I am here to give you the inside scoop. I mean, I’ve never been one to sugar coat my words —especially in this little column that I feel is my own personal domain, empire, mark on this blessed earth, whatever you may call it —but I also like to think that I am accurate in my speech. Maybe not all the time, of course. I fall prey to exaggeration. Example: I sent this tweet into the world five minutes after being let out of my 8am, “Avoiding all human contact today because half of my face resembles a stuffed caterpillar. It’s like the #wisdoms rerun.”If you are unfamiliar with Twitterverse, let me explain really quick and then we can get on to the real point of this article because heaven knows you are all gripping the edge of your seat and wondering what “inside scoop”I have to offer you. Humor me, alright?
During the course of New Student Orientation (a.k.a. NSO), I managed to somehow injure my jaw and therefore the entire right side of my face is now swollen. Not only does it seriously hamper my ability to chew gum (a daily ritual of mine —Wrigley’s Double Mint), but I shudder to think of the impression I am giving my teachers when I engage in sacred class participation for the solid hour or so that I am in their class. I can’t really open my mouth that well so of course talking is a problem. In fact, it feels like I’ve had my wisdom teeth out all over again. Hence the “#wisdoms rerun”part of my Tweet. And now enter Pepperdine, perhaps the world’s most talkative campus ever to exist. Oh joy.
This is actually the perfect segue into what I have been trying to say for the last two paragraphs and yes I totally planned it that way. NSO injured more than just my jaw. By the end of the weeklong training period, those who participated could tell sagas about their bruises, their bumps, their sore spots, because, and here is the clincher, these NSO volunteers had successfully moved in more than 750 students into their new residence halls. If you live anywhere near Malibu, you may have heard the blessed volunteers screaming, cheering and moving in the New Kids from zerodark thirty until closing time. They wrestled lamps that probably won’t ever get turned on and posters that won’t matter in a year and boxes of random stuff that nobody wants anyway. They welcomed the New Kids to a place we all have learned, in some way or another, home. There was some blood, lots of sweat, and a few happy tears, mostly from the Mothers of the New Kids.
You know what was really amazing, though? These volunteers, we call them “OL’s”or “Orientation Leaders,” never complained. They gave up a whole week and a half of their summer to come to Pepperdine, hear from speakers and directors of programs, and move in the New Kids. I had the privilege to serve as an Orientation Coordinator which means that I’m an OL, but I also help plan OL training as well, and I was continually amazed at the joy that surrounded me. I mean, sure, we did feed them some pretty good meals (like Hawaiian barbecue and Woodranch), and I mean, sure, we may have been the coolest kids ever to hang out with for a week and I mean, sure, we did have our wonderful president AKB come pump us up personally. But still. They embodied our theme of “happiest campus on earth”as a part of the NSO Disney theme. I couldn’t help but be continually overwhelmed by the joy, servanthood and encouragement that crashed around me like so many waves.
I was humbled, truly, to work with those who helped facilitate, empower and release NSO. Shoutout to my fellow Orientation Coordinators: couldn’t have done it without you all and I love you all dearly. Shoutout to my personal team of Orientation Leaders: you made my week. Shoutout to the new kids: you seem pretty cool, but only because my baby brother is one of you and he is actually the best.
So yeah, I guess you could say the “inside scoop”was, well, pretty magical. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t devastated that it was over. As someone who has participated in NSO every year since freshman year, it has become a part of my Pepperdine story. I love NSO for the program, but I love it more for the people it brings together, the bonds it makes, and the excuse to have random dance parties literally every day. Welcome, new kids (and baby brother!) to this year of magic. Long live NSO Disney.
Follow Taylor Nam on Twitter: @nam_nam330