As a senior, Melanie Moon of Crofton remembers how she felt about going to a new place and meeting new people when she started college.
The 2009 graduate of Arundel High School helps new students adapt by serving as a first year orientation guide (FrOG) at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, VA. Check out the fun YouTube video of the orientation where guides perform the annual FrOG dance.
Moon took time out of her busy schedule to answer some questions about her college experience at JMU and what she misses most about Crofton.
Crofton Patch: Tell us what it's like to be a FrOG.
Melanie Moon: I would describe being a FrOG as one of the hardest and most rewarding experiences I have ever had. FrOG week, or 1787 August Orientation as it is formally called, lasts about six days at the end of the summer. On a typical day, I would wake up at 6 a.m., in order to arrive at school around 6:45 a.m., to meet up with my FrOG team (other FrOGS like myself) for breakfast. Then, we would split up and spend the entire day with our first years; from helping them move into their residence halls, taking them to university sponsored events (alcohol awareness and diversity presentations/ academic meetings), eating meals, going to see comedians/magicians/movies on campus, to just hanging out around the dorm. I would then head back home around 1 a.m. most nights.
As FrOGs, we are basically there 24/7 in order to help our first years really adapt to the JMU lifestyle and show what the school has to offer. It was a remarkable experience that truly taught me patience and perseverance, even at times when I felt overly exhausted. 1787 overall provided me with so much love and respect for my school. Seeing my first years get ready for their first day of classes and "leaving the nest," so to speak, was incredibly rewarding and truly indescribable. At the end of the week, I felt so proud of myself that I was able to lead a group of first years and help transition them into college life.
Crofton Patch: Were you nervous as a freshman—how did your experience shape how you help new students?
Moon: I wouldn't necessarily say that I was extremely nervous as a freshman but I was anxious about going to a new place and essentially starting all over. Like my parents I was nervous about making friends and fitting into the college lifestyle. However, my excitement over the process helped me move past the nerves and adapt more quickly.
But, the feeling of "starting over" and being in a new environment without a friendly face has always stayed in the back of my mind. And when 1787 began, I tried to get back into the mind set of how I felt as a first year. Being able to relate to my first years and understand their worries/anxieties was important to me, so I shared a lot of my experiences with them.
Crofton Patch: What do you miss most about being in the Crofton area?
Moon: I mostly miss the familiarity of Crofton—the same streets, neighborhoods, buildings. My family has lived in Crofton for 20 years and I grew up there. All of my childhood memories are in and around the Crofton area and I can say that it is truly a wonderful place to grow up.
My family also goes to , the local Mexican restaurant off of Route 3 weekly, and I miss our family dinners when I'm away at school. My friends and I also love to go to , , Poncho N Pepe's, and the shops around Waugh Chapel.
Crofton Patch: What do you plan to do after you complete your degree?
Moon: My degree is in political science, so I hope to enter into the work place after graduation. I would love to work for a Political Action Committee or possibly the DNC to help raise money/awareness/campaign for future political candidates. My dream is to eventually work in the White House.
Crofton Patch: Any shoutouts or special messages to folks in Crofton?
Moon: To my wonderful family and Jasper Court! And also to some truly inspirational teachers: Mrs. Ashley Yuscavage and Mrs. Sarah Poole—thank you for being so inspiring and always pushing me to be a greater student and person.