Be an Orientation Leader–App deadline
Apply HERE by March 23rd!
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 email@example.com.
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!
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?
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Enjoy the rest of your summer and we’ll see you in late August.
Kevin M. Butler, Assistant Dean of Students
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.
First Year Matters Reading: Citizen
Claudia Rankine’s Citizen recounts mounting racial aggressions in ongoing encounters in our twenty-first-century daily lives and in the media. Some of these encounters are slight, seemingly slips of the tongue, and some are intentional offensives in the classroom, at the supermarket, at home, on the tennis court with Serena Williams and the soccer field with Zinedine Zidane, online, on TV – virtually everywhere, all the time. The accumulative stresses come to bear on a person’s ability to speak, perform, and stay alive. Our accountability in these situations is tied to the state of our belonging, Rankine argues, as are our assumptions and expectations of citizenship. In essay, image, and poetry, Citizen is a powerful testament to the individual and collective effects of racism in our contemporary, often named “post-race” society.
But what can we, as students, faculty members, staff, and administrators learn from Citizen, and, more importantly, what changes can we make after processing the deep, profound issues and messages that Rankine poses? As incoming freshman, you will take part in an ongoing dialogue with one another and with your mentors about both slight and overt racial aggression, and it is of the utmost importance that you learn how you might be contributing to or fighting back against these aggressions. Take the time to read and process Citizen, make an effort to understand how and why Rankine attempts to expose every day racism, and, most importantly, be ready to discuss this with your peers and mentors.
First Year Matters is an invaluable medium through which we can see whole new sides of issues like racism, and everyone stands to learn something about their own responsibility in our current racial moment. Citizen sheds light on everyday racism, both obvious and hidden, so in your discussions about Rankine’s message (or messages), take the time to appreciate how these mechanisms of racism play a role in your life, or, how they may not.
We hope you enjoy this First Year Matters selection, and we cannot wait for you to be a part of the ongoing discussion of 21st century racism and how we can effect change.
Aidan Winn ’18, Academic Peer Advisor
Summer Sendoff Gatherings! Meet new classmates!
Summer Sendoffs 2017
All members of the Wesleyan community are invited to attend Summer Sendoff gatherings. These casual socials are hosted by alumni and parents and are the perfect opportunity to welcome our newest students and their families to Wesleyan. Sendoffs are currently scheduled for:
Fairfield County, CT, August 10th
Seoul, Korea, July 1st
Added locations, event details, and registration can be found on the Summer Sendoff website.
Questions? Contact Jenna Starr in University Relations at email@example.com
We hope to see you there!
Welcome to Wesleyan,
Class of 2021!!
We are thrilled that you will be joining the Wesleyan community this fall. In preparation for that, you will be receiving two emails today:
1) one with your email address, user name and password from Paul Turenne, the senior associate registrar, so check your spam if you do not receive it; and
2) one with information about the Orientation Checklist from the Orientation Interns, from whom you will be receiving weekly emails every Thursday.
One of the first things to check out after the above are the Learning and Living Seminars. These are three First-Year Seminars where students enrolled in the course also live together in the same residential hall. This living proximity promotes more opportunity for intellectual life outside the classroom, which in turn, enriches discussion within it. Sign-up for a Learning and Living Seminar ends on June 29, so check them out now!