I knew I wanted to be an OSL.
By the end of the three days, there was no doubt in my mind. These weirdos were obviously the Tech Family personified. They loved their university, they loved each other, and they loved us. Unconditionally.
So freshman year I drug myself to the OSL interest meeting and saw my sixteen idols cry over the end of their experience. It seemed rather dramatic.
I went to the group tryouts and felt like I didn’t stand out, but somehow I got a personal interview. I knew I was a freshman, but I knew in my heart that I was an OSL. Unfortunately it seemed, I was not a 2011 OSL.
I cried when I got the letter saying no, but I didn’t throw it away. I hung it on my bulletin board and stared at it for a year. I was determined never to get that letter again, and I never did.
On this exact morning last year, I threw on sweatpants and a hoodie and went – with no makeup on and my hair up – to Hale.
Through the icy mist, I stood on the steps and opened my letter. I cried. Again.
As I ran to hug my now roommate Carlton, my life changed.
I’ve spent the last year building my relationships, my university and myself. I’ve fought with my staff to the point of tears, I’ve celebrated some of the most special moments in their lives, and I’ve laughed until I literally couldn’t laugh anymore. My year as an Orientation Student Leader is something I’ll never forget and something I’ll never take for granted.
To the 15 people whom I’ve shared this time with, you are my family, and no one else will ever understand exactly what you mean to me. They’ll never understand the tears or the laughter or the inside jokes. They’ll never understand what we went through, and they’ll never understand what being a member of the 2012 orientation staff meant. From our retreat to today, we’ve all changed more than I ever could’ve imagined. I love you more than I can explain, and I can’t wait to evolution at all of your weddings. Cause let’s be honest, I have to live vicariously through some one.
To the 16 new additions to our OSL family, never let a moment pass you by. When one person on your staff asks you to go eat, go. When one freshman looks at you, say hi. You can never get this experience back. You’re in for the year of your life, so live it up. I’m jealous of you.
To everyone who participated in the tryout process, I applaud you and encourage you to never give up. Louisiana Tech is more than a piece of paper that says, “Give yourself a bone, Bulldog!”
It’s a family. It’s a love that doesn’t stop just because you faced some heartache or rejection. Being a bulldog is grinning and bearing it because you believe in what this school stands for.
So today I am a has been, and when I graduate, I will be a super has been. But no matter what I face – rejection from grad schools, a terrible LSAT score, a horrible tragedy, or just not getting what I want – I’m a bulldog. I’m Orientation Student Leader #566, and Louisiana Tech will always be number one in my heart.
Allison East is a senior history and journalism major from Vicksburg, Miss. who serves as senior reporter for The Tech Talk. Email comments to ace...@latech.edu.