Remain in Good Academic Standing: Know the Academic Standing Criteria

“Whaaat?” you ask, thinking that you haven’t even landed on campus and yet you are being advised to check out the criteria for academic review, promotion, and discipline.  I know—it may seem premature and irrelevant, especially since the Class of 2021 is a class of stellar, high-achieving students, but it doesn’t hurt to be aware of Wesleyan’s expectations for your progress towards the degree (see 8/2 blog posting) and what that means.

Information about Academic Standing and the conditions for Warning, Probation, Strict Probation, Required Resignation, and Separation can be found in the Academic Review and Promotion section of the academic regulations.  It is wise (and your responsibility) to know them, so check out that section (and while you’re at it, the other academic regulations too).

Keep your academics front and center, and use the many resources on campus available to support your success so that you are always in Good Standing and engaged with your work!

Thoughts from a Peer Advisor: Tips and Tricks for NSO

Tips and Tricks for NSO

Welcome to Wes!  We hope you are getting excited to come to campus for New Student Orientation (NSO).  NSO is a whirlwind of activities, new friends, and unique opportunities—but it can also feel like a tornado of messy dorm rooms, strange new buildings, and first-day-of-school nerves that you haven’t experienced since middle school.  To help you manage the wonderful chaos that is NSO, take a look at these tips and tricks:

Exchange phone numbers with everyone!  NSO is a busy time, and it’s likely that you’ll meet someone you get along with, agree to get a meal sometime, and then not run into them for another week.  It is so helpful to have peoples’ phone numbers, especially in the first couple days when you’re still learning how to navigate campus. 

Accept Facebook friend requests from Wesleyan students, even if you don’t know them!  You never know when you are going to need to contact someone about homework, a club, or a campus activity.  It will make your life easier if you’ve established these connections from the start.

Take your key EVERYWHERE.  Get into the habit of taking it with you to the bathroom, laundry, and kitchen.  One accidental lockout can throw a wrench in your plans.  The good news is that if you do find yourself locked out, the RAs and Public Safety are always very understanding and helpful.

Buy containers and shelves that fit under your bed.  Dorm rooms aren’t too big, so making use of this storage space is essential.

Explore your options when buying books for class.  Wesleyan’s bookstore is a great resource for school and dorm supplies in addition to books—and you can pay with Middletown Cash.  However, there are other vendors that offer most of the same books and sometimes at a cheaper price, including Amazon, BookRenter, and AbeBooks.  If you don’t have your books on the first day of class, do not worry.  Professors understand that the first two weeks of school are a “shopping period,” during which students are figuring out what classes they want to take.  Professors will often post the textbook readings online for the first couple of classes, so you do not need to stress about falling behind.

Attend NSO activities!  It’s the “cool” thing to do, I promise.  There is so much to be gained by simply attending these events.  From meaningful conversations about bystander intervention to a gender-bender dance party, NSO offers something for everyone.  These activities are built to give you the resources and confidence to ensure a successful start to the year.  You’ll learn about campus, you’ll make friends, and you’re guaranteed to have fun.

Lastly, but importantly…

It is okay to feel lonely.  NSO is an incredibly exciting time, but being surrounded by so many new faces and new activities might feel daunting.   If you ever feel lost, we can guarantee that you are NEVER the only one feeling that way.  Everyone comes to campus with doubts and reservations, though some might hide it better than others.  One of the most valuable parts of NSO is that it provides a comfortable space to address these feelings.  We cannot promise that you will never feel lonely or homesick.  But we can promise that if you ever do feel this way, you will always have the entire Wesleyan community in your corner, for the next four years and beyond.

Elisa Greenberg ’18, Academic Peer Advisor

Bike Registration: Important for Bike Owners!

College campuses across the country are generally safe places for the students attending them and our campus is no different.  In many instances though, this leads to a relaxed attitude toward personal safety and security measures, and students tend to let their guard down.  A majority of the crimes that occur on campus are crimes of opportunity.  One area we typically see this is in bicycle thefts.  Bicycle thefts have become a growing problem on college campuses and Wesleyan is no exception.  If you bring a bike on campus, please keep the following tips in mind:

  • Always secure your bike with a heavy duty U lock.  Cable locks are easily cut.
  • Use indoor bike racks when possible as opposed to outdoor racks.
  • Secure the bike by locking the front tire and frame to the rack.
  • Use a cable lock in addition to a U lock to further thwart the theft of your bike.
  • Register your bike on campus so your serial number is recorded.

Public Safety will be conducting bicycle registration sessions in September.  Please look for further information when you arrive on campus.

We encourage you to visit our website at www.wesleyan.edu/publicsafety where you can register your bike online.  Our site also contains helpful information about our office and important crime prevention tips.

Always remember, “Lock It or Lose It”!

Celebrate Student Successes with Merit!

The Office of Communications tells the stories of Wesleyan—including celebrating and sharing student accomplishments through the online service Merit. From research and academic awards to study abroad, volunteer work and co-curricular activities, your Merit page is a verified professional profile that we build for you, and that you can share with prospective employers, graduate schools and others. Over the coming years, we’ll use this system to notify your hometown newspaper, high schools and families about your accomplishments. More than 300 colleges and universities around the country now use Merit.

