Wesleyan Women in Science – WesCourses Event 4/9

Come get the inside scoop on classes from juniors and seniors in all of the different STEM majors (no professors allowed!) You can get help thinking about next semester as well as your whole plan for your major, getting involved with research, or any other questions you might have. Join Wesleyan Women in Science remotely on Friday, April 8th at noon! All WesWIS events are open to all genders and majors.

Meeting ID: 997 1629 0964

Drop-In Meetings with Dean Phillips

When classes are in session, Dean Phillips offers drop-in meetings on a daily basis (Eastern Time):

Mondays, 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Tuesdays, 3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Wednesdays, 5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Thursday, 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon
Fridays, 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Drop-in meetings can be scheduled through this link:

https://calendly.com/dphillips2024

If you need to schedule a meeting outside of drop-in hours, send Dean Phillips an email letting him know your availability and he will get back to you with an appointment.

Getting and Giving Good Advice: A Conversation between Dean Phillips and the Academic Peer Advisors

This Friday, August 21, from 12:00 noon to 1:00 p.m. EDT, Dean Phillips and the Academic Peer Advisors will be hosting a Zoom panel on the topic of “Getting and Giving Good Advice.”

Life at Wesleyan, as with life in general, is full of ups and downs, which is why every Wesleyan student needs to know where to find help on campus, whether for themselves or for a friend.  During this Zoom session, Dean Phillips and APAs Darshana Banka ‘22, Anya Kisicki ‘22, Chaiyeon Lee ‘22, and Andi Wiley ‘22 will discuss the variety of academic and personal support services that are available to students, and will give advice on how to recognize when you or a friend could benefit from asking for help.

The recorded session can be viewed through this link:

https://wesleyan.zoom.us/rec/share/_-pTK5TL1ztLTI3G90r2VaonP42-eaa81HdP-PcJmEvm2gfnTzX2eiZ03qmT3-O0

Preparing to Meet your Faculty Advisor

The objective of the pre-major advising program is to help first-year students and sophomores think seriously about their educational objectives in the context of the liberal arts education offered at Wesleyan. Together with your faculty advisor, you should develop a challenging and coherent educational plan for the first two years, one that achieves curricular breadth while preparing for the depth that the major will bring in the last two years.

Here are some things to think about as you plan for your first meeting with your faculty advisor:

  • Breaking the ice. A good way to introduce yourself to your advisor is to tell them about your high school experience. A good way to get to know your advisor is to ask them how they became a college professor.
  • Know the curriculum. Familiarize yourself with WesMaps and with the websites of departments in which you plan to pursue coursework. What was the logic behind your course pre-registration strategy?  Be receptive to questions and suggestions.
  • Have goals in mind. What are your academic strengths?  What are your academic weaknesses and how do you plan to address them?  How do you plan to pursue breadth? How do you plan to pursue depth? Share concerns that may affect your success in the upcoming semester.  Be sure to make arrangements to schedule your next meeting.

For more information, please see the Faculty and Student Advising Handbook.

Health Professions Town Hall

PRESENTED BY: Mildred Rodríguez, PhD, Health Professions Advisor

Thursday, 13 August 2020
11:00 AM – 12:00 PM (Eastern Standard Time)

Register in advance for this meeting:
https://wesleyan.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJYsc-mtrjIvGNcSHyRPjXXvakOmB4uSru8e

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Are you planning on pursuing a health profession program in the future and have questions about courses, whether you should be volunteering or doing community service in the summer, will you be able to study abroad, why a GAP year might be beneficial, when you should start studying for the MCAT or DAT, or any number of other inquiries, come and join the Health Professions Advisor, Mildred Rodríguez, PhD,  for an open forum to ask and discuss anything related to your goals in attending a health professional program in the future. Currently at Wesleyan, there are students considering dentistry, optometry, nursing, allopathic and osteopathic medicine, veterinary medicine, public health, physical therapy and physician assistant programs; you are all welcome to come and ask your questions.

