Being a freshman can be nerve-wracking, yet we have all been there and survived.
Here at Shippensburg University, orientation leaders hold “Fall Welcome Week” to help new freshmen, transfer and non-traditional students transition to life at SU.
There are different schedules for commuters and residents that include placement testing and informational seminars on how to excel at SU.
The program ran four days this year, from Thursday to Sunday before classes started on Monday.
I do not think there is any need for Welcome Week.
I mean does anyone even go to the activities?
And for those who do attend, what do you really gain?
There are a few problems with Welcome Week.
For one, it is far too long and repetitive to hold the attention of college students.
We are all at least 17 years old and competent enough to get into college, and those who actually need every Welcome Week activity probably will not be at SU for too long.
I think a Welcome Day would suffice.
I also think devoting that time to what the students want to know, not what leaders think they should learn, would be better for the individual gain of new students.
The two scheduled events I attended my freshman year Welcom e Week were ice-breaker-type activities which I sat in rooms with other freshmen and O-Team leaders for about an hour at a time.
We shared the same surface spiel professors use at the beginning of every class on syllabus week.
I think the point was to try and make friends.
“What is your name? Where are you from? What is one interesting fact about you? Come on, everyone has something interesting about themselves!”
I will have you know I made zero friends at Welcome Week and I am not a loner, I have plenty of friends.
We skipped the activities together.
Transfer student, Andrew Boyd, is a second-semester sophomore.
This is not his first go at college.
I asked Boyd if he went to any of the Welcome Week activities.
“I attempted going to one mandatory [meeting] where the resident director yelled at us.
It was quite unpleasant,” Boyd said.
He did not go to any activities after that.
What I do think would be a more effective program, in addition to a “Welcome Day,” is the assignment of upperclassmen type mentors — kind of like a student adviser.
The student could be in your major, maybe two years ahead of the freshmen, and available for any questions or tips the freshmen might need.
It can be intimidating talking to a faculty adviser.
It may be easier to talk to an upperclassmen about what classes to take, with which professors are most helpful, and when to begin internships and the like.
This tactic would be effective for much longer than Welcome Week and I feel it would answer many questions the current program cannot address.
Change is inevitable, and it is something new students at a university all go through.
Change is something that a student needs to handle on his or her own; ice-breakers and over-zealous RDs are not going to help a transition to higher-education go any smoother.