Welcome weekend for the Class of 2024
I kept reminding my group of 25 first-year students that they are not the only ones who are learning new things this month. I, as a sophomore at UD, am also learning — learning to rewrite my habits and rediscover Dayton in this reality of fall 2020, but without the help of an orientation like the one I was sharing with them as a Welcome Weekend leader.
As leaders at last weekend’s events, we highlighted how to navigate the transition, navigate the different programs and processes at UD, and identify ways to connect with campus resources.
My group of first-year students also have to learn that their future is their responsibility; they have to distinguish their priorities and hold themselves accountable for their choices. That lesson began with ensuring they attended all of our virtual meetings via Zoom and evolved into an internal reflection of how much staying on campus this fall means to them.
When I applied to be a Welcome Weekend leader last fall, the circumstances I envisioned were totally unlike those of today. I anticipated that the job would have its challenges, but added to that are now concerns about keeping masks on and tracking Zoom attendance since nearly all meetings and events were virtual.
Thankfully, not all of it was a challenge. The welcome team did our absolute best to provide the incoming students with resources while also trying to make the weekend as fun as possible. The early morning meetings were necessary, but the evening socials were a blast all around. We hosted musicians, a comedian, dance classes, movie screenings, escape rooms, game rooms and more. I had the incredible opportunity to co-host a “Mafia” game room, which, in the words of my roommate who did not even have to be there “was the most fun [she] had had in a long time.”
I commend the first-years navigating this semester. Adding moving to a new city and meeting new people on top of the COVID situation is just unimaginable. For me, what got me through and helped me succeed as a Welcome Weekend leader were the Student Transitions and Family Planning staff and my fellow leaders on whom I relied so heavily.
Now that Welcome Weekend is over, I am elated to sleep in, but I am looking forward to carrying around my team sign to keep the next batch of Flyers feeling together and connected again next fall.