By: Emily Jan and Jasmine Johnson
As our van pulled up to the curb, the Welcome Week crew cheered at the top of their lungs. I (Emily) was rushed into Bodien as the people around me screamed my room number while bringing all my beloved belongings to my new room. The experience was much more enthusiastic, loud, and overwhelming than I had expected. Although Welcome Week was fun for me, it was also hard because I am half extroverted and half introverted.
No matter how much energy and enthusiasm returning students and faculty exhibit during Welcome Week, the response to the excitement is not always mutual. With the crammed schedules and nonstop social interaction, these first few days can be very overwhelming for anyone looking to take in their new surroundings slowly.
When arriving at the dorms for the first time, swarms of people move every belonging from the family vehicle to the student’s room in a matter of seconds.
During these first few days on campus, we asked students to share memories of their welcome week experience.
“I was a little anxious about all the yelling, but it was exactly how I expected,” freshman Sophie Hoffer said.
Reflecting on her first reaction to move-in day, junior Cassie Sandberg could not help but point out the benefits despite her introverted nature.
“Initially, I kinda hated it because it’s very overwhelming,” Sandberg said. “At the same time, it made me feel like a part of the school because so many people came to help and they were all very willing to do it.”
As the students continue through the weekend and participate in various large group activities, hardly any free time for individual reflection is scheduled. This can be a tough adjustment for some, but junior Tim Rockford shared his thoughts on how crucial these first few days are.
“It’s very necessary, especially for introverts, because to have that good college experience, you need to be able to connect with people and the best way to do that is just to get out there,” Rockford said.
From a freshman itching for solitude to an RA encouraging a floor full of new students, Rockford is able to look back and appreciate the activities that helped him stretch beyond his comfort zone.
Although these activities work for some students, sophomore Allison Hadley suggested a different approach.
“Having a busy schedule was nice, but not because of all the facilitated group activities,” sophomore Allison Hadley said. “I think that it would be a good idea to have more individual activities that allow the students to meet others on their own. My friend moved in a day early last year and went to the canvas and cookies event. She met some girls there, and although she doesn’t talk to them now, she got to meet people in her own way.”
Because the Bethel student body is diverse, everyone has their own opinions on how Welcome Week should be conducted. Sophomore Joe Werdan shared how this experience has helped him feel known and loved in the Bethel community both last year as a new freshman and now as a Welcome Week team member. Bethel University re-posted Werdan’s story on Facebook, which is linked here.
Now that I am a junior, I look back on Welcome Week with fondness. Even though it was overwhelming and chaotic at first, I fully enjoyed myself and soaked in each exciting moment. I loved witnessing my sister experience welcome week this year because it gave me a chance to impact her transition to this new place we call home.