c/o Sumreen Moughal

c/o Sumreen Moughal

Last week, students arrived on campus, kicking off a new and exciting school year. Ready to embrace their academic lives, students rushed to unpack and make the most of their first week at the University.

Residential advisors (RAs) and orientation leaders (OLs) arrived early on campus to prepare for the arrival of incoming students. In collaboration with the Office of Student Involvement (OSI) and the Office of Residential Life, RAs and OLs worked together to create a plan for fostering community spirit among new students and facilitating a smooth move-in process.

“A family would come in, the RAs would [give them instructions on where to go], and then help unload some stuff onto the sidewalk,” Head Resident of the Butterfields Yohely Comprés ’24 said. “So the goal was to get people out of there as soon as possible.”

With the help of the Office of Public Safety, RAs were able to direct students to their dorms and control traffic in the rain. Athletic teams pitched in to help move students’ belongings into their dorms, facilitating a somewhat effortless move-in process.

“The worst part was the rain because it was so unpredictable,” Comprés said. “I do think [aside from that] it was a very smooth move-in because families signed up for a time slot for when they were coming in.”

First-year students encountered the chaos of move-in for the first time, but they also felt the support of the University community in their transition to campus life.

“Move-in day was confusing,” Leo Marin ’27 said. “There were a bunch of athletes who kind of came and brought all my stuff [to my room], which was helpful. A lot of my stuff got wet because I was there during the half-hour slot that it was raining.”

Seniors returning to campus felt the excitement of living in more independent housing arrangements, especially after experiencing COVID-19 during their first year at the University.

“I think there’s [a great sense of] community on Home Ave.,” Alex Stubin ’24 said. “It’s really surreal to be able to live in a house after [living in] Wesleyan [dorms] for the past three years. It feels like when you’re a [first year] you [fantasize] about living in a house your senior year and it’s crazy to actually do that.”

To make the transition to campus life easier, first-year students enjoyed a range of activities and events organized by the OSI as a part of New Student Orientation (NSO), including the Common Moment and WesTalks.

“It was definitely good to be on campus for a little bit, doing activities and sort of forced to interact with people for a couple of days before we got into the academic part,” Maya Nelson ’27 said. “I did like that they kept us pretty busy because I think it would have been much harder if we had to figure out our own plans when we were all just meeting each other for the first time.”

c/o Sumreen Moughal

c/o Sumreen Moughal

Planning for NSO occurs year-round, though planning went into full effect during the weeks prior to move-in.

“Every orientation program has increasingly improved each year and this year was no different,” Director of Student Involvement Joanne Rafferty wrote in an email to The Argus. “Participation and attendance rates were around 95%, it helps when you have a really engaged class! Our OLs were amazing! One of the best teams I’ve had the pleasure to supervise. They were very positive and excited to be in their roles which reflected onto their new peers.”

Partnering with other departments, from the Resource Center to the Office for Equity and Inclusion, the OSI was able to plan various events throughout the week. High attendance rates at these activities cemented hope for an exciting year to come.

“If NSO is any indication, the next few years will be filled with excitement and engagement,” Rafferty wrote. “We saw students open to try new things, share stories during their OL meetings, and really put themselves out there.”

After move-in and NSO, students were quickly thrust back into the swing of readings, classes, and responsibilities, with classes starting on Monday, Sept. 4.

“I sort of forgot that coming back to campus isn’t just hanging out with my friends and I also have to go to class,” Eleanor Hickok ’25 said.

After a summer away from the University, adjusting to campus life was a riveting challenge for students trying to reignite their academic focus.

“It’s definitely weird to get back into the swing of things,” Grant Schechtman ’24 said. “But I’m very excited to be back surrounded by my friends again and to be back in the classroom and engage my mind intellectually once again after not doing that for a whole summer.”

For many new students, juggling the academic and social transition to college life proved to be a lot for the first year at the University.

“I haven’t entirely figured out [if] I like it here yet,” Nelson said. “That’s something I’m still sort of [figuring out]. I think classes have been okay. Socializing has been okay. It’s just a lot of change and a lot of transition. It’s hard to separate my college self from myself before college and also figure out the extent to which I want to do that.”

All things considered, students are anticipating an eventful year of new experiences and transitions.


Jo Harkless can be reached at jharkless@wesleyan.edu.

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