Application Information for Academic and NSO Peer Advisors Now Available

Academic Peer Advisors

The Deans’ Office is looking for talented and motivated students to become Academic Peer Advisors for the 2017-20178 academic year. Academic Peer Advisors are juniors and seniors who work during New Student Orientation (NSO) and throughout the academic year to support Wesleyan’s faculty advising program and enhance student access to academic resources. Academic Peer Advisors will receive training, give individualized peer advice and facilitate workshops for groups of students regarding metacognitive learning strategies, time management, public speaking, study, and exam preparation strategies. The Academic Peer Advisor position description and application can be found at:

http://www.wesleyan.edu/studentaffairs/resources/peeradvisors/peeradvjobdesc.html

NSO Peer Advisors

The Deans’ Office is looking for talented and motivated students to become NSO Peer Advisors for the 2017-2018 academic year. NSO Peer Advisors are sophomores, juniors and seniors who work during New Student Orientation to support Wesleyan’s faculty advising program and enhance student access to academic resources. The comprehensive position description and application can be found at:

http://www.wesleyan.edu/studentaffairs/resources/peeradvisors/NSOPeerAdvisorJobDesc.html

 

Don’t Be Nervous

By Rachel Earnhardt, Peer Advisor

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 780 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?

Yeah!!!!!!!

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 28th and 31st 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.

Finding Balance as a Student-Athlete

By Aidan Winn, Peer Advisor

One of the most common questions peer advisors get asked is simply, “Will I have time to get all my school work done if I’m also an athlete?” Being a student-athlete at Wesleyan is an incredibly rewarding and fulfilling way to spend you’re time here, but it can also be stressful. But not to worry! There are tons of resources at your fingertips to help you stay on top of your responsibilities on and off the field (or, for me, in and out of the pool).

Going into my freshman year, my greatest anxiety about starting school came from my fear that I simply would not have the time to finish homework or study for tests while swimming nearly year-round. I quickly realized that the key to balancing my time was to make a detailed schedule at the start of every week and stick to it. I would write out everything that needed to be done for each of my classes at the start of the week, include all the time I had committed to training, and make sure I had time to myself to have fun and relax. You would be surprised at how helpful laying out your schedule can be, especially when it feels like there aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done.

But not everything has to be done on your own. I asked my swim coach if he had any advice or if he could help me stay on top of everything. Communication was key. Not only did he assure me that I was capable of completing everything and achieving goals in the pool, he made it clear that he was as committed to my success in the classroom as he was to my success as a swimmer. He would have my support if I needed extra time to study and had to sit out a practice or if I needed to leave practice early in order to make it to Biology lab. Though it may not even be necessary to have to miss a practice, it is comforting to know that your professors and coaches are not fighting for your time – they are fighting for your success.

But perhaps you are worried less about staying on top of schoolwork and more worried about having some time to yourself outside of the library or the gym. As I’m sure you know, Wesleyan is full of opportunities to have fun and be free outside of both of those venues.  I strongly encourage every student-athlete to try something new! Between theater, music, dance, clubs, and many others, there are definitely ways to divide your time and have fun away from a sports team.

There is no doubt that student-athletes have busy lives. There are times when we have to make sacrifices, but it is always worth it. Not only do we get to be proud of our success in school, but we also have a whole separate part of our life, with a second family, that has our backs. Though having two demanding commitments can be stressful, we (the peer advisors), class deans, our professors, coaches, and are all here to offer support. Our number one goals are to see you achieve and to make sure you’re happy during your time at Wes. I am confident you will do great things as a student and as an athlete!

 

First Year Matters Reading Response

For those of you who have not yet submitted your response to the First Year Matters reading prompt (due Monday, August 15), Academic Peer Advisor Michael Ortiz has drafted a sample response:

Reading The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander, I caught myself thinking on the connection between ourselves as individuals and the “law”. We see the Law (capital L) and Justice (capital J) as immutable forces, objective and separate from ourselves, operating beyond the psychic planes of social reality, rejecting the body social we engage in and operating on its own kind of plane of reality. This is often the case when we talk about issues such as Black Lives Matter, where the common refute of “All Lives Matter” relies on the idea that the “particularities of race” act independently of the law, that the law operates blindly in the face of these human-built barriers. But the law does not truly exist independent of our fallacies; we are the Law as much as the Law is us. The law, justice, and crime are informed by the very complexities of life that continue to divide us. We devise the laws and interpret them as such, and the ways of thinking that inform our interpretations are the ones that fuel the flames of racism, sexism, homophobia, etc.

As they read and prepare for the discussions they’ll have on campus, I implore students to think critically about their implicit participation in these “objective” structures of thought. We find the law to be “objective” but the reality of it is that we read into the law what we want out of it, and it is in these transactions we make with Justice (with a capital J) that tragic events like the senseless killings of black people across America occur. It is in these transactions that we say things like “well she was incapacitated so was it really assault?” There are many ways the Law, in its removal from the mires of society, becomes merely an extended reality of the horrors of oppression, frightening in its state-sponsored power to imprison and execute, terrifying in its ability to scar. Beyond issues of racism and state-sponsored discrimination, I believe that Alexander’s analysis opens the door to a paradigm that can be applied to various aspects of our lives.