Presented by the Gordon Career Center

Co-Sponsored by the American Medical Student Association, Wesleyan Chapter
Co-Sponsored by Minority Association of Premedical Students, Wesleyan Chapter
Co-Sponsored by the National Organization on Rare Diseases Student Association of Connecticut
Co-Sponsored by the Wesleyan Pre-Veterinary Medicine

The NSO Health Professions Overview

PRESENTED BY: Mildred Rodríguez, PhD, Health Professions Advisor

Wednesday, 5 August 2020
11:00 AM – 12:00 PM (Eastern Standard Time)

Register in advance for this meeting
https://wesleyan.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJMtdu-rrzwqGdZwKDtB0_DPzIsXnS3N6yYt 

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

This presentation is an important introduction to anyone who is preparing for the Health Professions. You will leave the session with a framework that will help you to begin planning your trajectory towards a successful application to the health profession program of your interest within your projected timeline.

Presented by the Gordon Career Center
Co-Sponsored by the American Medical Student Association, Wesleyan Chapter
Co-Sponsored by Minority Association of Premedical Students, Wesleyan Chapter
Co-Sponsored by the National Organization on Rare Diseases Student Association of Connecticut
Co-Sponsored by the Wesleyan Pre-Veterinary Medicine Club

Don’t Be Nervous

By Rachel Earnhardt, Peer Advisor 2016

It was in the Container Store, standing among clearance laundry baskets and desk organizing supplies sometime in early August, that I had a *minor* meltdown about starting college. Somehow, browsing for reasonably priced, but sturdy dorm necessities had made college feel so suddenly imminent and terrifying. If you find yourself having a similar experience, whether it be in Target or Bed Bath & Beyond or anywhere else really, I’m here to say that’s completely normal.

If you are totally chill and prepped and ready for college, then I envy you. Likely though, if you have traversed the internet to find this humble peer advisor blog post titled “Don’t be Nervous,” you are feeling anxious or excited or overwhelmed or some combination about starting college and would like to hear from some “wise” not much older soul who’s been there. I hope you find my personal narrative and unsolicited advice reassuring.

Okay, let’s rewind to the weeks leading up to the Container Store Incident. The summer before my first year at Wesleyan, I had my first real job working as an assistant camp instructor at the natural science museum. For several weeks, I stayed gloriously busy doing bug-themed crafts and making dinosaur footprint cookies and leading nature hikes and deliberating about how long I could avoid washing my staff shirt, but then, abruptly, camp ended. And the whole month of August was empty. It stretched out…a painfully open, unplanned void. This unscheduled month meant that I had four weeks with nothing to do other than think about heading off to college.

Let us rewind a bit more to April of my senior year. I had made an exhaustive spreadsheet, titled “The Decider.” With nearly 25 categories (like food, climate, “do I have to take a math class?”, faculty to student ratio, etc) I had meticulously input data about all the schools to which I had been accepted. I had been blessed with several wonderful options, many very similar to Wesleyan. But after careful analysis, Wes emerged as the clear choice. The last (and most important) category of my spreadsheet was titled “good vibes?” Next to other colleges, I wrote things like “too cold” and “too radical.” By Wesleyan, I had written the succinct, but completely confident: “Yeah.”

Yet still, even though I had penned this definitive assessment and highlighted the Wesleyan column in green on the spreadsheet, sent in my deposit, and bought my “Wesleyan Girls: Making Connecticut Beautiful Everyday” shirt, throughout the month of August, I woke up wondering. Wondering about each of the other schools from my spreadsheet, and even ones that I had not even applied to. For example, I had to remind myself that I crossed colleges in the state of Minnesota off my list for a reason (I’m sure it’s a great state, but I’m from the South and I’ve always just pictured a frozen hellscape). In retrospect, I realize that channeling my energy into my college choice stemmed from a general anxiety about going 900 miles away for school, where I didn’t know anyone.

Side note: It was also in August 2013 that I discovered College Confidential, which is sort of the underbelly of the internet. I stayed up for hours consuming the crowd-sourced anxiety about selecting a school and prepping for college. I also read countless Buzzfeed articles and mediocre blogs about the first year of college. *This was ultimately counterproductive and I do not recommend it.

But back to the story, fast-forwarding a bit to late August. After returning several items purchased in the heat of the moment to the Container Store, I had acquired everything on the packing list (and a bunch of things I didn’t need). We packed the car and began the eleven-hour drive from North Carolina to Connecticut.

