My experience at WesFest was incredibly strange. My host had food poisoning, and I lost my glasses in her messy room. Seniors were drinking champagne in broad daylight, and people were naked in Olin. Yet despite its strangeness, it was a blur of great things and interesting people, and I would do it over again if I had to.
April 17 marks the beginning of this year’s three-day WesFest, when prefrosh swarm campus and attempt to make some big decisions about where they will spend the next four years of their lives. Yet for some visitors this week, WesFest is an opportunity to say goodbye to a school they will ultimately not attend.
Eric Aldieri, a Villanova-bound high school senior, was accepted to Wesleyan and really wanted to go here. However, his final decision took him in a different direction. He decided to come to WesFest to say goodbye.
“I literally fell in love with the place,” Aldieri wrote in a message to The Argus. “I plan on bringing my camera and taking snapshots of faces of some of the most interesting people I meet, just so I can appreciate their stories and memories as I most likely won’t be seeing them again any time soon.”
Some prefrosh, however, have already made the decision to come to the University, and WesFest is simply an opportunity for them to get a taste of what they will experience in the fall. Anna Lu ’17, for example, has no doubts about coming to Wesleyan next year.
“My level of excitement for this fall is beyond what I can describe,” Lu wrote in a message to The Argus. “I constantly find myself wearing all the Wes gear I bought. I still can’t believe I’ll be a part of this in less than five months.”
With all of the excitement, it is easy to get lost in the chaos and forget the purpose of your visit. Hannah Maniates ’16, speaking from her own experience as a prefrosh, offered some sage advice.
“Walk around alone and figure out if the place fits you,” she said. “Walking around can feel strange, but it’s sometimes the only way you can figure out how much you get along with Wesleyan.”
WesFest also offers an opportunity for especially eager prefrosh to get a head start on their Wesleyan experiences. Open houses allow you to meet professors in departments in which you might be interested, club fairs let you get a sense of the groups with which you might one day become involved, and mix-and-mingle events give you a chance to meet others in the same situation as you. If you already know what you want to do during your time at college, meeting professors and getting to know the classes can make summer pre-registration a lot easier. And even though the people you meet during WesFest might not end up being your lifelong best-buddies, it can definitely ease the social anxiety that some people face when beginning college.
You only have so much time on campus during WesFest, so don’t let yourself get bored. Every hour of every day here should be filled with something to do. The WesFest events take a lot of time and effort to plan, and they offer a great way to get to know the campus. Don’t be afraid to approach someone and say hi—everyone is going to be very friendly and excited to meet you. Go out and get to know the campus!
Your host is also a wonderful resource and can answer many of the questions you might have. Ask away: what kind of appliances do I need to bring? Where do I get textbooks? Where are the best parties? Figuring out these things now will make September a little less hectic, and it will also make your host happy that you are so eager and excited. You’re sleeping on hir floor—stay on hir good side!
Make sure to take lots of pictures. WesFest can be a complete blur, and it can be easy to forget all the things you do and see, but taking pictures can help you remember. Also, try your best to pick up the various publications on campus (since you’re reading this in The Argus, you’re already making headway!) and read up on Wesleyan to get a better idea of the student culture. If you’re already thinking ahead to where you might want to live next year, you should take some unofficial tours of various residential halls (most tours will only show you Bennet Hall, which is the most recently built dorm on campus). Many students have strong allegiances to their dorms and will be happy to show you around and try to convince you why theirs is the best place to live.
Lastly, have fun! WesFest was designed to show off the best qualities of Wesleyan, and you only have three days to enjoy them, so take full advantage. Above all, remember that WesFest is only a taste of the experiences you might have as a student here, so don’t let it be the only deciding factor. Enjoy your time here, and good luck in making your decision!