Onboard More than just a summer job.

This summer I was lucky enough to get a job that never actually felt a job. This job would allow me to grow as a person, a leader and most importantly give me the ability to have an impact on incoming students lives and make them more comfortable coming into college.

This summer I was one of the three Orientation Assistant’s (OA’s) that we’re in charge of planning and facilitating Endicott’s newest program called Onboard. Onboard’s main goal was to give incoming students a way to make connections with other incoming students in a smaller setting away from all the chaos of summer orientation. I can proudly state that we we’re able to accomplish that goal. But I’ll get into that a little bit later.

This is us: the three OA's.


One of the coolest and most challenging parts of this job was the fact that going into the job, there was no plan to what was going to happen at onboard, we were given a schedule that consisted of the times for breakfast, lunch, dinner and a location (Rolling Ridge Retreat Center) and that was it. The rest was up to us to plan and organize. Now, obviously we did have some guidance from our wonderful boss Brianne, but she also knew we were up for the challenge or she probably wouldn’t have hired us.

The Sunsets at Rolling Ridge were nothing short of amazing!

I was actually pumped that we got to plan the whole thing from scratch. I took it as an opportunity to plan something great and that I would be extremely proud of. I also took it as a chance to leave my mark at Endicott. Since this was the first year of Onboard I put a lot of pressure on myself to make it great from the start because one of my biggest hopes coming into college was that I would be able to leave a legacy at Endicott and leave it better than I found it. I felt that being apart of Onboard was that opportunity.

I’m not going to say planning went smoothly in all aspects because that would just be a lie. There were some peaks where the ideas were flowing and we were filling the schedule and planning workshops. And of course, there were some valleys where we butted heads and just needed to take a break and revisit the issue the next day.

But when working with any team there will always be downs but its how you get through those up’s and downs that say a lot about you as a person and as a team. Thankfully, we were able to get through those lows and come out on the other side with something great and that we were all proud of and that we knew the incoming students would enjoy..

The Trips

Before each of the four Onboard trips we did I would always get super nervous. Luckily the first trip was right after summer orientation so I was in a great mood and I was ready but that didn’t fully stop me from being nervous. Each trip I would be scared that the student wouldn’t like what we had planned or wouldn’t make connections or things just wouldn’t go as planned.

Thankfully, within 10 minutes of all the students arriving those nervous thoughts would go away and I would just be excited to get to know all the new faces and start the trip.

Each of the 4 weekends were filled with icebreakers, workshops, lawn games, lip sync battles, smores, late nights and endless laughs and jokes (most of them being at my expense). But never the less, each trip was absolutely amazing. Oh, and how could I forget jamming out in the vans on the way to and from rolling ridge. You know all the best sing-a-long songs were on the playlist. (Also, to Group 3: my playlist is still great even if you hated it LOL)

This was taken right before we jammed out to Life is a Highway

To watch 50 first year students who start off as strangers barely talking to each other, get close throughout the weekend and leave with a bunch of new connections was something truly special.

Lawn games got competitive...but connect 4..thats where the real competition was. (Not pictured here)

My favorite activity we did is the last one on the trip (and no its not because I knew that each trip was over). The activity is called post card anchor piece, a fitting name for a trip called onboard where the theme was anchors. We would have each student pick out of a bunch of different post cards with different pictures on them and explain how it described their weekend. To hear the students say they were so thankful they came, how much fun they had and that they couldn’t wait to get back in the fall was the best moments for me personally. It was in those moments that I knew we had accomplished our goal and we had made a difference in these students lives and made them more comfortable starting off their college experience.

Now thats it’s over...

Reflecting on my experience this summer, I could not be more grateful to have had this opportunity and I’ll never forget all the great moments I had on each of the 4 trips and all the amazing people I met. Even though this was technically my job it never felt like it because I genuinely enjoyed coming to work every single day. Hopefully I was able to create and set the bar for something that will last long after I graduate and leave Endicott. I hope was able to make an impact on the lives of each of the students because at the end of the day if I made a difference in the life of even just one student that’s all that matters.

And now the sappiest part of this post. If you didn’t go on Onboard feel free to stop reading here LOL.

To the Onboarders

All I can say is thank you. Thank you for coming. Thank you for sharing your stories. Thank you for all the laughs. Thank you for putting up with me pulling away from handshakes, and giving me sass back after I had given it to you. Thank you for all the kind, or not so kind messages in my booklet. And finally thank you for being you. I never thought I would meet so many great people this summer but each and every Onboard I was blown away with how amazing you all are. I would be proud to call any of you my friends and I am so happy to have you at Endicott. There is no doubt in my mind that you all are going to do amazing things at Endicott and I can’t wait to see you all in the fall! Stay in touch and if you ever need anything you know you can always reach out to Me, Jordyn or Anthony.

My favorite group was.....

To the OA’s

We did it! I’m so proud of everything we were able to accomplish this summer. We had some rough patches but we got through them and we killed it! We each brought our own leadership style and weird quirks and was able to create something truly special that hopefully made all of our Onboarder’s as excited as they said they were to come back in the fall. And I really do thing we were able to accomplish every goal we set at the start. Even though I don’t say it often I do love you guys and I wouldn’t have wanted to do this with anyone else.

Till next time

- Nick Grace

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Nick Grace

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