The Freshman Chronicles

Is Welcome Week Worthwhile?

Good day to my fellow freshmen and all the other people making their way through the adventure of college. 

I am back with an update for the Freshman Chronicles, a column in the SPECTRUM where we dive into the college experience from the perspective of a freshman. 

As I trudge through this once-in-a-lifetime quest for independence and introspection, I will be providing updates on the highs and lows that come with being a first year. In this entry, we are covering the subject matter of Welcome Week.

When you think of Welcome Week, what comes to mind? Probably something along the lines of making friends, building connections, and minimal assignments, right? 

Well, after contemplating this question and talking to a few of my fellow first years, I was presented with a very different list. This list contained the terms repetitive icebreakers, time-consuming, and, my favorite, Chad videos. 

You see, from what little information I have collected, it appears that Welcome Week hasn’t been getting a great wrap. I have found that more people have made friends through complaining about Welcome Week than by actually being part of it. 

I have been told repeatedly that people didn’t make any friends during the sessions of Welcome Week and that they would have enjoyed at least one free day before the beginning of classes when they could relax and prepare for the academic onslaught they would soon be experiencing. 

I have to say that I agree with both statements but also have a bit of a hot take. I can relate to the statement about wanting a break before being thrown into “the college experience.” 

When I first showed up on campus, I expected that I would get a day to relax, set up my room, get to know my roommate, and cry, but instead, I was thrown into Welcome Week almost immediately after my parents had left and not allowed the time to process the current state of my existence. 

I can also relate to the statement about not making friends during any of the organized social interactions because, although I met a lot of people during Welcome Week, I can’t say I’ve maintained any of those connections. 

The one-minute conversations I had with people over the question of, “If you had a clone, would you get along with them?” never became anything more than a one-minute interaction I had over a very strange question in which the conversation ended after I was given the consistent answer of, “I don’t know.” 

The main idea of Welcome Week may be to benefit freshman and transfer students by getting them more involved and introducing them to many new things upfront, but it can be overwhelming to be expected to adjust to something so different so quickly. 

Now that my whole spiel about the negative attitudes toward Welcome Week is over, I would like to introduce you to my hot-take: I enjoyed most of Welcome Week. 

After I got over the extreme identity crisis I was going through and stopped worrying about how dumb I looked while doing the consistently embarrassing tasks that were supposed to help me “climb out of my shell,” I was able to find enjoyment in the discomfort. 

You see, when you take full advantage of everything going on during Welcome Week, you can actually have a good time. Strange, right? 

I can say that after the few weeks I’ve been in college and had to eat alone, I would gladly take the meals where I sat with my Welcome Week group and discussed the very detailed process we would go through to locate our group leaders house and visit her; or how during Welcome Week, I always had something to do to keep my mind off the unending negativity of the world, which has become part of my daily schedule considering my classes don’t start until 2 PM most days. 

You see, when you take full advantage of everything going on during Welcome Week, you can actually have a good time. Strange, right?

Anyway, all I’m saying is that the bad wrap Welcome Week gets is all due to an individual’s willingness to put themselves out there and try to make the most of the exhausting but also rewarding experience of Welcome Week. Trust me, I know I sound like every authority figure ever. 

Once you come to the understanding that just about no one cares about you on campus,I know it sounds sad, and realize that you are a very small person in a very big world, you will enjoy not only activities like Welcome Week but your overall college experience and life.

Whether it be talking to random people during Welcome Week or putting in that extra hour of studying for an exam, you will undoubtedly reap what you sow. Plus, you never know what will come out of releasing yourself from the construct you have placed yourself in.

The New Radicals sing, “You only get what you give,” in their song, “You Get What You Give,” and I couldn’t say it better. Whether you’re in college or in life, you are going to need to put effort into the things you want to gain something from. 

I hope that my words and advice have been based on true knowledge and ripened with wisdom. Until my next installment in the Freshman Chronicles, I wish my fellow freshman good luck and God’s speed.

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