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:

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

Reflections on “First Year Matters” from the Peer Advisors

The “First Year Matters” (FYM) program has always been one of my favorite parts of New Student Orientation. FYM gives incoming students the opportunity to have a shared experience and introduction to the intellectual life at Wesleyan. This year’s FYM viewing is “This Changes Everything,” a powerful documentary that explores the intersection of capitalism and the global climate crisis, as well as the role individuals play in fighting for change. One aspect of Wesleyan that I love is the spirit of activism among students, and this documentary speaks to the importance of advocacy and everyone’s responsibility in demanding the changes that they want to see from people in power.

As you prepare to start your Wesleyan journey under extraordinary circumstances, FYM becomes increasingly important. Many of you in the class of 2024 will already share more common experiences than most students entering Wesleyan under typical circumstances, by virtue of the fact that the entire world shut down and with that came the loss of proms, high school graduations and so much more. You can use your experience viewing the documentary to further find common ground with your peers, to make connections and establish relationships during a time in which doing so has become so hard. While there are typically structured small group discussions during orientation devoted to the FYM reading or viewing, don’t let the conversations stop there. The more you discuss what you’ve seen, the more you’ll learn about your classmates, and their past experiences and viewpoints. We all bring vastly different perspectives with us to college, and FYM is the first time, and one of the only, your entire class will get to fully engage in the same conversation and you will get to see all the different ways people may interpret and understand the same thing.

In your WesPortal, there is a link to submit a brief response to the documentary. This is due on August 21st – your first assignment of college! You can use this response as an opportunity to engage critically with the documentary and be prepared to discuss it with your peers. I am excited to hopefully discuss the documentary with some of you and hear your thoughts!

If you have any questions about FYM, please don’t hesitate to reach out – my email is! Additionally, please feel free to reach out to me or any other peer advisor with any questions or concerns you may have about the semester ahead or beyond. You can email us at, or find an individual peer advisor’s email here. If you are interested, you can learn more about groups on campus that address climate change and sustainability and ways to get involved here. I hope you enjoy “This Changes Everything,” and that it helps instill a sense of activism that is very much alive on the Wesleyan campus!

A Recipe for the Rule of Seven

By Makaela Kingsley, director of the Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship

When I started college in the fall of 1994, we had the Freshman Fifteen and an all-you-can-eat dining plan (RIP Mocon). Now, there’s the Rule of Seven, cafeterias are thoughtfully called all-you-care-to-eat, and it’s our schedules and resumes that have become overweight.

Author’s note: I’m about to overuse a food metaphor, so you might want to grab a snack.

At Wesleyan, faculty talk to their advisees about “The Rule of Seven.” This time management strategy says college students should have no more than seven commitments at once. That includes classes, sports, leadership roles, volunteer commitments, work study jobs, relationships, hobbies, and anything else that regularly demands a student’s time and attention.

In this age of frenetic resume-building and schedule-cramming, keeping the number to seven is not easy. During the first two weeks at Wesleyan alone, new students attend an academic fair to learn about 1,000 courses offered in 46 departments and an activities fair that boasts 317 groups scrambling to collect email addresses and claim spots in the precious seven. And, all that’s for a campus of fewer than 3,000 students.

So let’s just admit it, most students don’t limit their list to seven. It’s like eating in a cafeteria: there are so many yummy classes (From Tea to Connecticut Rolls: Defining Japanese Culture Through Food!), extra-curricular activities (Food Not Bombs!), and things to do (Pancakes with PSafe!). And really, college is a time for trying new things. It makes sense to diversify before specializing. Seven just doesn’t sound like a big enough number, especially at the intellectual, cultural, activist, and social buffet that is Wesleyan. And therefore, while most students know about the Rule of Seven, few actually adhere to it.

The problem with this slippery slope of overextendedness is that it often leaves students stressed, distracted, and unsatisfied. They engage in too many things to truly benefit from any. They have so many things on their tray that they end up wasting food and getting indigestion!

And worse, they miss out on the learning that happens with a deep dive into a single topic, role, or project. Sure, there are glimpses of this during rigorous courses, varsity sport seasons, and executive roles in student groups, but even those deep dives have end dates, final exams, and long summer breaks.

