Meet Your HOCs
Ashley Chen (Donner)
Hello there Class of 2017+!!
My name is Ashley Chen, and I am the Head Orientation Counselor for the Donner House (also known as the Blue Krew) this year. I am a Senior Business Administration and Decision Science double major from the Bay Area, Northern California. I am beyond excited to meet each and every one of you over this year's Orientation week. You all have worked your butts off to get to this point, and now it is finally happening-you are going to college! What a congratulatory and exciting moment!!
I'm going to let you all in on a little secret of mine-immediately after I submitted my enrollment deposit, I was terrified that I would not be able to find a community to fit into at Carnegie Mellon. This would be the first time I visited the East Coast, and I was scared. I was scared that I would hate the cold (I only owned canvas shoes and flip flops), dislike my classes, and, most importantly, that I would never find people who were like my old friends from home. I heard horror stories from friends who went to college far away from home and found that they were "vibin' on different wavelengths" with people from their schools. However, I had already submitted the deposit, so, being the eternal strategist, my plan was to be someone who I was not-I was going to keep my head down, maybe join a club, but mostly focus on school. Once Orientation started, I found myself slowly becoming myself, and at the end of the week, I had completely forgotten about my plan. I was excited to be myself, meet new people, and learn from them.
Since my own plan failed, I guess my piece of advice to you is this: don't have a plan. Know that Carnegie Mellon University is a place where everyone will eventually find their own communities of comfort. Our school is an open, inviting, and supportive family-ones that will always be at your baseball games and piano recitals, the ones that will always make room at the dinner table for a friend, and the ones that keep you going when you think you can't go any farther. There is no doubt in my mind that you will find a place here at Carnegie Mellon, so be open to any opportunity that comes across your path. You may stumble upon a new passion or hobby, but most importantly, I guarantee that you will find your home.
Sending Blue Krew love your way,
Evan Fisch (Stever)
Welcome Class of 2017!
I’m Evan Fisch, or just Fisch if you prefer, and I am the Head Orientation Counselor for Stever House. I am studying Civil Engineering and Biomedical Engineering, with a passion for molecular biotechnology. Beyond academics, my heart lies with orientation and it is my mission to provide you all with an unforgettable entrance into college. The old folks really weren’t kidding when they said this is the best time of your life.
At Carnegie Mellon you’ll get a world class education all the while making lifelong friendships and doing some awesome things on campus. Most importantly, college is a place where you will find yourself. These next few years are where you will really come into your own. So my biggest suggestion is to open your mind to all of the wonderful things this place has to offer.
I dedicate much of my time and effort towards orientation because it is one of the biggest transitions we experience. Moving away from Highlands Ranch, Colorado after never living anywhere else was an immense challenge. I was intimidated and afraid of this foreign place. Despite my fear, I put reservations aside and dove into orientation head first. After two days I couldn’t have been more excited about my future life at CMU. My experiences during orientation (and during two subsequent orientations as a counselor) have driven me to make it as incredible for you all.
Why am I so excited to meet you all you ask? What is it that makes orientation so great? This place, these people, this experience is the reason for my enthusiasm. Carnegie Mellon saw something in you. Sure, you had stellar scores and all of the extra-curriculars, but there was something much deeper to you than that. They saw someone who would be an exceptional addition to our community. And it is people like you that make this place so great. So it is with great pleasure that I say, welcome to the family.
Carnegie Institute of Technology, 2014
Andy Biar (The Hill):
I may not be the first, and I certainly won’t be the last to welcome you to Carnegie Mellon’s Pittsburgh family. My name is Andy Biar, and I am one of the Head Orientation Counselors for the Hill housing area, which includes Boss, McGill, Welch, Henderson, Hamerschlag, and Scobell houses. I am also a senior in the BXA program, an interdisciplinary program in which I major in Computer Science and Music Technology. This letter contains an introduction to the Hill and an important lesson I learned in my time at CMU.
Introductions. As you may have guessed from the list above, the Hill is the largest group of student dormitories on campus, and in our size we find our strength. We have access to more friends and communities than any other housing area, creating a breeding ground for meaningful relationships across cultures, majors, and social norms. I encourage you throughout this year to prop your door open if you are ever chilling or studying in your room; the friendships that you can make just from people walking past your door can be some of the most meaningful friendships for the rest of your life. No really, I’m serious!
Ok now a lesson. Most students at CMU come from the top 10% of their high schools, but after they arrive, only 10% of them will be at the top of CMU. If you, like thousands of others including me, come to realize that you can no longer meet the standards you held for yourself in high school, then great! For 90% of us it is totally unreasonable to expect to make all A’s, and indeed CMU has so much more to offer you than numbers on your transcript. I found satisfaction in my extracurricular projects, learning to make video games that would eventually be played by thousands of people at CMU Spring Carnival. For you that might mean anything! CMU faculty and staff want you to succeed, and our students form more clubs, communities, and support groups than you could ever get to know. Be yourself; push yourself, and your time at CMU will be legendary.
I look forward to meeting each of you at Orientation, and until then have a great rest of summer!
Ashley Reeder (Residence on Fifth):
Hey Class of 2017+,
Words cannot describe how excited I am to welcome you to the big, dynamic, zany CMU family. My name is Ashley Reeder, and I am the Head Orientation Counselor for the Residence on Fifth, otherwise affectionately referred to as The Rez. I am a senior Chemistry major and Hispanic Studies minor in the Health Professions Program (I am one of those crazy pre-med kids).