The biggest questions for me going forward will be, how do we work to perpetuate structures of inequality? What does it mean to say “Silence is complicity”? How do we interact with these methods of oppression while remaining separate from them? There are many ways Alexander’s indictment of the prison-industrial complex forces us to reevaluate our interactions with other seemingly “objective” structures of society. These are questions that are frustratingly, maddeningly hard, and I look forward to reading students’ reactions and hearing from them face to face. But I think reading and digesting this wonderful book is an overwhelming and yet necessary first step towards an understanding of how we, as individuals, groups and societies, interact with each other and other things. This question, “How do I participate in this?”, is central to understandings of privilege and the like, and it will be a cornerstone in the path to becoming true cosmopolitan citizens.

About the Academic Peer Advisors

Over the next few weeks and months before you arrive, you’re going to be receiving a lot of emails, and all the information can become confusing. If you have questions, don’t panic. Instead, email the Academic Peer Advisors!

Wesleyan has eight Academic Peer Advisors who work one-on-one with students throughout the year to help with course registration, time management, organization, study skills, note taking, communicating with professors, and more. APAs also lead workshops for dorms and student groups.

The Academic Peer Advisors will be available to meet with you when you arrive on campus to help you finalize your schedules and introduce you to academic life at Wes.  In the meantime, check out their bios, and feel free to email them at peeradvisors@wesleyan.edu if you have any questions.

Placement Exam Information

All new students who are interested in taking math or language courses should take the appropriate placement exams by June 30.  To access the exams, login to your student portfolio and click on “Placement Exams” in the “Orientation News & Checklist” bucket.  You will then be redirected to Moodle, where you can then choose the exams you wish to take.  

Rubye Peyser, an Academic Peer Advisor, offers some helpful advice on the placement exam process:

Meet the Academic Peer Advisors

Academic Peer Advisors provide students with information about the curriculum and course registration and also serve as a source for academic resource referrals. During New Student Orientation, Peer Advisors will be available in residence halls and at different sites throughout campus to help new students prepare for individual meetings with faculty advisors. Peer Advisors maintain a regular presence in the residence halls during the academic year and can be contacted via email to schedule individual advising appointments.

Screen Shot 2016-05-26 at 12.49.09 PMMy name is Jenne Johnson 2018 and my goal as a peer advisor is to enlighten students in important skills such as metacognitive learning strategies, time management, public speaking and studying and exam preparation strategies. In developing these skills, I hope to solidify the success of Wesleyan students in their years to come.  I am a Psychology major and potential neuroscience double-major on the pre-med track and a part of Wes-Mass, and the Mc.Nair Scholars Program.  In my free time I dance on two dance teams on campus; KALALU and X-tacy and enjoy both drawing and singing.  I look forward to meeting each and every one of you and learning about your unique journeys at Wes!  You can send me an email at jjohnson03@wesleyan.edu.

Screen Shot 2016-05-27 at 9.24.03 AMMy name is Genna Mastellone 2017 and I am a senior Government major concentrating in American politics. I am also getting a certificate in environmental studies. I’m involved with fossil fuel divestment, I am a research assistant in the Sociology Department, and I’ve worked on a Second Stage production. I also studied abroad the fall of my junior year studying climate change in Vietnam, Morocco, and Bolivia. I’m very excited to meet you all. Please get in touch with me if you have any questions about your academic plans at Wesleyan at gmastellone@wesleyan.edu. See you in the fall!

Screen Shot 2016-05-27 at 9.28.02 AMMy name is Steven Chen 2018 and I’m from Rancho Bernardo, CA (slightly north of San Diego). I’m currently triple majoring in History, Government, and American Studies, but my major(s?) change on a daily basis. I’m a member of the Men’s Tennis Team, so if you have any questions about being a student athlete or athletics in general, feel free to direct them my way! When I’m not in bed watching Netflix, you can catch me cooking for my friends or exploring the wilderness of the Northeast (there’s not a lot of green in California). I’ve never met a dessert that I didn’t like, I love puppies, and I’m the biggest fan of figure skating you will ever meet. I’m excited and honored to be a Peer Advisor, and I encourage you to reach out to any of the peer advisors with any questions you may have about Wesleyan, or if you just want to chat! Feel free to email me at slchen@wesleyan.edu.

