For many students, the weeks leading up to their first day of college are stressful and intimidating. Students have been told for years that college is nothing like high school, and that shift in environment can cause anyone to freak out. Fortunately, here at IUPUI, Weeks of Welcome helps freshmen cope with the sudden change.
Since its start in 2003, Weeks of Welcome spans over the course of the first three weeks and is designed to help students get involved around campus and in the immediate community, as well as keep them informed about employment opportunities, leadership development, and social events set to happen around campus.
Freshman Michaela Harris started college feeling timid and unprepared. “I was pretty nervous about the workload. That’s probably the biggest difference between high school and college for me, and I also wasn’t too sure about what clubs to join,” she said. However, Harris was reassured after going to several programs during her first two weeks as a Jaguar.
“I felt very welcomed at IUPUI. I met a lot of people through the programs during Weeks of Welcome and through JagVenture over the summer.”
JagVenture is a summer program that allows students to get a feel of campus before school starts, with a focus on leadership training and team building.
Despite already having spent time on campus during the summer, Harris, just like every other freshman, had questions that needed to be answered during her first couple of weeks here on campus.
“None of the students or faculty I met during Weeks of Welcome were hard to work with,” Harris said. “They all seemed to understand that we were new to this and really wanted to help us. Weeks of Welcome was really helpful. I think that even if you didn’t get all your questions answered, they gave us the resources to get an answer at a later time, or from somewhere else.”
Freshman Lynda Bates, a student in the Honors College, said she is definitely noticing the changes between walking the halls of her former high school to making her way around the IUPUI campus.
“I never studied in high school,” Bates said. “I never really had to, and now I feel like I’m studying all the time.” Despite all of the new homework, Bates too took time to soak in all of the opportunities that come with being a Jaguar.
“I went to the involvement fair, and I found some really cool clubs that I might want to be a part of. The Forensics club looks really neat. I think IUPUI did a really good job at making the events accessible to everyone, because they were right in the middle of campus,” she said.
Now that she’s got several weeks of college under her belt, Bates feels that her First Year Success seminar helped her transition into college.
“I would definitely recommend the program, because they really help you understand what it means to be a college student. They don’t hold your hand through anything, but they give you a resource to go to if you ever need help.” College is serious business, but it is also a time to get involved in different subjects that interest you.
Sophomore Kierra Hall shared her thoughts on social media, posting to her Facebook,“If you only take courses related to your major in college, you’re missing the point of college. College is your chance to become cultured. Take a piano class, a foreign language, painting, etc. Do things that make you interesting and can make you a well rounded person.”
One of the goals of Weeks of Welcome is to help you get involved and grow. And, of course, it serves as a helpful reminder to schedule in some fun between study sessions.
“It also helped get me pumped for the Regatta,” Harris said. “Now, I know people, so I’ll be able to hang out with them and talk to people at the race. Plus, during the programs around campus, I definitely learned that the library is probably the best place to study. There’s a lot of places to sit and work, and it’s also the only place right now that I know how to print from.”
Although there is still a full year ahead, and, for freshman, three more after that, many of us are already getting an understanding of what it means to be a Jaguar.
“It’s a feeling that you have a place to belong, and that you’re not alone,” Harris said. “In high school, sometimes you felt that you didn’t have anywhere to go or people to talk to. At IUPUI, there’s so many places to go, and a lot of people to talk to. Even strangers around campus, you can talk to them and have a connection because we’re all Jaguars.”