Monday, November 8th is National First Generation College Celebration Day (commonly shortened to First Gen Day). Wesleyan will honor and celebrate what it means to be a first generation college student with a festive and informal gathering for all members of the Wesleyan community who identify as first gen.
Please join us on Monday, 11/8 from 4:30-6:00pm in the Labyrinth Tent (behind 287 High Street and the World Music Hall). Stop by when you can, and leave when you must. There will be brief remarks at 5:00pm.
I hope your first week of classes has been enjoyable! There is so much excitement in the air as I watch many of you head to classes, stop by various administrative offices and interact with each other on the green outside my office (North College 202).
As I shared with many of you during our Giving Good Advice session hosted by the Academic Peer Advisors during orientation, I want you to consider three challenges this year:
Be Comfortable Being Uncomfortable
Continue to be engaged by participating in class discussions. Introduce yourself to your classmates and to other community members you see in the dining halls. Participate in all that Wesleyan has to offer academically and co-curricularly including the Student Involvement Fair this Friday 9/10 from 2pm – 5pm in the tent behind Usdan.
Be open-minded to new experiences both in and out of the classroom. Wesleyan’s open curriculum is perfect to explore courses in so many disciplines including disciplines that may not be your eventual major. You faculty advisor is an incredible resources for you. For peer support, our Academic Peer Advisors are also a great resource to help you explore various course options; they will host a series of workshops this fall focused on supporting you in your first year – more information to follow soon.
Be comfortable being uncomfortable. You are experiencing so much right now in your transition to Wesleyan; naturally, change can sometimes cause some discomfort. It’s important to recognize you are not alone in feeling this way. There are many resources on campus to support you in this transition including me as your Class Dean. While the transition may not be perfect or may not look like you expected it to, we grow significantly as individuals when we face challenges such as this one – you’re a Wesleyan student now and I am confident you will see much success during your time here and beyond!
I will send you emails and post blogs from time to time to check in. Some upcoming dates to keep in mind:
Writing at Wesleyan Workshop: Friday, 9/10 from 1pm – 2pm (Shapiro Center Patio)
Involvement Fest: Friday, 9/10 from 2pm to 5pm (tent behind Usdan)
The objective of the pre-major advising program is to help first-year students and sophomores think seriously about their educational objectives in the context of the liberal arts education offered at Wesleyan. Together with your faculty advisor, you should develop a challenging and coherent educational plan for the first two years, one that achieves curricular breadth while preparing for the depth that the major will bring in the last two years.
Here are some things to think about as you plan for your first meeting with your faculty advisor:
Breaking the ice. A good way to introduce yourself to your advisor is to tell them about your high school experience. A good way to get to know your advisor is to ask them how they became a college professor.
Know the curriculum. Familiarize yourself with WesMaps and with the websites of departments in which you plan to pursue coursework. What was the logic behind your course pre-registration strategy? Be receptive to questions and suggestions.
Have goals in mind. What are your academic strengths? What are your academic weaknesses and how do you plan to address them? How do you plan to pursue breadth? How do you plan to pursue depth? Share concerns that may affect your success in the upcoming semester. Be sure to make arrangements to schedule your next meeting.
Starting on Monday, August 30, at 8:30 a.m. EDT you will be required to enroll in the University. To enroll, login to WesPortal, click through the yellow alert banner at the top of the page, then click on the “Enroll Me” button. Please be aware that you will not be able to participate in drop/add until you have enrolled in the University. You must enroll in the University by Friday, September 17, at 11:59 p.m.
In addition to enrolling, you must resolve any holds in your list of Action Items. To access your list, go to:
Instructions on how to resolve each action item are provided on the page. Many action items can be resolved with a simple click of the mouse!
All action items must be resolved by Friday, September 10, at 5:00 p.m. EDT. Please be aware that you will still be able to participate in drop/add even if you have unresolved action items (as long as you have already enrolled in the University using the “Enroll Me” button).
Class of 2025 student athletes, it is unfathomable the hardships you have faced in the past year and half as you and your peers tried to pursue the sports that you love. While there is nothing that can be said to make up for lost moments, there are ways to use what you have learned as an athlete to prepare you for the academic rigor of Wesleyan.
Even as a student first, “athlete” remains a crucial part of your identity. The two go hand-in-hand in many ways. Below are some tips on how to best prepare for this upcoming semester with or without an official season impeding on your classes.
To start, time management is a big one. From the classroom to lifting back to the library then to practice and then a review session, your days can become very busy. Thus, it is essential that you find a way to best manage your time. Organization is a key factor of time management. It is so important that you implement some form of planner system or Google calendar to ensure that your classes do not overlap with practices or games.
