Welcome Week: An Admissions Counselor’s Perspective
by Hannah Tucker
Isn’t it funny how you can attend the same event each year and see it with different eyes every time. Six years ago, I moved in as a freshman at OBU. Everything was new, fresh. My family and I pulled up into the line at Kerr, and I had no idea what was about to hit me. The car was shaking, people were yelling and grabbing all my stuff from out of my car. I was thinking, “Wait, did they just move all my stuff into my dorm?” Next, I was shuffled to new student orientation, where t-shirts were handed out, fake rules were given and beanies were donned. Then…boom, out of nowhere, “Eye of the Tiger” starts playing and crazy people dressed in costumes start running around me. I was put into a group and given older students called Tri-W’s to walk with me through this next week of adjusting to campus life. After the first night festivities unfolded, I sat on the steps of WMU sharing my summer experience and excitement for everything new. Then all of a sudden, I was alone with my roommate. In fact, I remember lying on my bunk in Kerr 322, looking up and thinking, “I have no idea who this girl is that’s sleeping above me.” After this point, I found myself experiencing Welcome Week four more times and each time through different eyes. As a sophomore to a senior Tri-W, to an alumna helping her sister move in, my experiences may have differed, but it was still the same Welcome Week.
Today, I am attending move-in day with fresh eyes yet again, as a new admissions counselor. I walked into my office to meet the rest of the admissions staff on Saturday morning, so thrilled because all our new Bison were coming home to OBU! We watched as proud admissions counselors seeing our students already thriving. Watching you guys make friends, partake in Welcome Week, and make a home for the next four years is life-giving to us. I was talking to a parent, and she was just beside herself that we helped her daughter move into her dorm. She mentioned how much energy everyone had, and I said, “there is an energy you get during move-in day at OBU. It is hard to explain, but just the thought of knowing what these students are about to experience while at OBU is enough to give you the energy to move fridges, couches, boxes full of clothes, sweat profusely and do it all with a God-given joy!” The same energy you have as a student moving in your new Bison cohort, you also get as an admissions counselor.
I have to say, it was by far the most rewarding move-in day to date. I loved seeing their excited faces roaming throughout campus. I could not help but think about how the Lord will grow, challenge and transform them while at OBU. This makes everything we do in admissions worth it. Every phone call, email, text, call night, countless hours spent on the road at college fairs and high school visits is all worth it to see our new students move in! Sometimes our job is difficult, especially when you invest in a student and they decide not to attend OBU for whatever reason. But move-in day gives you the energy you need to do it all over again for the next year! All of our work comes to fruition when our students move on campus, as we watch you unpack and create a new space that will quickly become your home.
During the recruitment process, we share about the academic, social and spiritual life students will gain at OBU. Move-in day and Welcome Week are the culmination of all those experiences. In the course of a visit, I share about my personal experiences with the professors and how at OBU they not only care about your education inside the classroom, but they also believe you are being educated outside the classroom as well. From professors carrying boxes up and down the stairs to inviting a group of students into their home for a meal at Bison Family Dinner, this is demonstrated again and again during Welcome Week. I always tell students, “when you get a job you are told to leave work at work.” To OBU staff, this is not only work but their calling. They care about you as an individual and desire to see you grow and thrive in life. So, they will invite you into their space and demonstrate what it looks like to be a husband, wife, mother, father, friend, student, employee and follower of Christ. Their actions say, “Follow me as I follow Christ.” Move-in day and Welcome Week display that to the fullest extent and that is the ethos of OBU.
I am constantly reminded of how we as OBU alumni, faculty, staff and students all play a different, yet vital role as members of its body. 1 Corinthians 12:12-19 was brought to my mind.
“For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we are all baptized into one body – Jews or Greeks, slaves or free – and all were made to drink of one Spirit. For the Body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear should say, “because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body each of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.”
All necessary and equally important roles. Move-in day is such a great example of how crew, student ministry, Tri-W’s, admissions counselors, and professors all pitch in to move our students in. There are admissions counselors making sure students are here, ResLife checking everyone in and becoming a new friendly face, and Welcome Week Workers and professors moving in the new students. The whole community comes together to celebrate, embrace, and walk alongside our new members.
“If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.” 1 Corinthians 12:26
As members of the body of Christ first and as members of the body of Oklahoma Baptist University second, we rejoice with you our brothers and sisters in the journey ahead. We strive to encourage, strengthen and challenge you. I gave my Ft. Worth students one nugget of wisdom that I learned while at OBU — The more you invest in a place (OBU), the more you will get out of it. I believe this is true of any part of life: your relationship with Christ, your friendships, marriage – not to get out of it personal gain but to experience true growth and the blessings of community of God’s design. So plant yourself into this community, cultivating old and new relationships! Invest yourself and be invested in. You will not regret it!