Screen Shot 2016-05-27 at 9.30.32 AMMy name is Michael Ortiz 2017 and I’m from Central New Jersey (right outside Princeton to be exact.) I’m a senior and am a Math, American Studies, and English triple major, so as you can see it’s very easy at Wesleyan to major in completely different things!  As well as being a peer advisor this year, I do a lot of different things on campus; I work with the Sustainability office and have helped run Waste Not! For the past two years. I also work as a Teaching Assistant in the math department (maybe I’ll see some of you in one of my classes!) I’m a member of the Wesleyan Green Fund, which helps fund sustainability-related projects on campus, and am a member of Wesleyan’s Latinx organization, Ajua Campos. This summer, I’ll be working in the city while also beginning work on my thesis!  If anyone has any questions, please feel free to reach out at mortiz01@wesleyan.edu; I’m always down to answer a question or two. Excited to see y’all in the fall and welcome to Wesleyan!

Screen Shot 2016-05-27 at 9.36.12 AMMy name is Rubye Peyser 2018 and I am a junior from Boston, MA. I applied early decision to Wes and have honestly never made a better choice. I am a Molecular Biology and Biochemistry (MB&B) and Spanish double major. As my majors show, I have pretty diverse/random interests. Thankfully, Wes lets me explore a ton of different options. Aside from taking classes (both in and VERY FAR out of my majors), I am involved in a number of activities. I am an Academic Peer Advisor, intern in the office of Student Academic resource, intro biology TA, student researcher in a biology lab, and a sometimes-actress. This coming year I hope to study abroad in Spain.  If you have any questions, please reach out to me any time at rpeyser@wesleyan.edu.

Screen Shot 2016-05-27 at 9.38.47 AMMy name is Rachel Earnhardt 2017 and I am a senior pursuing an Environmental Studies and History linked major. I was born and raised in Raleigh, NC and would be jazzed to talk with anyone anxious about adjusting to New England winters. Here at Wesleyan, I have strengthened my passion for environmental justice, history and writing as well as my enthusiasm for liberal arts education.  On campus, when not in the library, I can be found working at the Writing Workshop; volunteering with WesAGE, the senior center alliance program (a wonderful excuse to play Scrabble with wiser souls); or more likely, power napping. In Spring 2016, I studied away (50 minutes down the road…) at the Williams-Mystic Maritime Studies Program and returned with a renewed passion for protecting the world’s oceans. This fall, I am looking forward to being a student fellow with the Center for Humanities. This year, I am writing a thesis and will seize any opportunity to prattle on about my topic! After Wesleyan, I intend to spend a little more time in the warm womb of academia pursuing a graduate degree, hopefully focusing on environmental justice issues in the United States, before striking out to work in education. Also, I am a major fan of puns, Dansko clogs (functional & fashionable!), Rachel Carson and reading.  If you have any questions about academics at Wesleyan or finding the perfect length of power nap, or just want to talk about shared interests or a mutual love of puns, please do send me some electronic mail: rearnhardt@wesleyan.edu.  Looking forward to meeting you!

Screen Shot 2016-05-27 at 9.42.06 AMMy name is Selena Gonzalez 2017 and I am a Latina born and raised in New York City! I decided to attend Wesleyan University because of the passion I witnessed from the students who go here. I was and still am in awe of the many ways students on campus get involved in what they feel excited about, whether its social justice or participation in various distinguished dance troupes. Students at Wesleyan are part of an environment that promotes creativity and individuality. When I came to Wesleyan, I had no idea how exactly I would fit into the picture. I had no idea what I wanted to major in, what my career path was going to be or even what all my interests were. Due to the fact that I wanted to experience a wholesome liberal arts education at Wesleyan, I spent my freshman year taking a variety of science and math courses alongside English and AFAM classes such as Intro to Latina/o Literature and Intro to Modern African American History. Soon enough, I found myself on the pre-med academic track and I am currently pursuing a double major in Psychology and Neuroscience & Behavior. On campus, I also conduct research in the underlying mechanisms of temporal lobe epilepsy in Professor Naegele’s lab as a scholar of the Ronald E. McNair program, which provides underrepresented students with research opportunities, academic support and guidance for graduate studies. I am also a Senior Interviewer at the Office of Admission, a senior board member of the Student Judicial Board and a student advocate on the Student Health Advisory Committee. I can’t wait to meet you all and please feel free to email me at smgonzalez@wesleyan.edu.

Screen Shot 2016-05-27 at 9.44.55 AMI’m Aidan Winn 2018, a rising junior and an Academic Peer Advisor. I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to work with many of you this coming year, and would love to help with anything from scheduling to time management, or simply just to chat. I can help answer almost any question you might have!  I’m from Northampton, Massachusetts, only about an hour away from Wesleyan. I have an older brother who just graduated from Wes, and a younger sister in high school (Wes is her top choice!). I have chosen to major in Science and Society, a program unique to Wesleyan, and one I have fallen in love with over the last two years. I am student athlete and member of the Wesleyan Swimming and Diving team, an active participant in the theater community here at Wes, and an avid musician. Needless to say, I am pretty busy at Wesleyan, but I have found tons of ways to have fun and connect with other students, and cannot wait to get back to Wes in the fall! If you have any questions, please reach out to me any time at awinn@wesleyan.edu.