So my year here at SMU started a week early because I was able to take part in the second part of orientation called Mustang Corral as a student leader. Corral is where almost all of the new first years load up in busses and head off to the Texas Hill country for a three-day and two-night retreat. I really loved being a Corral leader for a variety of reasons but the most important being that I felt like I was giving back to SMU. It felt great to be in the shoes of the people who a year ago had helped me get adjusted to SMU and create my new awesome life here. Corral involves lots of icebreaker activities, group discussion time, information sessions about SMU, a Corral olympics (where my over competitive nature took hold), a symbolic candle lighting ceremony, and Club Corral (a dance at the end). It was really incredible to see my Round Up group bond and start to make friends, and I couldn’t help but think about how lucky they are to have four years ahead of them here at SMU. The best thing about attending it as a student (other than getting to know your wonderful Mustang Corral leader) is that you meet SO many of your new classmates, and really come back to campus feeling much more comfortable in your new environment. Further, sleeping in cabins for two nights makes you feel like your dorm room is palatial!
Another part of being a Corral leader was that after we returned, I helped lead a common reading discussion on the book Zeitoun which all the first years (and Corral leaders) had to read. Zeitoun was actually a really interesting book, and I feel like the class of 2014 had a much better book than my class did! The Corral leaders also attended “A Night at the Club” which is an activities fair to help first years get involved, and the Rotunda Passage and Convocation which marks their formal entry into SMU. Seeing the new students getting acclimated to their new lives here on the Hilltop made me both appreciative and nostalgic. The first because I am so glad that I don’t have to go through the adjustment again, and the latter because I’m already sad that I have to leave this amazing place in less than three years now. I don’t want to leave!