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.
By Rachel Earnhardt, Peer Advisor 2016
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  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 sometime between August 29 and September 1 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.
Class of 2025 student athletes, it is unfathomable the hardships you have faced with your last high school season getting cut short and now your fall season being cancelled. While there is nothing that can be said to make up for those 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.
- Time management
- Organization (planner)
- Communication (on and off the field)
- Relationships with professors
- Plan ahead
- Use teammates as resources
- Coaches as resources
- Separate/find balance with athletics and academics
- Take care of body and mind (fuel)
- Give yourself a break and down time
Dear New Students,
Each year the First Year Matters (FYM) Committee selects a common reading for the incoming class as an intellectual introduction to Wesleyan. Last fall we solicited from the community, texts and other media addressing the issues of race, ethnicity, or nationality. I’m pleased to announce that the committee has unanimously selected The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together by Heather McGhee. McGhee is a Distinguished Senior Fellow and immediate past president at Demos, a non-profit progressive US think tank.
Intertwined with poignant personal stories, and meaningful conversations with Americans from across the United States, “The Sum of Us” offers a wide-ranging perspective about economic and sociological issues and how money influences policy making in Washington. “McGhee examines the role that greed and racism play as it relates to the zero-sum game paradigm—the idea that progress for some comes at the expense of others” (Random House). From the diminished stature of unions to the inability of the wealthiest nation on earth to embrace universal healthcare, McGhee explains that ultimately the “solidarity dividend”—the gains that are realized when people come together across race to accomplish what we simply can’t do on our own—is one surefire way to move us forward…together.
You will receive the ebook through your portfolio in the coming weeks as well as your first assignment–4 questions that you are required to answer. The Common Reading response is designed as a tool for you to begin articulating your synthesis of the book and will be made available to the faculty, staff, and student leaders that will be leading the group discussions during orientation. The submission deadline for the Common Reading responses is 5:00 pm on Friday, August 20. You will need to read the book and submit your response by this date in order to be fully prepared to engage with the material and get the most out of orientation.
If you have any questions, please be in touch with Tanesha Leathers, Dean for the Class of 2025, via firstname.lastname@example.org or the Orientation Interns via email@example.com. We hope that you enjoy this summer “reading” and we very much look forward to discussing the film with you. We are thrilled that you will be joining this wonderful community.
Vice President for Academic Affairs
Kevin M. Butler
Assistant Dean & Common Reading Chair
Course registration at Wesleyan is a three-step process. The first step of this process, which opened on July 12, is Pre-Registration Planning.
During pre-registration planning, you should be selecting courses of interest and ranking them in your preferred order. Be sure to build full list(s) to maximize your chances of getting a desirable schedule during the scheduling process.
Once planning closes, the scheduling process will be run. Your schedule will be viewable on August 6. Once your schedule is available, you’ll be able to prepare for the Adjustment Period, which is the second part of the registration process and takes place August 9-12. During the adjustment period you will be able to make modifications to the schedule that has been assigned to you, pending approval from your faculty advisor.
The third step of the course registration process is the Drop/Add Period, which will take place from August 30 – September 17. During drop/add courses can be added and dropped from your schedule with the approval of the instructor and your faculty advisor.
As the summer progresses, you will receive email for updates from the Registrar’s Office as we enter into each phase of the course registration process.
The following questions might guide your course planning:
- Do I select a course about something I love?
- Do I need to add a gateway course for a department or major?
- Do I need to continue or begin a language?
- Could I explore something new and interesting?
Course planning involves much more than just the subject matter. You should aim for variety in subject as well as the kind, size, format, and time of day of the courses.
There are a few curricular pathways that require special attention, such as pre-health, pre-law and dual degree engineering programs. There is a three-year option. There are three majors that require declaration during the spring semester of the first year: College of Social Studies, College of Letters and the College of East Asian Studies.
Hello to all of you first-year students considering careers in health professions!
As you get yourself ready to prepare for your future application to a health professions program such as medicine, dentistry, optometry, physical therapy, veterinary medicine, pharmacy, physician assistant, nursing, occupational therapy, and any other fields; you need to consider the different facets of your preparation and work on a plan.
To start begin setting goals related to the pre-requisite courses you need to complete alongside the courses for your major. To view a short video on the course selection for health professions go to: http://www.wesleyan.edu/careercenter/students/health/index.html
Here are some other goals you might want to consider:
Draft a tentative four-year plan for courses and include a study abroad experience if that is something you are hoping to incorporate into your educational experience and your future summer experiences
How do you plan to explore your health profession? Consider doing some research online but also starting to volunteer in a clinical setting that involves your health profession
How will you maintain balance in your life and stay healthy?