From that last point, one of the go-to answers when asked by any coach of how to improve in a game is communication. This applies on and off the field. It is imperative that you establish a relationship with your professors early on so that it is easier to communicate for the very minimal times that athletes may interfere with academics. With that, communication with coaches is also part of your academic success and ensuring the prioritization of academics over athletics in special circumstances. Use your coach as a vehicle towards achieving academic as well as athletic success. In succession with the team as a resource, the use of older teammates in helping navigate the cohesion with your sport and classes is a key point of advice. They have experience with the structure of NESCAC athletics and the rigor of the Wesleyan education.
Lastly, success in any aspect of life is contingent upon proper preparation, which includes sufficient fuel and care of the body and mind. The life of a student-athlete is often go go go, which leaves little room for self reflection. It is ok to take a break and give yourself the downtime that you deserve. Ultimately, while you are labeled as a student-athlete on campus, these tips will help you to distinguish between or separate athletics and academics while also establishing a balance with both.
Communication (on and off the field)
Relationships with professors
Use teammates as resources
Use coaches as resources
Separate/find balance with athletics and academics
One of the greatest dilemmas for incoming college freshmen is deciding what to pack and what to leave at home. I am here to help you through this! Packing for your first semester of college is not an easy task, it takes time and preparation. What I would suggest is to create a list of everything you think you may need then divide it into categories. Here are some categories that helped me through the packing process my freshman year…
Category One: Clothing
It is important to remember that Wesleyan is in the North East, and up here we experience all four seasons but when it’s cold, it is cold! During the fall semester temperatures will range from approximately 80-90 degrees to below freezing by the end of the semester. As you arrive on campus it will still feel like summer but don’t forget to pack your winter coat and warm clothes to endure winter in the North East.
You’re probably wondering what type of clothes to pack as well. My best advice is to pack whatever clothes and shoes you usually wear and lots of comfortable clothes. Don’t forget to pack your pajamas, undergarments, and shower shoes. All dorm showers are shared so for hygiene I suggest bringing a pair of flip flops or slides designated for the shower.
Category Two: Dorm Supplies
It is likely that you will be spending a lot of time in your dorm room, so make sure you pack the essentials to make your room as comfortable as possible. All dorms are equipped with a kitchen that has stoves, microwaves, and refrigerators but if you would rather store and warm food in the comfort of your room feel free to purchase or rent a minifridge and microwave for your dorm room. All students are given a twin XL mattress so ensure that your sheets are made to fit this size bed. Also remember to bring pillows as they are not provided. I suggest getting a rug for the floor because sometimes it can get cold. I also recommend getting a desk lamp or reading lamp. It is important to remember to pack towels and all other toiletries that you will use daily.
Category Three: Academic Supplies
Lastly, but certainly not least, remember to pack supplies for classes! I suggest bringing electronics that you feel comfortable doing school work on whether it may be a laptop or tablet; many courses do have components that require electronics. It is very important to pack all of your chargers for respective electronics, but if you forget it’s no problem. You can purchase a charger for almost anything at the Cardinal Tech store on campus. If you’re like me and like to handwrite notes I suggest getting a spiral notebook for each class and pens in different colors to organize your notes! To manage your time I recommend getting a planner or a dry erase calendar board to keep track of your assignments and activities.
As long as you pack the essentials I recommended and take your time during the process you’ll be all set for your first semester at Wes!
Make Wesleyan yours: Find or create your spaces at Wesleyan, whether by joining an a cappella group or by loving your Physics lab. We have over two hundred student groups that you can sign up for. There are also jobs on campus.
Build relationships: Seek out your instructors during office hours. This can be intimidating, but it is how you build a relationship and come to understand the course material better. Get to know your faculty advisor, work supervisor, your class dean, etc., as it’s important for you to know people; it’s also very important for them to know you!
Learn from your classmates and try new things: Your peers have had a vast array of experiences, so make sure you’re supporting one another and growing together. Upperclassmen will be an invaluable resource as you transition to Wes. Also, make sure you try new things! Explore a new language, study abroad in a different part of the world, select a course with a topic that is completely new to you.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help: Wesleyan has an abundance of resources, whether the Writing Workshop, Academic Peer Advisors or Peer Tutors, as well as your Faculty Advisor, instructors and teaching assistants. Asking for help is hard, because it means being vulnerable, but it is essential to your success. First-year students sometimes see asking for help as a sign of weakness, but it is not. Asking for help is really a sign that you can make savvy use of your resources that will enable you to thrive.
Wesleyan has its own culture with its own language: I have built a list of acronyms that might be helpful to you.
