Meet Steph Kroone, a third-year Innis student and last year’s ICSS Orientation Coordinator.
I am a third-year student double majoring in French and English Literature, and minoring in Education and Society.
I feel like at Innis, there is a lot of potential. Being a part of this college for me is about more than the opportunities or resources it has to offer, though I have been fortunate enough to be able to take advantage of those. It’s mostly about being able to find a place in the community, not only as a student, but as a teacher or a leader. Learning is a shared experience, and what the college has to teach us as we grow as students and people, we can add to by lending our voices to the discussion. I feel that Innis, that is, the faculty, the registrar, OSL, the residence, and fellow students, are distinctly receptive to this. They recognize what students have to offer, the roles we play in our own learning, and encourage us to fill in any gaps in our experience. Essentially, Innis isn’t the college itself, its reputation or its standing. It’s all of us. I think that’s something to appreciate.
Oh no it is so hard to choose! I really enjoyed ENG140 with Professor Cruz, PSY100 with Professor Vervaeke, CDN218 with Professor Lesk, and currently FRE441 with Professor Thériault, if I absolutely must name a few.
Outside of class, I am the vice-president of the Rotaract Club of the University of Toronto, which involves mostly volunteer trips in the area and fundraising events for international initiatives. I’m also currently working at ULife as a Campus Organizations Assistant, I teach swimming and lifesaving for the City of Toronto, and soon I will be doing various placements in schools studying child and adolescent development in the field – something I am super excited about!
I was one of two Orientation Coordinators this fall, and it is no understatement to say that, for me, it was a life-changing experience. There really isn’t any other way to describe it, especially as it is such a unique opportunity within the community. In any case, it is definitely not something that I will forget, just as I hope our leaders and incoming students felt at the closing of another Orientation.
The list of things to do is almost endless, but Orientation Coordinators are responsible for envisioning, planning, developing, and facilitating multiple events which sum up to be Orientation. The events are meant to acquaint incoming students with members of their new community, support networks, and academic resources as they take their first steps as a student at the University of Toronto. We are meant to work with the college and all of our leaders – from executives to leaders to dons – to orchestrate a warm welcome and celebration, I would say, to mark this milestone in the lives of hundreds of new students. Luckily, we are not alone in this. Though we come up with the ideas and direct the events, without the college faculty and staff, our leaders, our executives, or each other (shout out to Elissa Morgan, who was my partner in this), Orientation would not happen. So, even though I am sharing this insight today, really these are shared experiences, and I wouldn’t be recounting this without them, so my earnest thanks go out to each and everyone of them.
In terms of how they will reinvent it, every Orientation Coordinator conceptualizes the event differently and puts their own spin on things, so there is really no way to tell. However, given the challenges we had to overcome with the shortened week (it is now only three days at Innis compared to years past), I’m particularly curious to know how they will tackle this challenge. We were the first to have to fit everything into the shortened schedule, and by no means does that mean how we handled it is the only way to do so. I’m excited to see what ingenuity they will bring to the “week”, regardless of the arrangement, as well as what events they will hold, and of course, the theme!
It is a bit cliché, but I would have to remind myself to breathe, and to focus on prioritizing balance in terms of work, school, and play. Like many incoming students, I hit the ground running, and in many ways, I’ve burnt out and lost that spark. My advice is to look at what motivates you, and let that burn slow as an ember. Your fire, your passion, burns longer that way, so you’ll be able to stay motivated for longer while taking care of yourself. So, first-year Steph, take a deep breath and don’t go jumping into the flames. Sit down, relax, get cozy, and roast some marshmallows. Cherish this experience while it lasts, because, goodness knows, it passes fast.