An exception may be the senior thesis model. By senior year, many students have had their fill of the cafeteria, and they’ve discovered the subjects and roles that sit squarely at the intersection of their talent and passion. By working on a single project for at least one year and simultaneously limiting outside distractions, thesis writers have a deep intellectual and practical experiences. I believe that we can learn from this model and replicate it with other capstone experiences.

So, to students who are trying to find breadth, depth, and balance and become T-shaped Changemakers while still adhering to the Rule of Seven, I have the following advice:

  • In the first year of college, go for breadth not depth. When you find you have more than seven, practice the art of prioritizing. Commit yourself to each class, extra-curricular, job, sport, or key relationship for a period of time, but know that it’s okay to drop the things that are not a fit. Reflect regularly: What do I like about this experience, and what do I dislike? Am I fulfilling my responsibilities, and if not, why? Will I stick with this or give it up to make room for other experiences? Be proactive. Make changes in real-time, not months after you recognize an imbalance.
  • In the second and third year of college, start to specialize. You can make larger commitments that count as two of your seven. Four or more may relate to each other. Continue reflecting, but don’t be so quick to abandon commitments that don’t feel great. Learn to muscle through the hard parts. Chances are you’ll come out on the other side smarter, stronger, and better prepared for what comes next.
  • By senior year, consider shifting to a Rule of Less Than Seven (thank you, Ben Stiller). Take a deep dive into a project or field. Remain open to trying new things and building new relationships (last call before the Wesleyan buffet closes!), but devise mechanisms to prevent that openness from becoming too distracting. Say no to opportunities. Hit seemingly insurmountable roadblocks, and push through them. Get closer to finding purpose.

Time-management is not just about sleep schedules and to-do lists, it’s about making tough choices, reflecting and adjusting, and knowing when to stop snacking and settle down for a square meal.

Bon appétit!

Makaela Kingsley is director of the Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT. You can read her thoughts on EntrepreneurshipNetworking, and Personal Branding on this blog.

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?


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.

Pre-Departure Information Session for First-Year International Students

Wednesday, July 29, 9:30-11:00 am EDT
(use a time zone converter to find out what time it is at your location)
Zoom link:

Meeting ID: 987 2738 6949

Passcode: 643716

Intended audience for this session:
  • All undergraduate first-year F-1 visa holders
  • All undergraduate first-year U.S. passport holders who reside abroad and identify as international students
  • International students who intend to travel to Wesleyan to study on campus in Fall 2020
  • International students who intend to take Wesleyan online courses from their home countries in Fall 2020
  • Students’ parents/families are welcome to attend
This this session, we will cover:
  • Immigration essentials (helpful for F-1 visa holders)
    • Scheduling an F-1 visa interview
    • Attending an F-1 Visa Interview
    • Entering the U.S. with an F-1 Visa
    • Immigration logistics if you choose to defer your admission to Spring 2021 or Fall 2021
  • Travel essentials (helpful for all internationals who plan to be on campus)
    • Navigating travel restrictions during COVID-19
    • Ground transportation from various airports (BDL, BOS, JFK, EWR and LGA) to Wesleyan University
  • Information about Orientations (helpful for all internationals, including those who plan to study online)
    • International Student Orientation
    • New Student Orientation
  • Live Q&As
The session will be recorded for those who are unable to attend the live session.

About Course Registration

Course registration at Wesleyan is a three-step process.  The first step of this process, which opened on July 20, is Pre-Registration Planning.

During pre-registration planning, you should be selecting courses of interest and ranking them in your preferred order. Be sure to build full list(s) to maximize your chances of getting a desirable schedule during the scheduling process.

Once planning closes, the scheduling process will be run. Your schedule will be viewable on August 14.  Once your schedule is available, you’ll be able to prepare for the Adjustment Period, which is the second part of the registration process and takes place August 17-20. During the adjustment period you will be able to make modifications to the schedule that has been assigned to you, pending approval from your faculty advisor.

The third step of the course registration process is the Drop/Add Period, which will take place from August 24-September 11. During drop/add courses can be added and dropped from your schedule with the approval of the instructor and your faculty advisor.

As the summer progresses, you will receive email for updates from the Registrar’s Office as we enter into each phase of the course registration process.

The following questions might guide your course planning:

  • Do I select a course about something I love?
  • Do I need to add a gateway course for a department or major?
  • Do I need to continue or begin a language?
  • Could I explore something new and interesting?

