University Student Thrives as Orientation Leader


Nicholas Mroczka, a senior English major with a concentration in secondary education from Middletown, Conn. had the opportunity to be an Orientation Leader (OL) this past summer. His favorite part of the job is connecting with students and helping them to grow individually.

His goal once he graduates is to become a high school teacher. Mroczka is on the hockey team, plays trumpet for the jazz band and is the Vice President of Operations for USGA.

Mroczka recounted his experience being in orientation with his OL as he explained why he decided to apply. He wanted to improve what he saw emulated from his own OL, who was unable to keep a bond with the students.  Mroczka’s goal as an OL is to have a better relationship with his students then his OL had with him.

When asked what his favorite part of being an OL was, Mroczka said it was  the bonds he developed with his students. He says he enjoys catching up with them and seeing the progression they make in leadership activities.

“I truly gained a family within my orientation groups. #TeamNick,” Mroczka said.

He did admit that his least favorite part were the long days and the preparation which went into SOAR. Most days he would work 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.,  outdoors in the heat. However, he believes that his experience is worth it.

“I like to advocate for others and be a voice for people who are oppressed and feel like they don’t have a voice. I spent my college career learning how to be an ally for minorities, the lgbtqia+ community and any other oppressed populations so that their issues are heard,” Mroczka said.

Some may think that being an OL might just seem like running SOAR. However, according to Mroczka, there is a lot more behind the scenes that goes on, including preparing for SOAR and working on CSELO events.

Day one of SOAR for an OL begins at 5:30 a.m. and doesn’t end until 12:30 a.m. Mroczka said that he would get off duty at 12:30 a.m. and go to bed an hour later.

Day two of SOAR entails getting up at the same time and taking the groups to breakfast, presentations, lunch and group time. SOAR officially ends with the OL dance. OL’s will wait for everyone to leave Bixler and then have a dance and party while people are leaving

“We would high five students and families for completing SOAR and show our appreciation for them. That was one of my favorite parts,” Mroczka said.

Mroczka goes in with an end goal and an idea of what he wants his students to learn from him. He strives to push students outside of their comfort zone to get them to grow as individuals and leaders alike.

“The best way to make yourself better is to make yourself uncomfortable,” Mroczka said.