A FOCUS on Life

Stetson FOCUS leaders
Stetson FOCUS leaders
The FOCUS leaders of 2009 show their spirit and style. Jordan Foley: bottom row with sunglasses.

Being a FOCUS orientation leader taught me more about myself than I could’ve imagined. It was fun and exciting to have the chance to impact new incoming students and make them feel more at home.

Jordan Foley
Jordan Foley

FOCUS, for those who might not know, stands for Friends On Campus Uniting Students. The leadership role might look like it’s all fun and games. In all reality, it’s a job that requires the practice of dedication, planning and social skills. You’re encouraged to step out of your comfort zone and meet new people, and you get to work with other campus leaders whom you previously didn’t know.

I tell people all the time how proud I am to have been a FOCUS leader in 2009-10 and 2010-11.

What I didn’t realize, until I ultimately became one, was the impact it would have on my future as a “grown-up.”

I didn’t know about the tools I would gain to handle diverse life situations. My first job post-graduation was in education as an English teacher, which at first seemed like a terrifying profession. During my first year, I kept thinking to myself, “How am I going to teach these kids when I don’t have any life experience just yet?”

I felt like I had nothing to provide until FOCUS came to mind. I thought of all the times spent getting to know the other leaders in the group, working with my FOCUS partner to prepare for great sessions with our “FOCI” (a term for members of one’s FOCUS group) and running on near-empty by the end of FOCUS week.

That’s when I knew that I just needed to have fun learning with my classes instead of lecturing them. After all, it wasn’t just about what I was getting out of the job; it was what kind of experience the students had that counted. I don’t think I would have understood as easily without working with first-year students in FOCUS.

It’s easy to look back and think of FOCUS so fondly. It’s an experience that hasn’t left my thoughts to this day, and I’m sure that won’t change anytime soon.

Everyone has a chance to figure out who they are at Stetson, and I can say without a doubt that being a FOCUS leader helped me do just that.

– Jordan Foley, ’11 Web Editor at Stetson University