Course planning involves much more than just the subject matter. You should aim for variety in subject as well as the kind, size, format, and time of day of the courses.

There are a few curricular pathways that require special attention, such as pre-healthpre-law and dual degree engineering programs. There is a three-year option. There are three majors that require declaration during the spring semester of the first year: College of Social Studies, College of Letters and the College of East Asian Studies.

Wesleyan Summer Sendoffs 2020

New students and their families are invited to attend a virtual Summer Sendoff event on Zoom. This is an opportunity to meet others in your area new to Wesleyan, as well as engage with a panel of current students, parents, and alumni from your region. You’ll have the opportunity to hear from Wesleyan staff, and then students and parents will join Zoom breakout rooms to learn more. New students and families are welcome to attend any of these events.

A complete calendar of Summer Sendoff events and locations, including registration information, can be found through this link.

What Do Academic Peer Advisors Do?

This post serves to introduce you to Wesleyan’s Academic Peer Advisors, students who work under the umbrella of the Office of Student Academic Resources to enhance students’ access to academic resources and promote their academic success.

Especially in such tumultuous times, APAs are here to serve as a resource to all Wesleyan students. Although life at Wesleyan will look quite different than it has in past years due to the pandemic, APAs are available to address any concerns you may have, ranging from queries about course selection to questions about getting involved on campus! Over the summer, we are available to answer your questions via email ( Please don’t hesitate to reach out!

During NSO, which will be taking place mostly virtually before arriving on campus, APAs will focus on helping students plan and schedule their fall semester courses. We are part of a large network of academic support that you will be able to access once on campus, which includes pre-major advisors and deans. Before classes begin,  you — and every other first-year student — will meet with an APA to discuss course selection for your first semester, as well as any other questions you might have. Throughout the entire academic year, we will continue meeting with students individually as well as hosting group workshops. We are as available as students want us to be, whether you’d like to meet once a week, once a semester, or once a year! Also, we are always extra available during the Pre-Registration and Drop/Add periods of each semester, and you will see us work in conjunction with other offices on campus.

In our one-on-one meetings with students, we help with various academic skills like time management, organization, study strategies, and reading or note-taking, as well as with course registration, major planning, and a variety of other academics-related skills and topics! In our workshops — which can be with different Residence Halls, class deans, athletic teams, or other liaison groups, campus groups, and communities — we also help students become familiar with the various academic processes and skills that were mentioned above, but in a group setting instead of an individual one. We also serve as liaisons to other campus resources, both general and specific, helping to connect students with any and all resources they might need, from peer tutors, math and writing workshops, and the library, to the Resource Center, CAPS, and the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life — plus everything in between. Basically, we are here not only to help you but also to help you help yourself!

This year, more so than many others, will be a challenge for the Wesleyan community as a whole. The APAs are here to enhance your access to academic resources and help you reach your academic goals at Wesleyan, despite the extraneous circumstances that make this year especially difficult. But how do you get connected with the peer advisors? All of our bios are posted on the website (with our emails), so if you read through them and think that you would connect well with a certain peer advisor, feel free to reach out to them directly. Otherwise, as we said before, we are available over email at to answer any and all of your questions that you might have — please do not hesitate to reach out! While this was just a quick overview of our roles on campus, we are happy to help with whatever we can. We look forward to working with you, and welcome to Wesleyan!

Course Pre-Registration Opens July 20

The Course Pre-Registration system opens July 20.  Until the system closes on August 6, you will be able to browse WesMaps and rank your course preferences for the fall semester.  You will be informed of your course placements in mid-August.

You should begin to think in terms of building a manageable course of study that offers challenge as well as flexibility for you to explore the curriculum and discover new interests. As you pursue your educational goals, keep in mind the idea of constructing a schedule that is balanced, challenging, and interesting. An academic schedule is balanced when:

There is a combination of small and large classes, lecture and discussion, and variations in course content and focus (e.g., reading, writing, quantitative work, artistic activity). This can provide breadth and stimulate academic curiosity while keeping a schedule manageable yet challenging.

There is variation in class days and times and instruction mode. For some students, this is as important a consideration as what courses to choose. Without sacrificing intellectual rigor or interest, students should try to distribute their courses across the week and throughout the day in the way that works best for them.