New first-year students settle in to life at Wheaton

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Summer has ended and the new semester has begun. For some of us, that means trading our bathing suits for book bags and our piña coladas for coffee.

For the Class of 2018, the long awaited journey to the college years has arrived. It is a time when Wheaton gear can finally be worn around campus rather than through high school halls. Most importantly, it is a time for change.

Transitioning from high school to college can be a big leap. I met with three freshman to hear their stories about their Wheaton experience thus far. Jodi Katz ’18, a freshman on the volleyball team, commented that her transition into college life was much easier with her team by her side. Jodi noted that, “It can be overwhelming at times but practicing gives me an outlet to relieve stress. The team is like my extended family that I can be with.”

Being on a fall sports team gave Jodi the opportunity to come to campus a week earlier for her preseason and get to better know her home for the next four years.

Michael Sadowsky ’18 and Abby Brewer ’18, however, arrived on campus on move-in day with the rest of their class. After being here for two weeks, Michael reflected that the anticipation before moving in made the idea of living on his own scarier than it actually was. For many students, college is the first time they are away from home for an extended period of time.

For Abby, choosing a small liberal arts college was always part of her plan. Coming from a high school graduating class of 90, Abby found Wheaton’s intimate size to be ideal for her. “I really enjoy the class sizes. We are able to receive more one-on-one attention from our professors,” which makes learning more accessible and engaging, Jodi added.

For many years, Wheaton has been very helpful in aiding new students with their transition into college. Wheaton’s CORE program, which stands for Campus Orientation and Registration Experience, is designed to help incoming students feel more acclimated to their new surroundings. CORE offers many different workshops, team-building activities, and guest lectures for new students to attend.

According to Jodi, Michael and Abby, CORE was slightly overwhelming. “I feel like it was too scheduled,” Abby commented. Jodi also commented that some of the activities felt forced and repetitive. “For future years,” Jodi suggested, “I would find it  more beneficial if we had more time in between scheduled activities and more possibilities for group breakfasts or lunches.”

Overall, Jodi, Michael and Abby have found their experience at Wheaton to be new and exciting. At times, it may feel like all of the adjustments to college life can be a bit of a blur, but the path you are now on is progressive and positive.

To all the freshman, embrace the next four years; they are going to fly by. Don’t be afraid to get out of your comfort zone and take risks. Take this time to discover who you are and who you want to be. If you need a place start, remember you are now a Wheaton Lyon. Congratulations and good luck, Class of 2018!