JUNE 1, 2017 | By CHANNING GREEN for the OXFORD CITIZEN
Meme Lee is a rising senior at the University of Mississippi. She is a member of the university’s prestigious Chinese Language Flagship Program and is also majoring in business marketing. The Olive Branch native is currently in her first summer as an Ole Miss Orientation Leader. Lee took time Wednesday morning to sit down with Oxford Citizen Reporter Chaning Green to discuss her work and her time at the university.
How has your experience been at Ole Miss so far?
Meme Lee: I’ve loved it. It’s been such a humbling experience. I say that because not only have I found all the friends I could ever ask for and amazing opportunities, but the people I get to interact with. Besides Orientation, I’m also an Ole Miss Ambassador, so I spend a lot of time in the Admissions Office. Everyone is all about the Ole Miss family, and I really believe that. That’s definitely a big thing for me. I feel at home here. Olive Branch is just an hour away, but I honestly don’t go home much. Ole Miss is my home.
Why Chinese Flagship?
Lee: I was involved in a program in high school that kind of introduced us to what Chinese Flagship was about, but it was really just my dad. He thought it was really cool and that it would be a good fit for me and asked me to look into it. I found out more about it and decided to try it out. I loved it. It’s been amazing. I fell in love with the culture and it the language was easy for me to catch on to. I just went for it.
How did you end up as an Orientation Leader?
Lee: I’ve always wanted to do this. With Flagship, we have to study abroad almost every summer. I had to go the summer after my freshman year and the summer after my sophomore year. But, I didn’t have any required traveling this summer. I was really upset about it because, like most people who do this, I knew I wanted to be an Orientation Leader ever since I met my own Orientation Leader when I first came to campus.
I began talking to people about their experiences as Orientation Leaders and it only solidified for me that I wanted this. So come junior year, no required study abroad, so I just went for it. It just happened. I’m so grateful that I was chosen.
How has your training been?
Lee: Training was amazing. We met every Thursday during the spring semester, and then we had some intensive training about a week before orientation started. It was a lot of hard work and it took a lot of time, but it was so worth it all. It was kind of like a class, but it didn’t feel like that. We got to hear from all these different speakers. They came from different departments all over campus, and it was so cool to hear them speak. It was cool to meet all these different people from across the university who care about this school and who care about the students.
I also really enjoyed getting to know the other Orientation Leaders during this time. We’d all just met each other, and we were so busy with classes, this was really our only time to get together. Every training session felt like a reunion. Every day was a great day. Training was informative, but I definitely considered it a stress relief from other classes and activities.
Do you have any plans for when you graduate?
Lee: Being apart of Flagship, I will spend the year after I leave Ole Miss studying abroad in Nanjing, China. I’ll be enrolled in Nanjing University there. I’ll look for an internship in that August.
What do you love about Ole Miss? What pushed you to want to be an Orientation Leader and give back?
Lee: I love Ole Miss because there was never a time when I felt like I had no one to talk to, both in academics and personal stuff. I could always turn to Martin, my boss for Orientation, or any other faculty and staff. I’m an extrovert. I’m always looking for people to talk to and I get energy from that, so I was always looking for that. I never felt like I was by myself.
Ole Miss has been a home for me to get to know myself. Everything I learned was positive for me and really humbling. I thought about how I would love to be able to open that up for other people. I wanted to be a part of their first experience at Ole Miss and not only give them information about academics, but let them know that we are open-minded and to be open-minded. You’re going to go in looking for these experiences and wanting to meet different people. I wanted to let them know about my personal experiences of how great Ole Miss is and how it’s going to be bigger than what they thought it would be.
Coming to college, you expect to make friends and have all these experiences, but it’s so much bigger than that, especially at Ole Miss. I wanted to do this because I knew I had a great time here, and I wanted people to know how great their experience could be here too. It’s gonna be different, but it’s going to be great.