I remember almost like it was yesterday when I was receiving this exact letter from my HOCs. I had absolutely no concept of what going through Orientation even meant, or if I really bought into this orientation thing at all. President of this, that, and the other thing, I was certain that I could never be as well integrated anywhere as I had been in high school-- just some little fish in a big pond. Guess what? I couldn't have been more wrong.
I am so incredibly passionate about Orientation because it was the catalyst that helped me to embrace who I really am in the context of this brand new place. It helped me to discover that Carnegie Mellon has so many opportunities to offer and is so full of talented people that it is inevitable that you will find your niche if you are just willing to put yourself out there. I never could I have predicted that I would be a part of planning Orientation week, be on a alternative break trip to South America, or be involved with cancer research. Take the chance, because even if it doesn’t quite work, your friends will be there to catch you. So if I can tell you anything, have no fear and take advantage of every tiny adventure!
Perhaps what I’ve told you seems cliché but soon enough you will be a part of our community and will find out exactly what I mean for yourself. Until then let me just say, welcome to your new family.
Warmest Rez Regards,
Christine Sidoti (Mudge):
Dear Carnegie Mellon University Class of 2017+,
My name is Christine Sidoti and I will be the Head Orientation Counselor (HOC) for Mudge House for orientation 2017! I’m a rising senior double majoring in chemical and biomedical engineering from Long Island, NY.
First off I would like to offer you my congratulations, you’ve made it through high school and are ready for college! At Carnegie Mellon University no less! You’re about to come to a truly amazing place.
When I first set foot on this campus, I had no idea what I was in for. I came here far away from home, not knowing a single person in the city of Pittsburgh, and was excited for this new chapter of life but nervous about going into it alone. As soon as I moved in that Sunday morning in August, I learned that I was not alone at all, and haven’t been since. The people at this school are so supportive and encouraging, and have become such a family to me.
I remember seeing my HOCs on campus that first week, and thinking that I would love to do what they do someday, but also thinking that I would never have a shot at a position that only hires seven people as one of almost 1500 students in my year. Not to mention that among those other students were so many valedictorians, people with perfect SAT scores, and so much more than I thought that I had to offer. But, being part of the CMU family, I was constantly encouraged to go out for things and supported along the way 110%. Three years later, here I am, so proud to welcome you as an HOC myself. It just goes to show that you can do anything that you put your mind to, and Carnegie Mellon University is a great place to learn how to do it. I’ve learned that every single person is admitted to this university for a reason, and that you all have so much to offer, whether you realize it or not.
My advice is to dream big, be yourself, and know that there will always be people at Carnegie Mellon to help you along the way!
Welcome to the family!
Joe Frick (Morewood):
Hello Class of 2017+!!!
My name is Joe Frick, and I am the HOC of Morewood E-Tower! I am a 5th year senior studying Economics hailing from Pittsburgh, PA (Yes, I am a Yinzer through and through). I could not be more excited to welcome you to this wonderful city and to the school that has largely shaped who I am today. Get hyped for your Orientation experience!
I have three pieces of advice to offer to you as you enter some of the greatest years of your life.
1. Redefine how you view success. This is something that took a while for me to grasp. In high school, I defined success primarily through my GPA. However, I have learned that success cannot be measured in a letter grade. Now, if I am able to look back at a given semester and I can honestly say I did everything I could to learn the material, I deem it as a success.
2. Don’t compare yourself to others; you were admitted for a reason. During my Orientation week, I found myself constantly thinking, “Wow, there are so many amazing people here. How could I have ever possibly been accepted to this school?” It is easy and completely normal to ask that question because we are no longer the biggest fish in the pond. However, each student here provides something to the university that nobody else can. You might not necessarily realize what that is yet, but you will over time.
3. It’s better to try than to wonder what if. Some of my greatest experiences at Carnegie Mellon have resulted from me trying things that I never thought I would possibly be involved in. I can’t say that everything I have been a part of ended up being a passion, but I value my experiences so greatly. It has allowed me to meet so many amazing people and take advantage of so many great opportunities.
Get ready for the time of your life! Welcome to the family!
Peace, Love, and Pineapples,
Sun Bin Yim (The Hill)
Well, hello Class of 2017+! My name is Sun Bin Yim, Sun like the sun in the sky and Bin like a laundry bin, a fourth year architecture major from the far lands of Seoul, Korea. I am one of the HOCs on the Hill with Andy and I am extremely delighted to welcome everyone to the Carnegie Mellon Community.
Most of you are probably worried about making friends and living up to the academic standards our school is notorious for. Because you are starting out with a blank slate as a college student, some of you may be nervous about making perfect first impressions. However, I’ll have to break it to you but all this worrying is useless. To be honest, I was not really concerned about making first impressions, workload and fitting in. The only concern I had was whether or not I made the right decision to come to Carnegie Mellon because it was the school I didn’t think I would be attending. But that did not go for long. By the time I was leaving for Pittsburgh, I was full of excitement and joy. Some come to college expecting great things and set extensive plans. However, I came into college with just the hopes of falling in love, no other expectation.
People may think that I was being irresponsible and thoughtless about college and that I was not taking it seriously. But I would like to tell these people that both accusations are false. The important thing was that I came to Carnegie Mellon open minded and took advantage of the blank slate; I decided to be myself and to accepting to anything that came my way. I was able to discover new parts of me, but most importantly I was able to find friends that embrace the old and new sides of me.
My advice to you is don’t think; just go with the flow. You will be surprised in a positive way by what comes your way. Life doesn’t always go the way that you plan it. It may take you down the rabbit hole and sometimes take you up to the top of the mountain. Whatever it may be, just be ready to embrace it!
Welcome to the family!
Sun Bin Yim