We chatted with Tema Fodje '19, McKenzie Sheridan '17 and Maggie Belfi '18 — 3 of our Orientation Leaders!
What's your major?
McKenzie: Psychology with a minor in photography.
Maggie: I’m in the accelerated 3+1 public policy program. I’m beyond excited because I get to major in political science for my BA and get my MA in public policy in 4 years.
What made you choose your program?
Tema: I plan to go to medical school and biochemistry put me on track to reach that goal.
McKenzie: I've wanted to go into counseling psychology since my senior year of high school. Simmons had a great mix of research and practice based classes, which is what I wanted to — and have — pursued.
Maggie: To be able to graduate with an advanced degree and still get to experience the Simmons community is more than I ever could have asked for. I've met a challenging and intriguing cohort — and been able to utilize all the resources for advancement that Simmons has to offer.
What made you choose Simmons?
Tema: Simmons has an amazing biochemistry program — and the small school perks with the big city around it.
McKenzie: The moment I stepped onto campus, everything felt right. It's a beautiful campus tucked away in the middle of a beautiful city. My own little oasis.
Maggie: Like many students, I identify Simmons as a home away from home. When I first went on a tour with an amazing ambassador, we walked up to Simmons Hall and I immediately felt comfortable. I knew right away that I wanted to attend Simmons because at every stop of the tour I felt welcomed, embraced and wanted.
What made you make the move to become an Orientation Leader?
Tema: I had a really life changing experience my first year at Simmons. I thought getting to welcome the incoming class and impart some knowledge on them would be an amazing experience.
McKenzie: I wanted to play a role in welcoming students to a place that I love so much. Going to college can be stressful, so if I can make the process a little easier for even one student, it's all worth it.
Maggie: As someone that loves Simmons and wants to spread our community to other students, I jumped at the opportunity to be an Orientation Leader. It's a great way to build self confidence, student leadership experience and an amazing pathway for self discovery. Orientation Leaders help to shape some of the first college experiences that students will have — it's a daunting and exciting task!
What are you most excited for at Orientation?
Tema: Meeting my group of orientees that I will make connections with and be able to help throughout their first year at Simmons.
McKenzie: I love the evening social that's held on the residence campus the first night. It's the incoming students first time to relax and have some fun without information being thrown at them from all directions. It's incredible to see them making new friends and enjoying their first glimpse at college life.
Maggie: Feeling the energy of our next incoming class. As the second largest class in Simmons history (following our largest), they are going to have a lot of energy and be able to give different perspectives. I know that being an Orientation Leader is a big job — and very important for the Simmons experience. This is definitely theirs and my own move and moment.
What's your favorite spot on the Simmons campus?
Tema: The Honors Lounge. It's a calm and quiet space where I can study or relax.
McKenzie: The Student Activities Center. It has a comfortable, yet studious vibe that makes it a great spot for socializing and studying.
Maggie: I love hanging out in Common Grounds (well really, Java City). I like to sit almost directly below the Class Flags that represent the class colors and look out at the Quad. Common Grounds is essentially the Grand Central Station of Simmons — almost everyone has to pass by there when they're moving around campus. When I sit there, I get to see my friends and professors throughout the day. Plus, getting a nice Caramel Macchiato is always a great way to decompress if you’re a little stressed out.
Can you remember your orientation at Simmons?
Tema: My orientation was a really exciting — and nervous! — time. It was exciting to get to meet my future classmates and see the city where I'd be spending the next 4 years!
McKenzie: I honestly remember it like it was yesterday. I was so excited that my nerves weren't on my mind. My parents both came with me — I think they were more nervous than I was. I'm still friends with quite a few people that I met at Orientation.
Maggie: I definitely remember being nervous for Orientation and being afraid that I wouldn’t be able to acclimate into the college environment. Orientation largely helped to ease any fears that I had about moving away from home. I made friends, learned how to navigate Boston and was able to debrief about all the acronyms that are used around the buildings! That made sound so little, but knowing that the SOM and MCB classrooms are two completely separate buildings helps you get to class on time during the first week.
What's your favorite food at Bartol?
Tema: I love making salads at the salad bar!
McKenzie: The Maine themed night. There's lobster, red potatoes and whoopie pies! It's such a fun night; the food is great and everyone is really happy.
Maggie: The most exciting night at Bartol, outside of Winter Wonderland, was when they first introduced the mashed potato bar. I’m not sure that any food at Bartol has been able to surpass the high expectations that I now have because of the potato bar.
Do you have any tips for first years?
Tema: Make a schedule with all your activities and class assignments! Having everything written out on a calendar can really help you visualize your deadlines.
McKenzie: Say yes! Have an open mind and say yes to anything you're comfortable with. If someone asks you to go to Bartol, go for it, you could wind up becoming really good friends. If someone asks you to go for a walk around the city, do it! You never know what you might find or what adventures you could have.
Maggie: Believe in yourself. Things are going to get tough sometimes, but remember that you have a large community to lean on and you never need to do anything alone. Utilize your Resident Advisor and all the other resources that Simmons has to offer — like Advising and the Health Center.
What's your Simmons Moment?
Tema: Winning the First Year Emergence Award at the Leadership Recognition Conference! It was a culmination of all of my involvement during my first year and made me realize that I have my place at Simmons.
McKenzie: Sophomore year, I had just become president of the Simmons Sirens and then went to a meeting of Active Minds, just to find myself walking out of that meeting as their Public Relations Representative. That moment reminded me of why I loved Simmons in the first place. The endless opportunities available to students to take on whatever roles they dream of. I had the opportunity to take on leadership roles and I took them. That opened doors for me to become an Orientation Leader, Simmons Explore Facilitator and Writing Assistant. It allowed me to cultivate relationships with faculty and staff that I wouldn't have otherwise. My Simmons Moment is every day that I get to be involved with a unique community that never stops opening doors for its students — and works every day at bettering itself.
Maggie: Simmons makes me feel empowered in so many ways and has given me various opportunities to leave my mark. I love Simmons because of all the opportunities that it hands to me: being an Orientation Leader, being actively involved in Class Council and having the opportunity to be a Campus Ambassador. My moment isn’t just one, single instant, but the whole experience of attending Simmons.
From left: Tema, McKenzie and Maggie