I arrived in Middletown the day before move-in and led my parents on a tour of my new home. Draped in the flowers of late summer, the verdant campus was even more welcoming that it had been during our first encounter. (Okay, here comes the corny part): As I stood on the top of Foss hill looking out at College Row under the dome of blue sky, I knew that I would have the incredible opportunity to grow in profound ways over the next four years. I had picked a wonderful place to learn and prepare to make positive impact in the world.

I would be lying if I said that every ounce of anxiety evaporated during the first days or weeks or even months on campus. Eventually, I found my community and I can confidently predict that you will, too. Here is a whole paragraph of encouraging, very sincere reassurance:

If you are wondering if Wesleyan made a mistake admitting you: they didn’t. Or if you made a mistake in choosing it: you didn’t.  You are intelligent and capable. You will be surrounded by 780 interesting, smart, creative, idealistic people in your first year class. You will be able to find common ground with plenty of other people (even if you may not find those souls on your hall). It may take a few days or weeks or months, but you will meet friends and find professors with whom you connect. You may get overwhelmed by the coursework or, on the other end of the spectrum, find that some your courses are not what you expected, but there are plenty of people around to commiserate with and more importantly, to provide support and guidance. You will change your mind and your major and likely your haircut several times…and that’s all expected and celebrated!

Because I didn’t know where else to put it—here it is the obligatory list of unsolicited advice about preparing for college/the first few weeks (in no particular order) that you will probably ignore:

  • Go to different club meetings and activities. It might take a little time, but you will meet people who share your interests. I don’t want to minimize your unique personality, but there are plenty of other folks who are interested in science AND movies!! And yes, there will be at least one other person interested in starting a band.
  • Your hall will likely fuse together for a few days. That’s totally normal. Try to expand a little…Ask people from your classes or activities to lunch or coffee or to the Film Series or a WesBAM class. (Please feel free to contact me for other friend date suggestions.)
  • If you are unsure about ANYTHING, reach out to the peer advisors, the RAs, CAPS, OSRL, the deans, your orientation leaders or any the other groovy resources available.
  • Orientation specific: Go to all the events! Maybe you feel like you met your new bae or best friend and you will never hang out again if you separate to go to the meetings….but more than likely, you will learn something important at the orientation event.
  • Real talk: Across the nation, the first two months of the fall semester see an unsettling spike in alcohol hospitalizations. Please, please take care of each other.
  • Your residential advisors and orientation leaders are so excited to welcome you to campus. Maybe you don’t connect with them on a spiritual level and that’s totally fine.
  • ******Academics don’t happen in a vacuum. Your emotional, physical and mental well-being are all intimately a part of your experience and affect your ability to succeed (whatever success means to you). ******

So let’s wrap up. You’ll recall several paragraphs ago I explained that in my spreadsheet, by Wesleyan I had written: “Yeah.” I will now artfully use that as a nice frame for this post.

Is there an expansive network of resources and people (students, faculty, staff, peer advisors, the list goes on…) to support you throughout your Wesleyan journey so that you can get the most out your time here and go on to be a thoughtful and engaged citizen? Is the entire Wesleyan community so jazzed to have you join us?

Yeah!!!!!!!

The title of the post is “don’t be nervous,” but I had plenty of people tell me that and I didn’t listen. If you’re nervous, there’s not much I can say to change that. Nervous or not, either way, you will arrive in Middletown sometime between August 24 and 31 and more than likely you will thrive here.

So, again, if in the next couple weeks you have any moments of doubt or anxiety or maybe you just get so excited you can’t breath, please feel free to reach out to the peer advisors (or one of the many aforementioned resources).

And of course, I invite you to have a last minute existential crisis in your local dorm supply depot. It can be quite cathartic.

Course Selection Tips from the Academic Peer Advisors

I’m going to give a brief introduction on the seminal period of your first Pre-Reg and tips on course selection that will hopefully clarify some questions that come to mind. Also, you can always feel free to email me, Quentin (htan03@wesleyan.edu) or the Academic Peer Advisors email where one of us will answer your questions (peeradvisors@wesleyan.edu).

