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Trusting the process

February 5, 2018

 

Saulters works in the BARC in Wyly Tower as a student worker for housing. – Photo by Jonathan Shaul

 

An Orientation Student Leader talks about his experience during OSL training

 

ANDREW BELL
Sports Editor | agb022@latech.edu

 

It is safe to assume the majority of students at Louisiana Tech recognize how highly-regarded the title of Orientation Student Leader is, but what they may not know is how extensive the process of becoming one is: hence, the portrayal of this operation through the eyes of a newcomer.

 

Every year, 20 students are selected to go through the training process of becoming an OSL to lead incoming freshmen through orientation and make them feel at home while doing so. Many students tryout, but only the most equipped to handle the pressure are selected.

 

So one can only imagine the excitement of sophomore marketing major Grant Saulters upon finding out that he would join the ranks of all the former OSLs.

 

“I actually found out while I was walking to my 8 a.m. class one morning,” Saulters said. “It was raining outside and I received the letter from the BARC in Wyly Tower and I opened it in the pouring rain. All I could do was smile and then run to class because I was running late. I couldn’t stop smiling through class.”

 

Saulters, who was born in Jonesboro and raised in Quitman, came to Tech without a completely concrete plan for the future. In the first quarter of his freshman year, he majored in journalism. After that, he decided to switch his major to marketing. During his tenure as a marketing major, he acquired a job in the BARC at Wyly Tower as a student worker for housing. This is where he met Elton Taylor, the director of Orientation at Tech. Taylor was familiar with Saulters but had no idea he was bound to be an OSL.

 

“Grant was one of the surprises, right out of the gate,” Taylor said. “Grant has been a student worker in the BARC since I have been there. I got to know him and his demeanor over about a four-month timespan. I knew he was a funny guy, but I did not expect him to fare as well in front of nearly 65 other applicants. It’s easy to be nervous in a setting like that, especially when it is your first time. Grant came out with confidence and had the entire selection committee laughing.”

 

One of Saulters’ biggest fears about the interview process was whether or not the selection committee would think he was genuine.

 

“The most difficult part was worrying if you came across as genuine to the interviewers and the waiting after you’ve been interviewed,” he said. “You try to not think about it and distract yourself so you don’t worry about it.”

 

Taylor, however, recognized and appreciated Saulters’ authenticity and actually mentioned his genuine nature as one of his strengths throughout the interview process.

 

“Grant was very genuine,” Taylor said. “We could tell that he was being his true self and not afraid to be a little weird at times. His quirky wit kept the selection committee laughing during the group tryout and his honest personal interview answers helped us see that he would be a great choice to help lead the incoming freshman class.”

 

Every time the orientation administration sets out to select a new group of students to fill the new roles of OSL, they have a specific purpose for each one. They have roles to be filled. Taylor said there is a perfect balance of personalities that they look to equate when they are deciding on who they’ll pick. The question was, what role would Saulters fill?

 

“There will be nearly 2,000 incoming freshmen and each of them will have a different story,” he said. “In choosing a staff we kept that in mind as we looked at each candidate. Grant will be a glue that helps keep the positive and optimistic outlook of the group. He brings joy to others and I know that he will help the staff stay excited and pumped after a long orientation session filled with little to no sleep.”

 

One member of the new OSL staff who supports those sentiments is sophomore elementary education major Aerial Stanford, who befriended Saulters throughout the interview process, and has high hopes for him and the rest of the staff.

 

“Grant has an infectious personality that brings joy to the lives of so many,” Stanford said. “Grant and I are extremely outgoing. I think that our big personalities and silly quirks fit the overall mold of the 2018 OSL staff extremely well because we are an extremely diverse staff. We can bounce off the walls with all of our energy, but we can also channel that same energy to encourage and motivate our team. I cannot put into words how insanely pumped I am to work with him this summer.”

 

Even with all the logistics of becoming an OSL, the primary focus is ultimately to connect with incoming freshmen and make their transition to college as smooth as possible. Saulters hasn’t lost sight of this and looks forward to meeting the new Tech students.

 

“I became an OSL for the freshmen,” Saulters said. “I want the relationship I have with these freshmen to extend past orientation and throughout the school year because I want to be a friend, a mentor and someone for them to be able to go to for help.”

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