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

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.

Academic Reflection Essay — Do It!

If you have not had a chance to do your Academic Reflection Essay, located in your “Orientation Checklist & Resources,”  make sure that you complete and submit it in within the next week.  It is a good exercise in processing the past as you think about the future and helps you to focus in on how best to take advantage of your educational opportunities at Wes.

Although essay submission was requested for last month (ahem), this is the chance to get started on the right path.

The Four Competencies at Wesleyan

COMPETENCIES AT WESLEYAN:  Approaches to Consider in Your Plan of Study

Flexible Framework for Considering Competencies

While at Wesleyan, students engage in the deep study of an academic field once they have declared a major, and they develop academic breadth through their general education coursework. In addition, they will also build broad, interdisciplinary skills through all of their curricular, co-curricular, and extracurricular activities. Wesleyan has developed a flexible framework built on four competencies to allow students to engage voluntarily in a process of reflection (both in conjunction with advisors and on their own).

The four competencies:

  • Mapping = navigating complex environments (NCE)
  • Expressing = writing, expressing, communicating (WEC)
  • Mining = quantitative analysis and interpretation (QAI)
  • Engaging = negotiating intercultural differences (NID)

Mapping = Navigating Complex Environments (NCE)

Mapping is defined as the ability to examine the relationship of objects and spaces in the material and imagined worlds. It involves developing tools to create, manipulate, and navigate constructed and natural environments and charting movement through and interactions with space and its consequences.

Mapping courses may include courses across the curriculum, from the arts (e.g., dance, studio art, and art history), to the natural sciences and mathematics, as well as courses from interdisciplinary programs. Example skills include typography, computation, material science, modeling, and mapping.

Expressing = Writing, Expressing, Communicating (WEC)

Expressing is defined as the ability to express thoughts, ideas, and emotions to others effectively and concisely through a variety of media.

Expressing courses are principally but not solely in the humanities, arts, and social and behavioral sciences. These courses assign written, verbal, and creative projects, and performances that help students develop their ability to express thoughts and ideas to others.

Mining = Quantitative Analysis and Intepretation (QAI)

Mining is defined as the ability to use numerical ideas and methods to describe and analyze quantifiable phenomena. It involves learning about the measurement, analysis, summary, and presentation of information, including about the natural world, as well as answering questions, solving problems, making predictions, and testing and constructing theories by employing mathematical, statistical, logical, and scientific reasoning.

Mining courses are principally but not solely in mathematics, natural sciences, and social and behavioral sciences.

Engaging = Negotiating Intercultural Differences (NID)

Engaging is defined as the ability to comprehend and respect diverse cultural heritages and perspectives in relation to their wider historical and social contexts. It involves reading, speaking, or understanding a second or third language (contemporary or classical); gaining experience working, studying, or traveling abroad or in other unfamiliar cultural contexts; and participating in the political and social life of local and global communities.

Engaging courses may include courses across the curriculum, from language, literature, and culture courses, to courses in history, science in society, religion, government, and philosophy, among other areas.

The Advising Guidelines!

If you haven’t checked out the Advising Guidelines, do so ASAP.  Important advice about how to think about your planning your course of study and specific advice about a range of topics.  It includes pearls of wisdom from your class dean–really! ;)–and sage advice from professors and the academic peer advisors.  Selected topics will be featured over the next couple of weeks, and reading now (or again) will reinforce all the good info you know.

Wesvising, a departmental advising tool for the curricular exploration

Use this time to begin exploring the Wesleyan curriculum through WesMaps, Wesleyan’s online curriculum, and Wesvising, as a course selection advising tool.  It is a site developed by faculty members in the different departments, programs, and colleges to inform incoming students about their disciplines and the courses they offer.  Most departments have videos and all departments have helpful FAQs to guide you as you develop your plan of study.

Like most students, you will end up with way too many courses on your planning list, but keep them in mind in case your plans change or you want to take them another semester.

The key word is EXPLORE, as Professor Szegedy-Maszak advises, so take advantage of this time and Wesvising to do so!

Advising Resources & Advice from the Peer Advisors

Advising Guidelines

With over 1000 classes offered in 45 majors, 17 minors, and 12 certificates, students have the opportunity to explore a wide range of fields and topics their first year. While choosing the right classes may seem like a daunting task, faculty advisors and peer advisors will guide you through every step of the process, ensuring that your schedule is balanced and appropriate. For more extensive information on advising guidelines, please visit the New Student Orientation website (http://www.wesleyan.edu/orientation/advising_guidelines.html).

Over the summer, new students will have the opportunity to rank seven first-year seminars and seven introductory courses. All of the course listings can be found on WesMaps (https://iasext.wesleyan.edu/regprod/!wesmaps_page.html). For questions about specific majors or departments, WesVising (http://www.wesleyan.edu/wesvising/) is a great resource with videos and FAQs from every department. Academic Peer Advisors are available to answer questions during the summer. If you have any questions about scheduling, course planning, or major requirements, you can reach a peer advisor at peeradvisors@wesleyan.edu. Class deans are also available throughout the summer to answer questions. Louise Brown is the Dean for the Class of 2021 and you can reach her at lsbrown@wesleyan.edu.

During orientation, all new students are assigned a faculty advisor. Your faculty advisor is responsible for approving your course schedule each semester. When you meet with your faculty advisor, plan to discuss not only your fall semester course plan, but also your educational goals, hopes and concerns at Wesleyan and beyond. During this meeting, you will have the opportunity to make changes (or not) to your schedule during the Adjustment period and Drop/Add. Prior to meeting with their faculty advisor, all new students will also have the opportunity to meet with an Academic Peer Advisor who will offer advice on course registration in preparation for meeting with faculty advisors.

It is never to early to begin thinking about your course schedule. With so many classes to take, the hard part will be narrowing down the courses so that you can create a well-balanced schedule that allows you to explore and hone your intellectual interests. If you have any questions about any step of the pre-registration or advising process, please reach out to an Academic Peer Advisor at peeradvisors@wesleyan.edu.

Stephen Chen ’18

Course Pre-registration — July 10!

On July 10 at 9 a.m., course pre-registration for the Fall semester will open!  Woo hoo!

There will be a pre-reg link in the alert box of your Wesportal.  The upper frame will open in WesMaps, the online curriculum, and the bottom frame will be where you will rank a list of seven first-year seminars and seven intro/other courses.

Students enrolled in a Learning and Living seminar already have their FYS and will see it in their course schedule.  They will need to rank only their intro/other courses.

Posts that follow on the class blog, thoughout July, will include lots of tips and advice about course registration, balancing a schedule, advising guides, and advising tools.  Many of these aids are listed in the Academic Resource bucket of the Orientation Checklist.  For additional information and advice, you can contact an academic peer advisor or Dean Brown or another class dean, each of whom will assist you or connect you with a faculty member.  There are plenty of resources for you as you build your course plan for the fall semester.  Take advantage of them!