The Pels

Why You Should Become a Pelican

by Jamie Polson

I’ve been going to Star Island my whole life for the International Affairs conference. Star Island is my favorite place in the world. When I was a kid I always looked up to the staff members (Pelicans). They seemed so cool and so nice! Whenever someone would ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would tell them “A PELICAN!” (This was often met with confusion when I was interacting with someone not familiar with Star Island). I am so grateful that I have had the opportunity to be a Pelican and I hope that you have that same opportunity.

If there is one word that I would use to describe the Pelican experience, it would be “family.” Over the past three summers, I have made some of the best friends that I’ve ever had. I can tell that these are friendships that will last a lifetime. At Star, since you are living with the people that you work with, you get to know them really well. Everybody on the island is so supportive of each other, and wants to see each other thrive. Star Island is a great way to find yourself or reinvent yourself. For instance if you’re thinking of changing something about your appearance or want to go by a new name, it is a very supportive community to try it out on.

I know that living on an island so far away from family and friends can seem daunting and there are times when you miss home, I certainly did in my first year. My recommendation for getting past this, is to try and make many friends as early as possible. Once you find someone that you really click with, that friendship helps to distract you from missing home, and maybe you’ll even find a home in Star Island, like I did.

Another important thing to keep in mind, that Star Island tries to emphasize, is the importance of work-life balance. When you live where you work, it can feel like you are always at work. So make sure to take time out of your day when you are done with work to do something that you really enjoy. Set boundaries with people and let them know if you don’t want to talk about work. There’s a rule at Star that you always have to ask first before asking someone a work related question. Another Pelican tradition is that they celebrate all the major holidays during the summer. For example Christmas is on July 25th, Halloween is on July 1st. The parties are a blast and a great chance to relax after a long work day, and just have fun with your friends, and sometimes dress up in goofy outfits. Every week there is a talent show put on by the Pelicans in order to entertain the guests. It is a great way to show off any performing talents that you may have! Sing a song, do a dance, read a poem, perform a monologue, do stand up comedy, play an instrument! Meals are made by the lovely Kitchen Crew and all Pelicans eat at the same time in “Pel Hall” (which is in the basement of the main hotel). There are also snack options if you get hungry throughout the day, where you can get: Pizza, soda, delicious Lime Rickeys, candy, ice cream, and much more. The wonderful Snackies will give you your food! While the work may be difficult sometimes there is always a way to make it more fun! For example on Banquet Night (which happens once a week at the end of a conference) the Waitrae/dishtrae (the nickname for waitstaff) have “shucking” parties where they all shuck corn together and make it a bonding experience and a fun opportunity to hang out with your work friends. Twice a week the Pelicans have to load all the luggage from a conference onto and off of the island, and all line up from the boat to the truck and pass the luggage to each other. It makes the work go a lot faster and can also be fun. Being a Pelican is a great way to build up your resume. While you may be hired for one job, there are a lot of skills and responsibilities that you take on, which look impressive.

I think that Star Island might have had the biggest impact on who I am as a person. It truly is my spirit’s home. It is where I feel most like myself. Every year when I leave the island I count the days until I am back home, 7 miles out from Portsmouth, NH. But whenever I leave the Island, I try to spread the feeling that Star Island gives me. I will come back! And hopefully, you will too!

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Applications are now open to work on Star Island for the 2023 summer.

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