Orientation Leaders have a unique and essential role at Boston College. As first-year students familiarize themselves with the Heights, OLs provide much-needed guidance and support. They represent a diverse set of backgrounds, interests, and perspectives, and they come ready to share their experiences, offer advice, and introduce the new class to life on campus. To provide the Class of 2021 with a more personal window into some of these individuals, The Gavel went behind the scenes of this year’s new student orientation. We spoke with a few OLs about themselves, how they execute the role of Orientation Leader, and their experiences at BC thus far.


Jacqueline Lacovara

Hometown: Bronx, N.Y.

Class: MCAS ‘18

Major: international studies, with a minor in Hispanic studies

What made you want to become an OL?

The amount of planning and hard work that goes into orientation and making first year students feel welcome is apparent from the moment you walk on campus. As someone who knew nothing about BC before my own orientation, feeling like I'd made the right choice was important. Knowing there are people (like the OLs) who really love being a part of this place, and who have found happiness in such a diverse set of involvements, is central to making freshmen feel at home. In short, I wanted to be an OL to make the freshmen feel at home.

Besides being an OL, what else are you involved with on campus?

Women's Rugby Club President; First Year Service Program Junior Leader; Student Admission Program Tour Guide; Work-study at the Campus School.

What do you remember most from your own orientation and First Year Experience?

I can't say I remember a lot of the talks or the presentations. I remember those in-between moments, like watching the OLs dance around together in front of a McGuinn classroom to some song they queued up on the computer; my own OL being sincere and intentional in her answers to the anonymous questions; the first time I tried White Mountain's cookie monster flavor...

What advice do you have for incoming freshmen?

Remember that there is no "one way" to do BC.  I dislike giving must-do lists or must-take classes because I feel like students will feel left out or as if they're doing BC "wrong" if they didn't do or involve themselves in certain things. Be proud of whatever it is you take part in.  

In your opinion, what’s one must-take class at BC?

Courage to Know (but if you take something else, that's fine too!).

Where is your favorite hangout or study spot on campus?

The third floor printers of O'Neill.

What is your favorite meal at BC?

Double steak and cheese.

What is your favorite BC tradition?

The SUPERFAN SHIRT!!!!! It is the one thing that all BC students get FOR FREE. We all have it in common, even with alumni and the future students to come. Everyone should wear it on game day because they look beautiful.

Jeremy Espano

Hometown: I’m from Ocilla, Ga., a small rural town with two stoplights where it is illegal to hit chickens with your car.

Class: MCAS ‘19

Major: chemistry—I like to think it’s like magic!

Photo courtesy of Jeremy Espano

What made you want to become an OL?

Honestly Boston College is home to me. This job symbolized an introduction to something that I loved. It gave me the opportunity to welcome about 2,400 newborn brothers and sisters into a new family. Just being able to do that is a dream for me: I wanted to become an OL so that I could show and share my love for Boston College and maybe get some freshmen excited for the next four years of their lives.

Besides being an OL, what else are you involved with on campus?

I work in the chemistry department as an undergraduate researcher, I perform at open mic nights for the Music Guild, and I'm also a conductor of the Boston College marching band!

What do you remember most from your own orientation and First Year Experience?

It’s not what I remember that is most important to me, but instead who I remember: there is this girl who was in my own orientation group (group 019!). Her name is Juliet and we became best friends, and we still are best friends! Whenever I think of orientation, she comes to mind!

What advice do you have for incoming freshmen?

Find a mentor, whether it be a professor or an upperclassman. I found a senior mentor my freshman year, and not only did he help me succeed in the classroom, but he also gave me the love and support I needed in order to make that freshman year transition a positive and smooth one.

In your opinion, what’s one must-take class at BC?

I think that everyone at Boston College should take at least one class that they enjoy, one class that challenges them, and one class that introduces them to something new. There is not one universal “must-take” class—it all depends on the person: who they are and who they want to become.

Where is your favorite hangout or study spot on campus?

There's a little spot on the million dollar stairs where you can sit down. If you wait for the right and exact time you can see all the light posts suddenly turn on. That combined with the sunset creates one of the most beautiful scenes for me at BC.

What is your favorite meal at BC?

I don't have a favorite meal at BC, but I do have a weird meal. Sometimes when I'm feeling really unhealthy I will go to the salad line in Eagle's and grab a bowl of popcorn chicken. I would do it so often that one day the workers there called me popcorn chicken boy.

What is your favorite BC tradition?

Definitely singing "For Boston"!

Matt Aboukhater

Hometown: I am originally from Aleppo, Syria, but now I live in Watertown, Mass.

Class: MCAS ‘20

Major: international studies

What made you want to become an OL?

I wanted to share with the freshmen my dumb mistakes while they were still fresh in my mind!

Photo courtesy of Matt Aboukhater

Besides being an OL, what else are you involved with on campus?