You don’t have to do anything to maintain your Merit page, but if you wish, you can enhance it with a photo, bio, other activities or work experience. You can also connect it to your LinkedIn profile.

You’ll get an email each time we update your Merit page. Follow the link in the email to sign into your page and see what you’ve been recognized for. You can also enter your name into the search box on wesleyan.meritpages.com to find your Merit page.

More information is available here. If you prefer not to participate, you can opt out at any time by emailing studentnews@wesleyan.edu, or responding to the email you receive from Merit. Questions can be directed to Lauren Rubenstein, lrubenstein@wesleyan.edu, in the Office of Communications. We’re excited to promote your success on your Merit page!

Thoughts from a Peer Advisor: Emailing Your Professors

In this age of informal social media, it can be unclear about how to address your professors et al.  The “Hey there” salutation doesn’t go over very well and use of first names comes by invitation.  Check out the following piece  written by former peer advisor, Faisal Kirdar ’14, which remains current to this day.

“Emailing Your Professor”

Of the many essential skills in college, knowing how to write your professor is one that should not be overlooked.  Whether for claiming the last seat in a class, getting answers to course questions, or generally making a positive impression, a strong email can go a long way.  The following is a simple framework from which you can base your own emails.

Starting out: can’t go wrong with “Dear” 

Some say “Dear” sounds overly formal. It’s not! Using “Dear” is the most direct way of showing your professor an essential level of respect. While “Hi” can be appropriate in causal settings with your friends, never use it when emailing your profs for the first time.

Dear Professor Taylor,

Introduce yourself!

If you have never written to or met the professor in question, the best way to start the email is with a quick self-introduction. Keep it basic to things like your name, class year, and major (when applicable).

My name is Faisal Kirdar and I am a Senior majoring in Neuroscience.

Why are you writing?

A good second sentence will get right to the point: why are you writing? This is where you state your purpose. This should also be stated in the subject of the email in no more than 4 words.

I am writing to inquire if it is possible to go over a few course topics; in particular I am having trouble understanding molecular orbital diagrams.

If you have a question, be sure to ask it

Often the reason you’ll write your professors is to ask a question or several questions. It’s important not just to say I am writing to ask you about molecular orbital diagrams; you must also give something specific to which your professor can respond.  If the question is very specific and can be answered quickly via email, ask it. If it requires more interaction, then the question should be geared toward scheduling an appointment to do so.

Is there a convenient time for us to meet this week?

Arm your professor with relevant info

Provide as much relevant information as you can. If you are requesting a time to meet, let them know your availability. This will make it easier for your professor to respond promptly.

I’m available Mondays and Wednesdays from 12-4 PM.

Tell them what you want them to do

Make it even easier for your professor to respond to you by finishing the note with a clear, polite instruction.

Please let me know what time is most convenient for your schedule.

End with a friendly and polite send off

It is important to end the email on a positive note and further demonstrate your respect for the professor. This ensures a strong impression and in some cases encourages the professor to respond more quickly.

**Additional advice from Dean Brown: 

  1. If you haven’t received a response within a few days, don’t hesitate to resend your email with a note recognizing that they have may missed yours in the deluge of email they receive.  Because this does happen, most people appreciate it–I certainly do–when a student kindly brings it to their attention. 
  2. Don’t let an email stop you from contacting a professor, faculty advisor, dean or other source of support.  You can always follow up immediately after class with a professor or go to office hours, which will be posted in course syllabi, on office doors, in their emails, or on department/office websites.  If you can’t make office hours or would like a little more time than those allow (usually they are short visits), let them know that.

New Course Added: Musical Theater Workshop–THEA 279

There’s a great opportunity in the upcoming semester (F 2017) for students interested in making musical theater.   Please note that there are prerequisites, but prerequisite over-rides may be available for students who have the appropriate skill set.  This can be done during the Adjustment period or Drop/Add period after consulting with the instructor.

Tony and Obie Award Winner, Greg Kotis (Urinetown) will be teaching the Music Theater Workshop, THEA 279.

Greg Kotis’s webpage lists this info about him:

Greg Kotis is the author of many plays and musicals including Michael von Siebenburg Melts Through the FloorboardsYeast Nation (Book/Lyrics), The Unhappiness PlaysThe Boring-est Poem in the WorldThe Truth About SantaPig FarmEat the TasteUrinetown (Book/Lyrics, for which he won an Obie Award and two Tony® Awards), and Jobey and Katherine.  His work has been produced and developed in theaters across the country and around the world, including Actors Theatre of Louisville, American Conservatory Theater, American Theater Company, Henry Miller’s Theatre, Manhattan Theatre Club, New York Stage and Film, Perseverance Theatre, Roundabout Theatre Company, Soho Rep, South Coast Rep, and The Old Globe, among others.  Greg is a member of the Neo-Futurists, the Cardiff Giant Theater Company, ASCAP, the Dramatists Guild, and is a 2010-11 Lark Play Development Center Playwrights Workshop Fellow.  He grew up in Wellfleet, Massachusetts and now lives in Brooklyn with his wife Ayun Halliday, his daughter India, and his son Milo.

