Welcome Week: Exploring Your New Home
August 25, 2021
I still remember move-in day at Drexel for my first year in September of 2011. Although I was only about 12 miles from home and I was in eyesight of a skyline I had seen my whole life, I was in a completely different world. University City is an exciting, happening, and young neighborhood of Philadelphia — much different than my quiet hometown of Havertown, PA. My dorm room in Towers Hall was much different from the room I shared at home with my younger brother. And the dining hall, the Handschumacher Dining Center, or the Hans, was much different from the cooking I was accustomed to at home with my family. This acclimation to my new home, accompanied by new social challenges, academic experiences, and the college environment, is an experience every college student goes through in their own way.
The orientation experience for new students onto their college campus is a major focus area of all colleges across the world because that experience is so important. Your first few hours and days on your campus will help you establish a group of friends, a routine, and an understanding of the space that will house the next few years of your life. When I attended Drexel, orientation was a 30-hour event in July or August and much of your time was focused on your academic program and getting to know the folks that are going to be in your classes. Now, Drexel's primary orientation program "Welcome Week" has changed just a little bit…
Drexel's Welcome Week is a broad, yet diverse and busy, yet thoughtful event to make sure you have at least the beginnings of what you need to succeed at Drexel.
Welcome Week is an immersive experience with hundreds of events that will introduce you to much of what Drexel, University City, and Philadelphia have to offer. It all kicks off with Move-In Weekend, where all New Dragons will move into their residence halls, and our commuter students will begin to experience life on campus as well. Once everyone is on campus and settled in, Welcome Week's kick-off event, typically held at the Franklin Institute, lets all Dragons get together in one place to explore science, exploration, and new friendship.
Throughout Welcome Week, students will have the flexibility to attend events that they are interested in. Examples of previous events include gaming, sporting events, fitness classes, Night on the Row, and many more. As one student put it, "Your only homework is to make friends." This is an amazing opportunity to introduce yourself to all of the people around you and figure out whom you like spending time with. This includes your fellow first-year students and upperclassmen as well. Another important thing to take advantage of during Welcome Week include academic building tours. Definitely walk the campus with your Resident Assistant (RA) or your academic advisor so you can figure out how long it might take you to get from your residence hall to Disque for your Chemistry 101 lecture, and whether or not you have time to stop into LeBow for Starbucks beforehand. (Pro-Tip: The line is always really long in the 10-20 minutes before the top of the hour, so that should help with planning.) Figuring out the best path to all of your classes will really make your first week a lot less stressful.
Active planning and conscious interaction with the Drexel community are two great ways to become more comfortable on your college campus. Be really thoughtful about planning time around your classes, and include things like sleep, exercise, and social time. Be sure to communicate with your RA and advisors about the sort of things you need to be successful both in and out of the classroom. As a former RA, this open line of communication is so important in us being a support system for you. Don't be afraid to ask questions and ask for help; the entire Drexel community is committed to making sure your experience is a productive, healthy, and happy one. Welcome Week is an amazing time to start building these habits so that they are commonplace when the business of classes starts that third week of September.
Drexel's Welcome Week is a broad, yet diverse and busy, yet thoughtful event to make sure you have at least the beginnings of what you need to succeed at Drexel. The immense resources, incredible opportunities, and fun experiences available to you are only useful if you know about them, so be sure to have an open mind about what your new home has to offer you. There is so much to explore, and Welcome Week is the introduction to it all!
Kevin Murray is an Assistant Director in Undergraduate Admissions at Drexel as well as an alumnus. He spends his free time drinking coffee and thinking about where in the world he wants to travel next.