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In Challenging, Uncertain Times, the Dragon Community is Steadfast

September 02, 2021

Kathryn Warlick, the new chairperson of the Drexel Family Association, welcomes new Dragon families to Drexel and outlines all the University has to offer students despite the many challenges our community has faced.

For all new parents to Drexel University, welcome to our Dragon family! My name is Kathryn Warlick, chairperson of the Drexel Family Association, and with both of our children at Drexel University starting this month, our family has grown to love all things Drexel!

When we brought our daughter to Drexel three years ago, we had no idea that our world would soon be grappling with health challenges associated with this pandemic that have deeply touched all of us in some way, especially our Dragons. And all of this in the short time since we’d waved goodbye to our daughter.

Soon, we will bring our new Dragon, Jack, to Philadelphia to begin his career at the University, and I reflect upon how grateful our family is to be part of this community while concurrently navigating a new educational landscape that we never expected for our children.

It has been enlightening to watch Chloe and Jack develop and hone their skills of adaptability, persistence, and flexibility during these somewhat uncertain times in their education. Our students, arriving on campus in September, have learned a new etiquette for being social, new strategies for learning, and possess increased technological facility. They can be flexible in different living and learning styles; our students even understand what giving up traditional senior hallmark experiences feels like. They know how to adapt old expectations into something new, and now can celebrate their achievements differently. And, all of our students, despite these extraordinary times, continue to move forward with their studies despite the challenges.

What better place for our students than Drexel University, where our Dragons will be challenged each day with experiences reinforcing local and global civic engagement, rigorous education expertly aligned with the future of work, and city-campus life at its finest. Most importantly, it is my sincere hope that you and your students know there is a solution for each problem, someone to talk to, seek help from, plan courses with, and guide their experiences.

We have encouraged Chloe and Jack to reach out and become a part of the myriad of opportunities available, and to work to build their relationship with the community in order to become a part of it. While there may be challenges, there is ease in knowing our students are navigating their own educational landscape, with many supports!

I would be remiss if we didn’t mention a bit about co-op. We can agree the experiences provided by co-op are the hallmark of a Drexel education. I wish I knew in the beginning of this process that there are so many options for co-op, and that any experience is a good experience! Apply for as many positions as one can, and take advantage of the Drexel administration, academic advisors, co-op advisors, and the Steinbright Career Development Center for help and support! Encourage your student to sit with their co-op advisor and ask questions, find help for a résumé, and learn how to use the system available for maximum results.

The support system can work creatively and all over the world in order to help your student find a co-op. My daughter’s first co-op wasn’t what she wanted initially, but it ended up being exactly what she needed! She learned to adapt, commute, work in the city, and persevere despite challenges, and received a fabulous learning experience which she loved, and an offer for a continuing job!

Please know that Drexel University is a unique learning experience on the quarter system. The pace of learning is quite fast on a 10-week system, and students need to be organized and ready to learn from their first day! Your student needs to check their email at least daily if not more for expectations and information. The support system includes ample professor availability, the Center for Learning and Academic Success Services (CLASS) for academic support, and each student has four advisors — academic, co-op/career, library liaison, and Drexel Central — information for which can all be found via DrexelOne. This is excellent support that may start right at the beginning of the term, if needed.

The key here, in whichever learning system we are in, is that the student needs to reach out to the support system! Sometimes parental support may be necessary to have something done, however, encourage your student to try the options available themselves before resorting to that measure, since our students are “driving their experiences.” To assist parents in support of their Dragon, the University offers the Drexel Family Portal, which is a great resource for us, offers answers and solutions, and you may sign up now!

Let’s not forget all that Philadelphia offers our students! Our Dragons’ experiences are multiplied by a multicultural, dynamic and exciting city that has fostered inclusion of all since its beginning! As an extension of the Drexel classrooms, we could not ask for more. Your student will find all types of expressions in art, sports, music, chats, events, and festivals galore! Encourage them to explore with their friends the unique opportunities and experiences the city has to offer!

I hope to see you on campus at some point during our Dragons’ experiences! We are always stronger as a community, and if nothing else, we, and our students, are growing our skills for adaptability, flexibility, and persistence. These skills are intrinsic to navigating this “new normal” we are in, and also to their future journeys and experiences, foreign or in the United States, graduate school or corporate job. Encourage your student to take advantage of every opportunity to come their way! Four or five years from now, our Dragons will know how to build a meaningful life for themselves, with community, our families, our country and the world’s wellbeing, ever in mind.

Welcome to the Dragon family,

Kathryn Warlick

Chairperson of the Drexel Family Association