Hundreds of blinking eyes stared at me as I waited for the final students to trickle into the Zoom room.
Every cohort at Lumiere begins with an orientation, and this was my first time meeting with all of the students in our summer cohort together. I was surprised to find that I was filled with the same nervous excitement as they were.
Orientation plays an important role in the Lumiere experience. So far, students have gone through the application process independently- filling out the written application, doing an interview with Lumiere staff, and confirming their spot in the program with their assigned mentor.
But as with any experience, students are often unsure about what exactly they have waiting for them in the months to come. For many of them, this is their first time doing research. They are curious about the expectations we have of them, and what support they can look forward to in the program.
Orientation helps bring everyone to the same page, and serves as an introduction to the amazing Lumiere community 😍 We begin by putting the students' journey in context - explaining the incredible role that research has played in human history by helping us understand the world better and enabling us to make it a better place.
This leads into an explanation of the program. We introduce them to their incredible support team for the first time - their program managers, writing instructors and directors. We go through the boring logistical bits (someone has to do it! 🤷♀️), including the schedule and where they can reach out for help if they need it
Importantly, we also discuss what is expected of them. At Lumiere, we consider our students to be young scholars who are taking on a serious responsibility in the program. This includes living up to strong academic values, and putting in the nearly 100 hours of work that we expect over the course of the program. This involves professional communication, including learning how to collaborate with an experienced mentor and take ownership over timelines and delays. These are the foundation of any learning community, and the goal is to set them up for success at university and beyond.
And once the serious stuff is done, we get to the most exciting part of orientation - the opportunity to get to know the talented and passionate young people embarking on the journey with them. These introductory activities kick off endless debates on Discord, unexpected connections (we once had two real-life roommates discover that they were both doing Lumiere!) and, hopefully, life-long friendships 🚀