Use your time wisely: You will suddenly have lots of unstructured time. Given the COVID situation and the need to practice social distancing, it will be challenging to to find ways to manage your time. High school is extremely structured, down to the minute, which is not the case in college. Now it’s up to you to be mindful of how you’re using your time, whether studying for a test, writing a paper, doing homework, getting to class, etc. Most students use a planner, whether electronic or paper. For example, once you have all of your courses set, you should look over all of your syllabi and then plan out all of the assignments across the semester, as you’ll know when your intense weeks will be. If those weeks include papers as well as tests, try to get those papers done earlier so that you can focus on just the tests during that week.
Make sure that you’re having fun! Find ways to connect with friends. It’s hard to be social when practicing social distancing, but with a little bit of imagination and determination it can be done. Practice mindfulness.
Take care of yourself. Sleeping and eating well, avoiding as much stress as possible, all of these are important aspects of self-care. WesWell offers self-care education, programs and workshops, as does CAPS. We have at Wesleyan the Rule of 7, a guideline that recommends that you can pursue four courses and three activities, but really no more than that.
Don’t let a disappointing grade derail you. If you don’t do as well on something as you had hoped, go see your instructor and discuss where you went wrong in order to improve your performance on the next assignment. A disappointing grade does not mean that you aren’t capable or that the Admissions Office made a mistake (they do not make mistakes!). Make sure that you’re reaching out for help in this moment rather than pulling back, as this has happened to countless students before. Check out the Wesleyan Resilience Project for stories of students who have gained from their moments of challenge.
Your dean is here to help: Dean Leathers is available to you via email or zoom this summer and once the semester is underway. You can schedule a drop-in appointment with her through her Google Calendar, or you can an email her at email@example.com to schedule a meeting if drop-in hours don’t fit your schedule.
When you come to Wesleyan you will have a lot of options as to what to do with your time, maybe more than you’ve ever had. First you have to choose your classes, and then (like me) you might be trying to find a work study job. You could have a varsity sport that’s been a constant in your life for as long as you can remember (again like me) or you could be reinventing yourself as a journalist and joining the team at the Argus, Wesleyan’s student-run newspaper (not like me, but self-reinvention is very cool and big here at Wesleyan).
In this situation, which may feel like a select-all-that-apply multiple choice question with way more letters than are in the alphabet, we suggest that you pick 7 to avoid being stressed, distracted, and unsatisfied. Hence the trademark Wesleyan advice we give to all freshmen: follow the Rule of 7. It will help you maintain stability while you explore a breadth of topics at a place with a LOT of options. Also, keep in mind that this rule narrows as you become an upperclassman and your education becomes increasingly specialized. Each class counts as one, along with anything that regularly demands time and commitment.
I had four classes, a work-study job, the track and field team, and frequent visits to the science library that were more social than studious. Throughout the year I tried to figure out not only what I liked to do with my time but how I liked to manage my time and focus. The Rule of 7 was a sort of backbone for figuring these things out. Coming out of the spring of my senior year I realized that I loved having the extra time that had emerged from all of the cancellations. I got to garden for the first time and really explore horticulture. One day I suddenly became interested in cooking and made fried green olives with tzatziki on the side.
The purpose of this tangent was – I realized that I like to have a more loose schedule because I thrive when I am able to be spontaneous and constantly switch up my attention. So I reserved my “seventh” commitment for that spontaneity. Yes, sometimes I just chatted people up at the library, but I also was able to buy a betta fish one day and create a photo collection of the campus bathroom graffiti the next day. And the Rule of 7 actually didn’t feel imposing, like I wasn’t doing enough for my “career” because I wasn’t in a formally established club. It allowed me to really invest in certain projects or readings for my classes that I had a special connection to, or engage my spontaneity. Its definition of “commitment” is as loose as you want it to be, or as defined. Many of my friends had 7 definable commitments and managed them well because they followed this rule. Maybe you are unlike me and prefer a more tight and predictable schedule – The Rule of 7 can be adapted to you.
Also part of this process of learning about how you navigate time (too existential?) is dropping things so you can pick something else up. An important part of learning is change and readjustment so don’t ever feel like you’re stuck with something. There is the alternative of perseverance, but I don’t have to lecture you on that. I’m just trying to get you to recognize that, though disarray is an important part of life, there are other ways to go about things. And at the risk of cancelling out the rest of this literary masterpiece: Less is more. Don’t join 5 clubs!
The bookstore has all your dorm and school supplies stocked and ready for arrival day! Make your first day on campus easy by purchasing items like linens, command hooks, and appliances ahead of time and picking up your order at Cardinal Tech in Usdan. The Cardinal Tech Campus Store (a branch of the RJ Julia Bookstore) is a required stop during the initial orientation check in. Our linens come with a 4 year warranty through the manufacturer, so if your sheets get damaged or worn, you’ll receive a replacement for free from the company! Shop online here and choose Pick Up At Cardinal Tech for a stress-free dorm shopping experience.