Plan on gaining some shadowing experiences to observe a provider interacting with patients on a day-to-day basis
Set goals for getting involved with community service here in Middletown
Join a student organization and engage within your campus community
Take advantage of the wonderful and diverse courses available to you
Build relationships with faculty and staff
Personal growth and becoming more resilient
Critical thinking, ethical responsibility, teamwork, cultural competence and scientific inquiry grounded in research
Engage in self-assessment along the way and set goals to comport yourself as a future pre-professional for the health career of your choice
Read the Health Professions Newsletter and attend as many HP Events as you can
Visit with the Health Professions Advisor at least once per semester
Preparing for the health professions is a long process and there are so many other goals I could list here but instead I encourage you to think about any goals you may have that are not listed and incorporate them into your plan
Once you set your goals, begin developing your action plan. As you move forward and have questions, please come see me. I would be happy to meet you and help in any way I can. Once you are on campus, you may set up an appointment on HandShake, or call our reception at (860) 685-2180 or just drop by the Gordon Career Center in Boger Hall (across from Usdan).
There will be an Overview of the Health Professions Coursework on July 27 and a Health Professions Overview for First Years during New Student Orientation (NSO) week. I will also be at the Academic Forum and will have 30-minute drop-in appointments for the first two week of classes. Enjoy the rest of your summer and I hope to see you this fall!
Mildred Rodríguez, Ph.D.
Health Professions Advisor
Scroll down this webpage and read my short bio at: http://www.wesleyan.edu/careercenter/advisors.html
The open curriculum affords every student the freedom to chart their own educational journey through Wesleyan. Because the curriculum is open, there are no required courses at Wesleyan other than the courses required to complete one’s major. Students are expected to pursue intellectual breadth and depth during their four-year course of study, but the open curriculum does not proscribe any set path to achieve this goal. Students are expected to find their own path.
So how do you navigate the open curriculum if there are no guideposts? How do you chart a path through the open curriculum if you don’t yet know where you’re going? This fall Wesleyan will be offering over a thousand courses in dozens of fields of study. How will you decide which ones you want to take?
Peter Gottschalk, Professor of Religion, and Tanesha Leathers, Dean for the Class of 2025, will be hosting an open conversation on how to chart a course through the open curriculum via Zoom on Thursday, July 29, from 11:00am—12:00pm EDT. If you would like to join this conversation, please sign up though this link (Wesleyan login required).
Taking a summer FYS? The Writing Workshop is here to support you! Make a virtual appointment between today and August 27 to meet with a trained peer writing tutor by clicking the “Writing Workshop Account” link under the “Academics” tab of WesPortal. Writing tutors come from all class years and majors and are excited to meet you wherever you are in your writing process, whether you’re working on an essay, a lab report, or anything else. You can expect your appointment to last 45 minutes and to look like a conversation: your tutor will help you address any goals or concerns you bring to your Zoom meeting.
If you’d like the inside scoop on writing at Wesleyan and breaking down the process of writing, come to our First-Year Writer’s Series every other Wednesday from 6-7pm EDT throughout the summer. Join us over Zoom (https://wesleyan.zoom.us/j/9137042697) to meet Wesleyan faculty and students while picking up some new tools for your writing toolkit.
We want to build a writing community outside the expectations that come with assignments and grades–and we hope to see you there!
- July 7: Transitioning to College Writing
- July 21: Brainstorming
- August 4: Integrating Sources and Analyzing Texts
- August 18: Revision Techniques
If you have any questions/comments/concerns feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org .
Many, if not all, of the resources students enrolled in FYS courses will need are online and accessible from Wesleyan’s campus library website.
Wes’s library has a couple of resources it recommends to summer FYS students to help them learn the lay of the land.
Research Essentials is the best starting point, as it explains what the library’s resources are and gives a tour of the library’s website.
The library also has video guides available to help students who want to familiarize themselves with the library’s collections.
And of course, assistance is always available to students in the form of librarians who live to help. Don’t hesitate to reach out if they need anything!
This post serves to introduce you to Wesleyan’s Academic Peer Advisors (APAs), students who work under the umbrella of the Office of Student Academic Resources to enhance students’ access to academic resources and promote their academic success.
APAs are here to serve as a resource to all Wesleyan students and available to address any concerns you may have, ranging from queries about course selection to questions about getting involved on campus! Over the summer, we are available to answer your questions via email (email@example.com). Please don’t hesitate to reach out!
During NSO, which will be taking place mostly virtually before arriving on campus, APAs will focus on helping students plan and schedule their fall semester courses. We are part of a large network of academic support that you will be able to access once on campus, which includes pre-major advisors and deans.
Throughout the entire academic year, we will continue meeting with students individually as well as hosting group workshops. We are as available as students want us to be, whether you’d like to meet once a week, once a semester, or once a year! Also, we are always extra available during the Pre-Registration and Drop/Add periods of each semester, and you will see us work in conjunction with other offices on campus.
In our one-on-one meetings with students, we help with various academic skills like time management, organization, study strategies, and reading or note-taking, as well as with course registration, major planning, and a variety of other academics-related skills and topics.
The APAs are here to enhance your access to academic resources and help you reach your academic goals at Wesleyan. All of our bios are posted on the website (with our emails), so if you read through them and think that you would connect well with a certain peer advisor, feel free to reach out to them directly. Otherwise, as we said before, we are available at firstname.lastname@example.org to answer any and all of your questions that you might have — please do not hesitate to reach out!
While this was just a quick overview of our roles on campus, we are happy to help with whatever we can. We look forward to working with you, and welcome to Wesleyan!