What you are encouraged to do, and will find very helpful, is to read through the Advising Guidelines here (don’t skip this!). A big theme emphasized is balance. It’s going to be your first semester at Wesleyan, meaning you will have many more semesters to take classes you won’t be able to take right now, so don’t feel pressured to take all major requirements or all one-specific type of class. You have several opportunities to solidify your class schedule, extending two weeks after the first day of classes, so don’t stress!

The Process

There are 3 stages of choosing classes that lead to being enrolled in four full credit courses (or maybe 4.25 or 4.50 if you take a lab class, which are half or quarter credit).

  1. Pre-Registration Planning.  This phase begins in July. Freshmen will be ranking seven first-year seminars and seven introductory courses. If you are a transfer, you’ll be ranking seven introductory and/or upper-level courses from WesMaps. First year seminars aren’t mandatory, but highly encouraged! The extensive meetings with professors, emphasis on developing your writing skills, and small classroom setting that first-year seminars provide really helped prepare me for taking a wide range of classes at Wes. Wesvising is a great tool for looking at the different departments at Wesleyan and getting an idea of where you may want to look for classes on Wesmaps.
  2. Pre-Registration Adjustment.  In late August, you’ll see a list of your scheduled courses in your WesPortal. After seeing your schedule, you’ll meet with your faculty advisor during orientation to talk about your current courses and what you want your academic experience at Wesleyan to look like. You will then have an opportunity to change, drop, or add courses before classes start during a period called Pre-Registration Adjustment.
  3. Drop/Add.  Starting on the first of classes for two weeks is the Drop/Add period. You can go to the classes of the courses you are enrolled in, and those for which you aren’t, and continue to modify your schedule. It’s a great opportunity to see the syllabi for classes or drop in for a session or two to decide if they are right for you.

Factors to Consider for Course Selection

General Education Expectations.  Wesleyan doesn’t have any core requirements, true. But the General Education Expectations, commonly called Gen Eds, are an important cluster of classes to pay attention to for fulfilling certain majors and for getting the most out of the breadth of classes offered at Wes. More than that, it is also a fulfillment that aligns with Wesleyan’s ethos of encouraging innovative academic explorations and fostering interdisciplinary understanding! It is good to start thinking about Gen Eds in your freshman year. If you are having trouble thinking about the mix of classes to take, Gen Eds can help with structuring your course selection.

Here are the basics:

    • The Gen Eds are divided into three divisions: Humanities & Arts (HA), Social & Behavioral Sciences (SBS), and Natural Sciences & Mathematics (NSM).
    • While the courses in many departments (such as Biology and Astronomy) all belong to a single division, this is not always the case. For example, the Philosophy department holds the distinction of offering courses that span across all three divisions! Therefore, it is important to keep an eye out on the Gen Ed division the course belongs to on WesMaps rather than just the department itself.
    • There are 2 stages that can be fulfilled in Gen Ed:
      • Stage 1: Two course credits from each of the 3 divisions, all in different departments, by the end of the 4th semester.
      • Stage 2: An additional third course in any department in each division by your graduation
    • Some majors require your Gen Eds fulfilled for the completion of the major or honors. For more information on the specific requirements for each major, please check out this page.

Going Abroad?  It may seem really far off, and especially given how uncertain the world has become in the age of COVID-19, but if you are thinking of studying abroad after the completion of your first academic year, it would be good to consider taking language courses in your freshman year as most of the non-English speaking programs require one or two years of language.

So if you want to go abroad Junior year, you should consider taking the language for the country you want to study in freshman year. You can explore the study abroad programs here and also check their respective language requirements here.

Think About Course Balance.  Here’s the big thing to consider while you select your courses: Balance! Listed below are some factors you’ll want to think about when choosing classes:

