Financial Aid Office: Info Session & Money Matters Orientation Workshops

The Financial Aid Office extends a hearty welcome to the Class of 2021!  Our office is responsible for the administration of scholarships, loans and work-study employment. We offer individual loan counseling and financial literacy workshops to interested students and provide guidance on the financial implications involved with taking a leave of absence or studying abroad.  Our office is located on the 2nd floor of North College.  Please feel free to drop by at anytime!  Our office hours are Monday through Friday from 8:30am – 5pm.  You can also reach us by phone at (860) 685-2800 or by email at finaid@wesleyan.edu.

To help you navigate the financial aid process and gain a better understanding of how financial aid at Wesleyan works, please join us for one of our Financial Aid Information sessions being held during orientation.  The sessions will be offered on Thursday, 8/31 at 3pm and 3:30pm in the Woodhead Lounge (next to the Exley Science Center).  Come meet Michelle Jarvis, the Class of 2021 financial aid director!  Michelle will be working with many of you throughout your years at Wesleyan.

In addition to the information sessions, the Money Matters workshop will be held in Exley 150 on Thursday, 8/31 at 2pm and on Friday, 9/1 at 10am.  The Money Matters program will provide you with valuable information regarding the process for securing a job and getting paid!  The session will also provide an overview of your student account statement, noting important billing deadlines.  A review of the charging privileges offered through your student account will also be included.  Open to all students, the Money Matters session is required of all financial aid recipients.

Should you have any questions concerning your financial aid or experience financial challenges throughout the year, please do not hesitate to contact us.  We look forward to working with you over the next four years!

 

Seats Available in FYS Course: Ethnicity, Race & Religion in the Middle Ages

Why does some characters’ skin change color in medieval romances? What did Ghenghis Khan’s family think about Europeans? And why do US white supremacist groups wear symbols from the twelfth-century crusade era? These are all different kinds of questions, but we address them in:

English 153, “Ethnicity, Race, and Religion in the Middle Ages.”

Professor Ruth Nisse     MW 1:20-2:40PM

This course concerns the invention of premodern ideas of ethnicity and race. Our focus will be on a selection of medieval texts dealing with the encounters–real and imaginary–of Western European Christians with other cultures, from the Celtic borderlands to the Mongol Empire. The readings will begin historically with the Crusades and the (often grisly) chronicles written by Christian, Muslim, and Jewish authors. Other genres will include religious polemics, autobiographical narratives of religious conversion, and travel accounts by missionaries, spies, and colonial propagandists. We will also read some later “romances” that re-imagine the crusades in terms of exoticized sexuality, racial transformation, cannibalism, and nationalist fantasy.

Advice from a former Peer Advisor: Don’t Be Nervous!

Peer Advisor Rachel Earnhardt ’17 wrote this for the incoming Class of 2020, but good advice never gets old!

It was in the Container Store, standing among clearance laundry baskets and desk organizing supplies sometime in early August, that I had a *minor* meltdown about starting college. Somehow, browsing for reasonably priced, but sturdy dorm necessities had made college feel so suddenly imminent and terrifying. If you find yourself having a similar experience, whether it be in Target or Bed Bath & Beyond or anywhere else really, I’m here to say that’s completely normal.

If you are totally chill and prepped and ready for college, then I envy you. Likely though, if you have traversed the internet to find this humble peer advisor blog post titled “Don’t be Nervous,” you are feeling anxious or excited or overwhelmed or some combination about starting college and would like to hear from some “wise” not much older soul who’s been there. I hope you find my personal narrative and unsolicited advice reassuring.

Okay, let’s rewind to the weeks leading up to the Container Store Incident. The summer before my first year at Wesleyan, I had my first real job working as an assistant camp instructor at the natural science museum. For several weeks, I stayed gloriously busy doing bug-themed crafts and making dinosaur footprint cookies and leading nature hikes and deliberating about how long I could avoid washing my staff shirt, but then, abruptly, camp ended. And the whole month of August was empty. It stretched out…a painfully open, unplanned void. This unscheduled month meant that I had four weeks with nothing to do other than think about heading off to college.

Let us rewind a bit more to April of my senior year. I had made an exhaustive spreadsheet, titled “The Decider.” With nearly 25 categories (like food, climate, “do I have to take a math class?”, faculty to student ratio, etc) I had meticulously input data about all the schools to which I had been accepted. I had been blessed with several wonderful options, many very similar to Wesleyan. But after careful analysis, Wes emerged as the clear choice. The last (and most important) category of my spreadsheet was titled “good vibes?” Next to other colleges, I wrote things like “too cold” and “too radical.” By Wesleyan, I had written the succinct, but completely confident: “Yeah.”

