After its third year in the current structure, The Ultimate Knight orientation presentation has taught over 19,000 incoming first time in college students how to: Get Involved, Get Smart, Get Diversified, Get Real, Get Savvy, Get to Work, Get Healthy, and Get Global in order to Get It All Together in their first year as students. At the annual National Orientation Directors Association Conference, The Ultimate Knight presentation was selected as the “National Orientation Directors Association Innovative Program” award recipient.
The Ultimate Knight energetic and engaging program, coordinated by Emily Jensen in the Office of First Year Experience, has seen its success because of the dedication demonstrated by the student presenters. Each year, upperclassmen are selected and trained to present the information to incoming FTIC students, and each presenter has the opportunity to make their own mark on the presentation. These presenters write their stories, film videos and rehearse throughout the spring semester. Over the summer, the formal presentation is given over 34 times. Students who had the opportunity to present The Ultimate Knight have gained a life-learning experience.
Marie Gualtieri and Ryan Locco were the original student presenters in 2010. Gualtieri describes her experience, “To present The Ultimate Knight, I feel as though you must be comfortable with who you are because you tell others your stories . . .and about the tenets and college life. The process itself was like metamorphosis for me. Reflecting upon my college experience, what I stood for, and what I wanted out of my life really did change my path for my remaining undergraduate years. I completely changed my major and had been given opportunities that I would have never imagined. I know that I have gone down a path that would have never existed if I did not present that summer.”
The 2011 presenters were Chelsea Miller, Sean Simon and Joshua Wallace. Miller remembers the information she enjoyed presenting the most: “I learned even more how to be comfortable with presenting in front of a lot of strangers. Telling real stories and really seeing people relate to them made it easier to express myself in front of the large groups. Get Diversified was my favorite tenet to present because it was one of the biggest life lessons I learned my freshmen year. I came to UCF from a small private school, so it was a culture shock to have so many different individuals around me. I shared about how different my roommates were the first summer I was here and how through putting our walls down, we became very close.”
Nick Hehr, Hayden Kaehl and Janae Mason were the most resent presenters during summer 2012. Kaehl describes the fun that they had interacting with students. “I thoroughly enjoyed hearing the student engagements during the presentation. No two [presentations] were ever alike because of the responses that we received to questions, as well as some topics for certain students.”
In the coming summer, Paulina Dubov, Robby Locco and Alison Nadelberg will present The Ultimate Knight. Their work is cut out for them, as the presentation will debut a new series of videos and presentation format. The presenters are up for the hard work though, as Locco explains: “I am excited to present The Ultimate Knight because I want to give a presentation that incoming students will remember throughout their time here at UCF.” Paulina agrees and believes that presenting The Ultimate Knight “will give me the opportunity to make a difference in the incoming freshman’s lives. It will be fun to share my experiences at UCF and hopefully impact other students.”
The office of First Year Experience is in the Division of Student Development and Enrollment Services.