Photo courtesy of Xavier University
It can be understandably terrifying for first-year students as they acclimate to the new college environment, professors and peers. Manresa, Xavier’s new student orientation program, is designed to ease the process of transitioning from high school to college.
Just by watching a pair of group leaders brightly waving to their Manresa students as they passed by Coffee Emporium, it was easy to see that the four-day program had made an impact. It was a Sunday afternoon, and they had just held their final small group meeting that morning. Luz Peredo-Muniz, a senior athletic training major with a pre-physical therapy minor, and Sean DeLellis, a sophomore nursing major, were just two of more than 100 group leaders who helped make this Manresa possible.
The theme of this year’s Manresa, “Creating Our Future Together,” emphasized the community the students would be building alongside each other. Peredo-Muniz, who has been a group leader for three years now, noticed the different focus.
“It was very focused on Jesuit values and how, even though we’re all different, all diverse, we can include ourselves together and make a community such as Xavier’s where everyone is like ‘all for one, one for all,’” Peredo-Muniz said.
Other new additions ranged from a pinning ceremony to a “gender pronoun guide” discussed with students.
This year’s orientation program was DeLellis’s first as group leader. His favorite moment occurred when he and Peredo-Muniz received a text from one of their students after a small group meeting.
“The student really just wanted to ask us for advice…,” DeLellis said. “They were kind of sitting in the background in high school, and they were never really the outgoing person or the extrovert person.And they really wanted to put themselves out there, but they just didn’t really know how to. So they reached out to Luz and I. It just felt good to know that they trusted us to the point where they could ask us for help when they needed it.”
Peredo-Muniz, on the other hand, treasured both planned ice-breakers and idle conversation where the group discovered things they could all laugh at or love in spite of their individual differences.
“A small group within our Manresa group would go play basketball together during free time,” she cited as just one example.
Overall, both group leaders were glad to have been able to impact the lives of incoming students in this year’s Manresa. The memories are quickly becoming bittersweet to Peredo-Muniz, since it is the last time she can be a group leader.
Meanwhile, DeLellis, inspired, by his rewarding experience, hopes to be a group leader again next year.
By: Soondos Mulla-Ossman ~Copy Editor~