Yet still, even though I had penned this definitive assessment and highlighted the Wesleyan column in green on the spreadsheet, sent in my deposit, and bought my “Wesleyan Girls: Making Connecticut Beautiful Everyday” shirt, throughout the month of August, I woke up wondering. Wondering about each of the other schools from my spreadsheet, and even ones that I had not even applied to. For example, I had to remind myself that I crossed colleges in the state of Minnesota off my list for a reason (I’m sure it’s a great state, but I’m from the South and I’ve always just pictured a frozen hellscape). In retrospect, I realize that channeling my energy into my college choice stemmed from a general anxiety about going 900 miles away for school, where I didn’t know anyone.

Side note: It was also in August 2013 that I discovered College Confidential, which is sort of the underbelly of the internet. I stayed up for hours consuming the crowd-sourced anxiety about selecting a school and prepping for college. I also read countless Buzzfeed articles and mediocre blogs about the first year of college. *This was ultimately counterproductive and I do not recommend it.

But back to the story, fast-forwarding a bit to late August. After returning several items purchased in the heat of the moment to the Container Store, I had acquired everything on the packing list (and a bunch of things I didn’t need). We packed the car and began the eleven-hour drive from North Carolina to Connecticut.

I arrived in Middletown the day before move-in and led my parents on a tour of my new home. Draped in the flowers of late summer, the verdant campus was even more welcoming that it had been during our first encounter. (Okay, here comes the corny part): As I stood on the top of Foss hill looking out at College Row under the dome of blue sky, I knew that I would have the incredible opportunity to grow in profound ways over the next four years. I had picked a wonderful place to learn and prepare to make positive impact in the world.

I would be lying if I said that every ounce of anxiety evaporated during the first days or weeks or even months on campus. Eventually, I found my community and I can confidently predict that you will, too. Here is a whole paragraph of encouraging, very sincere reassurance:

If you are wondering if Wesleyan made a mistake admitting you: they didn’t. Or if you made a mistake in choosing it: you didn’t.  You are intelligent and capable. You will be surrounded by 780 interesting, smart, creative, idealistic people in your first year class. You will be able to find common ground with plenty of other people (even if you may not find those souls on your hall). It may take a few days or weeks or months, but you will meet friends and find professors with whom you connect. You may get overwhelmed by the coursework or, on the other end of the spectrum, find that some your courses are not what you expected, but there are plenty of people around to commiserate with and more importantly, to provide support and guidance. You will change your mind and your major and likely your haircut several times…and that’s all expected and celebrated!

Because I didn’t know where else to put it—here it is the obligatory list of unsolicited advice about preparing for college/the first few weeks (in no particular order) that you will probably ignore:

  • Go to different club meetings and activities. It might take a little time, but you will meet people who share your interests. I don’t want to minimize your unique personality, but there are plenty of other folks who are interested in science AND movies!! And yes, there will be at least one other person interested in starting a band.
  • Your hall will likely fuse together for a few days. That’s totally normal. Try to expand a little…Ask people from your classes or activities to lunch or coffee or to the Film Series or a WesBAM class. (Please feel free to contact me for other friend date suggestions.)
  • If you are unsure about ANYTHING, reach out to the peer advisors, the RAs, CAPS, OSRL, the deans, your orientation leaders or any the other groovy resources available.
  • Orientation specific: Go to all the events! Maybe you feel like you met your new bae or best friend and you will never hang out again if you separate to go to the meetings….but more than likely, you will learn something important at the orientation event.
  • Real talk: Across the nation, the first two months of the fall semester see an unsettling spike in alcohol hospitalizations. Please, please take care of each other.
  • Your residential advisors and orientation leaders are so excited to welcome you to campus. Maybe you don’t connect with them on a spiritual level and that’s totally fine.
  • ******Academics don’t happen in a vacuum. Your emotional, physical and mental well-being are all intimately a part of your experience and affect your ability to succeed (whatever success means to you). ******

So let’s wrap up. You’ll recall several paragraphs ago I explained that in my spreadsheet, by Wesleyan I had written: “Yeah.” I will now artfully use that as a nice frame for this post.

Is there an expansive network of resources and people (students, faculty, staff, peer advisors, the list goes on…) to support you throughout your Wesleyan journey so that you can get the most out your time here and go on to be a thoughtful and engaged citizen? Is the entire Wesleyan community so jazzed to have you join us?

Yeah!!!!!!!

The title of the post is “don’t be nervous,” but I had plenty of people tell me that and I didn’t listen. If you’re nervous, there’s not much I can say to change that. Nervous or not, either way, you will arrive in Middletown… and more than likely you will thrive here.

So, again, if in the next couple weeks you have any moments of doubt or anxiety or maybe you just get so excited you can’t breath, please feel free to reach out to the peer advisors (or one of the many aforementioned resources).

And of course, I invite you to have a last minute existential crisis in your local dorm supply depot. It can be quite cathartic.

 

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”!

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.

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.

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.