    • Class size and lecture vs. discussionSome classes are larger lectures while others are smaller discussions. It’s great to have a mix of lectures and discussions that way you can engage in your classes by both listening and taking notes and participating, and have a balance between the two.You can gauge the number of people in a class by looking at the Total Enrollment Limit box on WesMaps.
    • NSM, HA, or SBSDon’t just go for the same division in your cornucopia of courses – think about having a mix and spicing it up! If you’re dead set about declaring a NSM major, let’s say, you may want to only take NSM classes. However, this can get overwhelming, and you may find yourself having the same type of class assessments and weekly problem set due dates, which can be tedious overall. This idea holds true for all 3 divisions.While it’s always good to have identified your academic area of focus or interest early on, pigeonholing all your courses into one division. To say nothing of fulfilling your General Education Expectations (covered in the section above!), your freshman year is the best time for daring academic explorations, and the first year seminars are the masts that help you set sail! Try to take one class out of your comfort zone, or that is different in subject area than what you are most comfortable with.
    • AssessmentsOn WesMaps, look at the types of assessments used for each class so that you can try to choose classes that will give you the chance to demonstrate your understanding in different ways. For example, some classes will heavily incorporate papers and presentations as a part of their assessment, while others might lean more towards closed-book exams.
    • Grading ModeOn WesMaps, you can also take a look at the grading mode of the courses and take them into account while charting your classes. Course credits at Wesleyan are recorded in one of two grading modes: Graded (A-F) or Credit/Unsatisfactory (CR/U). Some courses offer students a choice of grading mode.
    • Days of the weekAside from the content of the courses, you should also consider the pragmatic aspect of attending them. While seemingly insignificant at first blush, you would find that how your courses are spread out over the week could make the difference between stifling and comfortable as the semester progresses.If you take all four of your full credit classes on Tuesday and Thursday, you’ll probably find yourself very tired these days and possibly wanting some more structure on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. While it may be tempting to have a “reverse schedule” where your “workdays” and “weekends” are flipped, try to space out your classes over the span of the week for some breathing space.Click on the “Planning Calendar” link in the list on the bottom right of your WesMaps planning pages to visualize what your schedule would look like!
    • Time of the Day.  Like the factor above, this one may seem trivial compared to the other factors listed above, but I cannot stress how important it is to take the time of the day of your prospective courses into account! If you are taking classes on campus, try spacing out your classes across the day so that you would have enough time to proceed or prepare for your next class. Trust me, it is no fun immediately running from one building to another after class ends so that you can make it in time for your next class that starts in 10 minutes!If you are generally averse to waking up early, it may be important for you to consider the time of your classes as well. While having to wake up for two 8:20 am classes a week may sound doable on paper, you might find it physically and mentally taxing – to the point of taking a toll on your general well-being – if it does not align well with your sleep schedule!
    • Choosing in the Time of COVID-19: Online or In-Person?  With the COVID-19 pandemic sweeping the world into territories unknown, taking classes in-person is no longer a certainty or something that is a given. As you make your decision on whether to return to campus in the fall, you should pay close attention to how the classes would be conducted by looking at the top bar of the course description on WesMaps. Learn more about the different instruction modes here.

I know there is a lot of info above, but if you have any questions feel free to email me or the other peer advisors (peeradvisors@wesleyan.edu). See you at virtual orientation; we can’t wait to meet you!

Do You Think You’ll Want to Go Abroad?

It might seem really far off, but many of the non-English speaking programs require 2 or more years of language, so if you want to go abroad during junior year, you should consider taking the language for the country you want to study in your first year. Note that many languages require that you begin a language during fall semesters. You can explore the study abroad programs here and also see the contact information for any questions that come up.

Health Professions Coursework Zoom Session

Presented by Mildred Rodríguez, PhD, Health Professions Advisor

Wednesday, 29 July 2020
11:00 AM – 12:00 PM (Eastern Standard Time)
Register in advance for this meeting:

https://wesleyan.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJAucuCopzkiE92_fXS4yVDFvlDI0_x2PQB4  

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

This overview will assist students in developing a schedule that will incorporate at least one of the science pre-requisite courses for the health profession of your interest. Additionally, the goal is to encourage students to explore other areas of study and develop competencies that overlap across disciplines. There will be time for questions in the last 20 to 25 minutes of the overview.

Presented by the Gordon Career Center
Co-Sponsored by the American Medical Student Association, Wesleyan Chapter
Co-Sponsored by Minority Association of Premedical Students, Wesleyan Chapter
Co-Sponsored by the National Organization on Rare Diseases Student Association of Connecticut
Co-Sponsored by the Wesleyan Pre-Veterinary Medicine Club