By Callie Doremus
Long ago, I laced up those stiff, slightly uncomfortable, a little big, brand-new freshman shoes. OK, that could not have been only a year ago. First day at Corban: I collegiately sauntered in … no, more like stumbled. I couldn’t even get the door to the gym open!
Throughout those initial days of orientation, my emotions swirled as predictable as weather in Oregon. I laughed when Mom hugged me and cried when Dad made a joke and ended up greeting people with a shaky sounding “Hi-l-lay” (I couldn’t decide what sounded best: “hi,” “hey,” “hello”.)
Then the moment I regained composure, all hope of “playin’ it cool” was utterly demolished. Thank you, core group.
The first weekend of core group falls under the same category as seeing an older guy in a Speedo, listening to a singer who forgot the words, chatting with someone who clearly breaches that personal bubble. Do I have to say it? It was awkward.
But I returned this year as a “core group advisor assistant” to help those uncomfortable freshmen acclimate. Okay, it’s possible I had an underlying intention of watching them endure (and inflicting upon them) the same awkward stand-in-an-a-circle, fumble-over-words, and have ditzy-moments situations I’d experienced. Little did I know, I would be asked to participate in every ridiculous activity all over again, but would also enjoy it infinitely better as an upperclassman. Plus, I now knew the secret to core group.
For those who don’t know or remember the initial activities of core group consist of a cow-tongue toss, relay races involving goofy snorkel gear, competing for team spirit by yelling until your lungs give out, and fishing in a kiddy pool using … a Dixie cup. These escapades don’t exactly scream “collegiate” – they’re more like sixth grade church camp. The discomfort eases after that first weekend, and then the oh-so-beneficial weekly course begins.
That said, kudos to whoever created core groups. Yes, it is awkward, humiliating, even a little pointless at times. You know if you’ve ever stepped into a Freshman Seminar class. Nonetheless, everyone partakes in the awkward and humiliating and pointless together – the perfect recipe for best friends. In case you didn’t pick up on it, I just revealed to you the secret of core group.
The light bulb over my head flicked on when my role became assistant rather than the assisted. Core group is all about strategy. Dump 15 freshmen into an awkward situation and what do you get? Confident, connected, comfortable, closely knit and collegiate individuals.
The journey of my particular group, self-named the “Freshy Fishies,” has been incredible to witness. They got through the initial uncomfortable meeting, keeping the number of weird moments in the double digits. Plus, for their skill at ice-breaker games, I give them 10 out of 10.
Since then, every Thursday we are up and at ‘em for Freshman Seminar at the ungodly hour of 8 a.m. Despite the early wake-up call and often seemingly pointless sessions (often we just meet to eat breakfast), the random good-to-know facts of campus and the strongly constructed relationships within the group seem to have proven worth it.
I have to admit that as the assistant, I honestly feel like a freshman all over again (and I’m pretty sure most of the new faces on campus believe it’s true). But I rest peacefully, because unlike them, I know the secret to core group. Mums the word!