For most of our lives we have learned to dread the end of the summer because it meant the beginning of school, awkward first day photos and sitting in hot classrooms for hours listening to lectures and handing in homework. The sight of back to school supplies in stores was enough to make us feel sick. For me, it always felt as if I was just starting to relax and get a tan when, all of a sudden, summer was over.
That changes in college. For the past four years I have enthusiastically anticipated late August because it brings me back to my friends, views of the Hudson and classes I care about. School is more enjoyable studying topics of interest in a fun environment.
For first-year students in particular, the first week back is very unlike those dreaded weeks in high school. Welcome Week provides a series of events to help first year students meet each other, enjoy themselves and get to know the campus. With my involvement as an Orientation Leader I have been fortunate enough to enjoy Welcome Week every year and it always gives me something to look forward to.
Here are some of my highlights from this year’s week:
Saturday is freshman move-in day and by Sunday everyone is already sporting their residence hall pride at the Red Fox Rumble Meet and Compete. Separated into teams by colored shirts, Leo, Champagnat and the Coalition (Sheahan, Marian and Transfer students) compete against each other in different sets of relay games. Dizzy bat is by far the most amusing relay to watch. There’s face paint, giant flags and stereos playing pump up music and you better believe that the winner is taken very seriously.Sunday night is the official end of summer celebration with the Block Party. Once evening sets in, a DJ sets up on the campus green and creates a fun, friendly atmosphere as freshmen and upperclassmen alike listen to music, eat ice cream and meet some people. Once the sun goes down a fireworks show begins over the river. This year my friends and I sat near the train tracks to watch. It was a perfect clear night and the fireworks went off right over our heads.
Pizza and wings on Monday night is always a favorite (even with the Orientation Leaders as we fights for the positions to help out that evening). Local pizzerias come and provide samples of cheese slices and wings so that first year students can taste test and choose a favorite. I’m a huge Giacamos fan and CoCo’s pizza rolls are to die for. But who doesn’t love free pizza in general.This year’s new event was a Common Read discussion on the assigned summer reading of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. It was a great opportunity for freshmen to talk about their reaction to the story and clear up any confusion in anticipation for the upcoming assignments for their First Year Seminar courses. The room ended up being full and discussion lasted for more than an hour, so it was a successful first event.
Attending the events (both the social ones and the couple mandatory ones) is not only a great time but can also win you some awesome prizes. Orientation Leaders are at each event to stamp Welcome Week passports which are handed out to every first year student. Those who get all seven stamps can enter their passport in a prize drawing of which the grand prize is a semester’s worth of textbooks.
The first week at Marist is officially over and so is Welcome Week but we are never short of things to do on campus. To all the first year students, I hope your first week of college has been nothing like those dragging days of high school.
For those who did participate in Welcome Week, please consider taking the time to complete the survey from the Office of First Year Programs: