My Experience as a Corral Guide

For anyone who has been following me on my personal Instagram account, it is no surprise that I was recently a “Corral” guide for SMU this last week. Anyone who checked social media over the four day span was spammed with my probably not-as-exciting-as-it-was-for-me adventures.

And if nothing else, most people were probably wondering what the heck I was doing. Both understandable and justified.

A “Corral guide” at SMU is the equivalent of an Orientation guide essentially, who also oversees “fundatory” experiences that all freshmen are required to partake in as part of a program called “Mustang Corral” prior to school starting. Our kiddos (some of whom are actually my age) got to go to a lovely camp site and learn how to appreciate their dorms through some much-dreaded “roughin’ it” in the great outdoors. Plus, they got to attend a performance detailing what “consent” means. It was awkward in every sense and I got to make sure that they were there for it all.

But, a greater part of my responsibility was to make sure that all their questions got answered and that they would not get lost on their first day of class. I’m hoping I did both successfully….

However, that being said, I think I needed my Corral kids much more than they needed me. I can’t say I enjoy, or even tolerate, being outside in the 90 degree Texas heat or that my hair looked any better after succumbing to the humidity, but in spite of it all, I would do it all over again in a heartbeat. If I am being completely honest though, I don’t know if I could do it with anyone other than my friend and Corral guide partner, Natesa. A girl just needs a gal pal who will bear the burden of holding the spirit stick and take pictures with plants on the field trip to the Arboretum.

We also had a group of freshmen that were honestly so much cooler than me, and never complained despite their visibly tortured expressions throughout Mustang Corral. They just went with it – the lack of AC, the dirt, the “meh” food, and even the shower situation (which isn’t exactly five star). More than that, they gave me so much more than I ever could have imagined. They gave me a sense of purpose, to set a better example, and live by my word.

It is easy to give advice and then not actually follow through with it yourself. But, when you have 12 sets of eyes all looking to you with the expectation that you will show them the way, your word suddenly means more. And rather than simply act like I know what I am talking about – I actually have to know. But I love that. As I move forward from this experience, I realize that the way I approach my third semester matters to someone other than myself. It’s a privilege to say that, but also a responsibility. I’m up for the challenge, and I have no excuse not to be my best self every day.

Am I scared I am going to slip up? Yes – and I already did give the wrong directions to a building on campus. But, with the freshman class we’ve welcomed in, I feel confident they will help me better myself, even if I remain directionally challenged.

Cheers to Sophomore year!

-xo Grace

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