I am a choreographer for Full Swing, part of RHA’s Sophomore Leadership Council, Marketing Chair for the Montserrat office, and will be traveling to Ecuador this coming winter break through the Arrupe program.

What do you remember most from your own orientation and First Year Experience?

I’m a big ice breaker guy, so I remembered and enjoyed those. I also remember the terror of registration for classes.

What advice do you have for incoming freshmen?

Have a hard copy picture of your pets stuffed in your wallet or under your phone case!

In your opinion, what’s one must-take class at BC?

Well, I would definitely say that taking a Perspectives class through the Living and Learning Program is the one. However, only so many people can get those coveted spots in Duchesne.

Where is your favorite hangout or study spot on campus?

Alumni House. The white building in front of Duchesne on the Newton Campus.

What is your favorite meal at BC?

The quesadillas in Stuart dining hall!

What is your favorite BC tradition?

Personally, I’m a big fan of the Newton prom. Who doesn't enjoy a good ol’ prom?

Djanan Kernizan

Hometown: Queens, N.Y.

Class: MCAS ‘19

Major: sociology, with a minor in women’s and gender studies

What made you want to become an OL?

I wanted to become an OL because I love talking to first year students about the different things they’re either nervous about or excited for as they enter BC. It’s so easy to feel alone when you enter such a new and different environment, and I just wanted to be someone that freshmen know they could come to for support.

Besides being an OL, what else are you involved with on campus?

I am an undergraduate staff member in the Boston College Women’s Center. I am also the President and Co-Captain of Females Incorporating Sisterhood Through Step (FISTS).

What do you remember most from your own orientation and First Year Experience?

I remember telling my parents not to come with me to orientation because I thought that wouldn’t be “cool," and then I remember showing up and seeing everyone’s parents there. Thank God my amazing orientation roommate, Lexi, basically adopted me and let me hang out with her family for the entire first day.

What advice do you have for incoming freshmen?

Do what makes you happy and don’t be afraid to try new things. If you’re in a class you don’t like, drop it! If you find yourself hanging out with people you don’t actually like, drop them too! College is honestly the place where you get to finally be your true, authentic self. You get to take classes you’re truly interested in, develop relationships with amazing people from all over the world, join new clubs and organizations, and just discover so much about yourself and the people around you. Challenge yourself by allowing yourself to take advantage of everything BC has to offer.

In your opinion, what’s one must-take class at BC?

One must-take class at BC is Women and the Body taught by Sharlene Hesse-Biber. This class honestly changed my life. The course material was extremely interesting and taught me about many gender-related topics and issues I was unaware of prior to coming to BC.

Where is your favorite hangout or study spot on campus?

My fave study spot on campus is definitely the pretty Bapst Library because I have the attention span of a squirrel and I need everything around me to be still and deathly silent in order for me to focus.

What is your favorite meal at BC?

My absolute favorite meal at BC is the chicken parm panini from Eagle's.

What is your favorite BC tradition?

My favorite BC tradition is ALC Showdown because all the dance teams work ridiculously hard to deliver such amazing performances, and performing in a sold-out Conte Forum with my FISTS sisters right by my side is such an extraordinary and indescribable feeling.

Taraun Frontis

Hometown: Harlem, N.Y.

Class: CSOM ‘19

Major: marketing, with a minor in African diaspora studies

Photo courtesy of Taraun Frontis

What made you want to become an OL?

I wanted to become an OL because I wanted to contribute to the program being a close-to-accurate representation of Boston College. Even though I am not a majority on campus, my identity as a black queer male enables me to show the incoming first year class that there is a good amount of representation and diversity on this campus. There are incoming students that can easily feel "othered," so by having my face as well as a diverse amount of faces as OLs, the stereotypes students have of BC are broken down. In turn, conversations around diversity are ignited.

Besides being an OL, what else are you involved with on campus?

I am the chair of the AHANA Leadership Council (ALC), a Bowman Advocate for Inclusive Culture, a Compass mentor, and one of the social media chairs of the United Front.

What do you remember most from your own orientation and First Year Experience?

I remember my OL being one of the most energized people I've ever met. It was both overwhelming and inspirational.

What advice do you have for incoming freshmen?

My advice to incoming freshmen is to not overthink because it is most likely unnecessary and temporary.

In your opinion, what’s one must-take class at BC?

Everyone MUST take Race, Class, and Gender or any course taught by Professor Shawn McGuffey.

Where is your favorite hangout or study spot on campus?

There is a room on the first floor of Campion that no one knows about—find me there.

What is your favorite meal at BC?

My favorite meal at BC is definitely the pizza at Mac. Any kind is fine with me (except pineapple).

What is your favorite BC tradition?

I'm not sure if this is a tradition, but I definitely love the push for service whether that's through Pulse, service trips, or other organizations. Doing service helps us as BC students become more grounded, and it helps us realize how much of an advantage we have by simply being here. That spirit has encouraged me take more advantage of the opportunities available to me.

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