Additional information about Greg Kotis is at http://gregkotis.com/

Get Healthy, Stay Healthy and Be Involved with WesWell!

WesWell is the Office of Health Education located in the Davison Health Center. WesWell aims to be visible, engaging and support students in living their best, healthy lives. There are many ways for new students to get involved! WesWell’s Peer Health Advocates (PHAs) organize outreach events and interactive workshops throughout the year on topics like: self-care, safer sex, alcohol and other drugs, bystander intervention and even some really unique events like massage for stress relief during finals. In addition, students can meet with professional staff in WesWell for an individual session on a wide variety of topics–all the topics already mentioned and others like, learning how to get better sleep and transitioning to a new environment.

WesWell wants to meet the needs of every Wes student. For this reason, we work hard to support our substance-free students and our students in recovery. If you are a student in recovery wanting to make connections with other students in recovery and/or find resources please email: recovery@wesleyan.edu to get connected.

For more information on WesWell please visit our website: www.wesleyan.edu/weswell

To stay updated on WesWell events and PHA activities please connect with us via Facebook: www.facebook.com/weswell

 

Thoughts from a Peer Advisor: On Being a Student-Athlete

Welcome to Wesleyan! One of the most common questions peer advisors get asked is simply, “Will I have time to get all my school work done if I’m also an athlete?” Being a student-athlete at Wesleyan is an incredibly rewarding and fulfilling way to spend you’re time here, but it can also be stressful. But not to worry! There are tons of resources at your fingertips to help you stay on top of your responsibilities on and off the field (or, for me, in and out of the pool).

Going into my freshman year, my greatest anxiety about starting school came from my fear that I simply would not have the time to finish homework or study for tests while swimming nearly year-round. I quickly realized that the key to balancing my time was to make a detailed schedule at the start of every week and stick to it. I would write down everything that needed to be done for each of my classes at the start of the week, include all the time I had committed to training, and make sure I had time to myself to have fun and relax. You would be surprised at how helpful laying out your schedule can be, especially when it feels like there aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done.

But not everything has to be done on your own. I asked my swim coach if he had any advice or if he could help me stay on top of everything. Communication was key. Not only did he assure me that I was capable of completing everything and achieving goals in the pool, he made it clear that he was as committed to my success in the classroom as he was to my success as a swimmer. He would have my support if I needed extra time to study and had to sit out a practice or if I needed to leave practice early in order to make it to Biology lab. Though it may not even be necessary to have to miss a practice, it is comforting to know that your professors and coaches are not fighting for your time – they are fighting for your success.

But perhaps you are worried less about staying on top of schoolwork and more worried about having some time to yourself outside of the library or the gym. As I’m sure you know, Wesleyan is full of opportunities to have fun and be free outside of both of those venues.  I strongly encourage every student-athlete to try something new! Between theater, music, dance, clubs, and many others, there are definitely ways to divide your time and have fun away from a sports team.

There is no doubt that student-athletes have busy lives. There are times when we have to make sacrifices, but it is always worth it. Not only do we get to be proud of our success in school, but we also have a whole separate part of our life, with a second family, that has our backs. Though having two demanding commitments can be stressful, we (the peer advisors), class deans, our professors, coaches, and are all here to offer support. Our number one goals are to see you achieve and to make sure you’re happy during your time at Wes. I am confident you will do great things as a student and as an athlete! See you soon!

Aidan Winn ’18, Academic Peer Advisor

Reminder–FYM Reading of Citizen by Claudia Rankine

Dear New Wesleyan Students,

Be prepared to share your thoughts and ideas when faculty, administrators, and fellow students engage you in conversation about Citizen: An American Lyric by MacArthur Genius grant-winning poet Claudia Rankine on Friday, September 1 of New Student Orientation.

All information regarding FYM 2021 can be found at: http://wesleyan.edu/orientation/first_year_matters.html.

The themes associated with Citizen are thought provoking and may challenge your thought and beliefs…so please be prepared!  For questions about accessing the text, contact the Summer Interns via 860-685-5666 or orientation@wesleyan.edu.

Enjoy the rest of your summer and we’ll see you in late August.

Kevin M. Butler, Assistant Dean of Students

End-of-Fall-Semester Travel Plans — Hold Off on Ticket Purchase

While it may seem early to be thinking about this, some of you are already looking at plane, train, or bus schedules for a trip back home or elsewhere at the end of the fall semester.  Don’t buy your ticket yet!  Wait until you know your final exam schedule.  While some courses have papers, others have sit-down exams that can be scheduled up to the last day of finals, so you should wait until you have confirmed your course schedule before purchasing any tickets.   You should not assume that you will be able to take your exam earlier than its scheduled time.

Course meeting days/times determine the exam period to which they are assigned.  There are three exam periods a day for three hours each from December 12 at 7 p.m. through December 16 at 5 p.m.

Check out the Registrar’s website for other calendars as well as the academic regulations.