Laughter is everywhere in the room, and it’s hard to distinguish between voices. A woman on the loudspeaker calls for a coordinator. College students in other tables talk, their voices blending into each others. Food vendors yell over the din, trying to figure out orders.
They had joined two tables together and were sitting in San Francisco State University’s Student Center, an ocean of purple hoods and jackets amidst the dark blue of the carpeting. Their jackets friendly declare, in gold, “Freshman Orientation”, and identify them as Freshman Advisers.
A girl’s voice rises in the gaps of silence in the conversations.“I look really weird with short hair, so I always keep it long,” she says. “Just imagine me with short hair.” In-between them sits a bowl of nachos drowned in guacamole and cheese.
Lulu, a Freshman Adviser, sits at the table, occasionally reaching for the nachos. “It’s really stressful, but you get to be a part of someone’s day”. She’s been an adviser for three summers.
Lulu and her group don’t look stressed, though. She knows how to handle freshman, and how to get through those having a bad day.
Lulu’s major is Marketing. She uses those skills to help on a more personal level with nervous Freshman. “It definitely helps you with people … you get a sense of how to deal with people and with different audiences.”
Unsuspecting freshmen don’t know that they are being analyzed by Lulu, who is learning all the secrets to her trade. According to her, people do things almost unconsciously, without even knowing it. Her interest is in why they do those things, and what it tells you about that person. She is tuned in to these nuances, making it easier to attend to feelings that freshmen perhaps didn’t know they had.
The nachos are quickly lessening in supply, and Lulu snatches one before they’re all gone. “You get to figure out people and the way they think,” she adds.
Lulu uses her interests in the best way that she can, to help others. She is perfectly suited to being an adviser, and seamlessly finds a way to make college a more comfortable place, one freshman at a time.