Initially, I planned on utilizing this blog post to chronologically describe the chaos that was Haas New Student Orientation. But if I did that, I’d simply be regurgitating facts. Most of the class of 2015 was present; what differentiates our experiences is our takeaways, so I’ll share some of my own.
My name is Erika, and I’m a transfer from Diablo Valley College. I grew up in the east bay, and I’ve known for a long time that I wanted to go to Cal. So I worked hard, played hard, and made it happen. I was ecstatic; I thought I’d be set for life –just because I got accepted to Haas. Yeah, no! The high from my acceptance letter tapered once I realized what I was getting into. I became apprehensive and doubtful of my ability to succeed in such a competitive environment.
I showed up to orientation ridden with anxiety. I thought I was in for Haashole boot camp and Recruiting 101. To my surprise, it turned out being the opposite. Our cohorts leaders, Undergrad Program Staff, and HBSA president Rosemary provided words of encouragement and brief overviews of the resources available for us. It was low pressure; the mission: bond with cohorts and build community. It was only as scary as I made it out to be.
We got the chance to hear from Dean Rich Lyons, who reminded us why we were accepted to Haas, and reminded us that if we didn’t have the potential to succeed, we wouldn’t have been. Hearing this lifted my confidence, which brings me to his next topic: Confidence Without Attitude. There’s nothing charming about being a ‘Haashole,’ and I’m glad Dean Lyons reminded us that nobody wants to work with someone who has an attitude. As the new blood, we define the culture, we are not defined by it. We have the power to lead by example and change the negative perceptions others have of us.
We got the opportunity to meet others in our cohort by playing a game similar to speed dating. We were given topics that were easy to talk about and exchanged contact information with fellow cohort members. It was a major success – not only was it fun, but a great opportunity for us to practice networking skills in a casual setting. Let’s face it, soft skills matter. Transcripts and resumes aren’t the be all and end all; anyone can look good in black and white. The ability to communicate with others is essential, and it was great to emphasize that in the cohort activity.
After our networking game, we had the opportunity to meet students representing many business clubs, organizations, and fraternities over a top-dog catered lunch. It was a lot to absorb considering my community college had only 2 primary business clubs. I was discouraged at first by my perception that all clubs were ABC-focused, which I’m not interested in. I expected to be met with rejection after telling people I was actually interested in marketing, but the feedback I got was generally positive. Some found it surprising, but I was reassured there was a place for someone with my interests among them. I was even told by someone that being interested marketing made me stand out, which was exactly what I needed to hear at a time when I felt so out of place.
I feel the networking session ended too quickly, and I didn’t get to speak to everyone I had hoped to. But all was well; I was stuffed from top dog and prepared to fall into a food coma as we rejoined in Anderson Auditorium. I’m sure what was said during the closing was meaningful, insightful, and I probably should have taken note of it. However, nothing pulled me out of my after-lunch slump until hearing the word “Backpack.” And with that came the distribution of the ‘Class of 2015’ embroidered backpack that everyone had been itching for since 9 AM.
Without a doubt, getting to Haas has been nothing less than a roller coaster. It took a lot of hard work and determination to get where I am today, and naively, I believed that the uphill climb was over, when really it’s only just started. I look forward to the next 2 years here at Haas, and welcome challenges that are bound to come my way. Challenge brings opportunity, and here at Haas, the opportunities are endless.