A Welcoming Welcome Week

For many people, stepping into an unfamiliar environment can be both terrifying and rewarding. Moving into college is one of these situations; you don’t know how you are going to make friends, where a building on campus is, or when to eat at Eickhoff Hall. However, in my experience, Welcome Week was able to ease all of the worries that came with moving into college. 

My favorite memories that I made during Welcome Week were those made at the entertainment events. By losing my voice at the silent disco to running back and forth in the Student Center playing laser tag, I had the chance to both make great friends and enjoy myself during the first week of school. There was an abundance of activities to participate in such as acapella concerts, laser tag, Harry Potter Escape Rooms, improv shows, karaoke, picnics, doormat making, tie-dyeing t-shirts, a silent disco, and so much more! What I found to be the key to all of these events is to put yourself out there! Whether it is through joining a team of people you have never met or trying a new activity, these events help with branching out and creating lasting memories. I still laugh with my floormates about the “Dungeon and Dragons player who didn’t know the rules” and we still talk about how impressive the acapella groups were. While it is not possible to attend all the events, the important thing is that you attend as many events as you can in order to explore your new environment. That’s what I did, and it was an amazing decision.

Another amazing part of Welcome Week was the Orientation Leader activities. All of the ice breakers made me feel uncomfortable at first, but they definitely served their purpose when it came to meeting my peers. My floor played various ice breakers including ‘Where the Wind Blows,’ ‘Man Overboard,’ ‘The Name Game,’ and ‘Toilet Paper Questionnaire.’ I strongly recommend participating in these events as they are truly helpful in learning your floormates’ names and getting to know who they are. I also encourage you to go to inter-floor games. Even if you don’t stay in touch with the people you meet during these games, participating allows you to meet additional people. It also gives you a sense of how many people are in the same situation as you are. You also might meet future classmates and have someone to talk to on your first day of class. Orientation Leaders are also very helpful when it comes to asking questions about academics, extra curriculars, or the campus layout. I recommend going on the campus tour that they provide in order to grasp where your classes are for the first day. Orientation Leaders are students who are already familiar with TCNJ so don’t be afraid to ask for help.

The final part of Welcome Week is the educational meetings. These include Community Advisors (CA) meetings, your academic school meeting and Convocation. CA meetings provide a platform to talk about who the building resources are, establish floor wide rules, talk to resources such as Campus Police, and understand room and board policies. These are important meetings to attend as there are often agreements to complete or updates on what is going on around campus.  There is also the academic school meetings, which are mandatory meetings where you can talk to a panel of students that are part of your designated school within TCNJ (ex. Communications and Arts). This is the perfect time to ask questions about classes, how to manage time and stress, what a three-hour or eight a.m. class is like, and any additional questions you may have. The last event is Convocation, the official welcoming into the TCNJ community. The ceremony includes a procession, followed by professor, faculty, alumni, and student speakers that are there to share their wisdom about what college entails. Afterwards, every school breaks off into meetings that include a panel of students from various majors within the school that you can ask questions to. Lastly, students break off into meetings for their majors. These meetings are meant to address any concerns before classes start and give you a preview into academic life at TCNJ.  

Even after Welcome Week has concluded there is no need to panic! There are still lots of activities on campus to participate in. After my Welcome Week, the clubs on campus held events such as ice cream giveaways, karaoke, and painting door signs for your room. Another great way to stay involved is to go to the activities fair. This is an amazing way to connect with clubs that you are interested in and get on their mailing lists for future updates. With Welcome Week the college does an amazing job of getting you started on campus. Then it’s up to you to stay involved and have fun!