Your first ever week of officially living at Baylor your freshman year is quite the experience to say the least. Moving in is already a tiring and exciting process, and the events Baylor plans for its freshman surrounding this one facet of the major transition will also wear you out. It is fun and thrilling going into your first week of college after senior year, however, even with all the Welcome Week events they plan to celebrate your new home, it can be easy to get caught up in the turbulent whirlwind of all the craziness. Here are some tips on what to expect out of this week so that hopefully you can make it through with the most enjoyment and least stress as possible. With these heads-ups, you’ll go into it with an idea of what this week involves and will be better mentally prepared to get the most out of it and cherish your first days as opposed to feeling overwhelmed by them.
1.It will start out slow.
Take advantage of your first 1-3 days of Welcome Week (depending on which day you move in to your residence hall) because it is the only time you have completely set aside for moving in and spending your final days with your parents.These are good days to move in at your own pace and get comfortable in your new space gradually before the activities (and eventually classes) suddenly consume your days and nights. Also, there are student leaders who will help you bring all your bags in quicker than you could imagine, so they really take away any qualms you previously had about the technicalities of carrying all your belongings from the car and getting it all to your room. Baylor does a good job of making the whole process centered around your well-being and steady transition.
2. Don’t worry- the goodbyes are swift and painless.
Whether you are someone who hates goodbyes and can already feel the homesickness or you consider it good riddance and are yearning to finally fly the coop, sometimes the event of saying your goodbyes is dreaded for many reasons. You are unsure how to go about it, worried about your families’ emotions, and the list of anxieties about this simple exchange of farewells only starts here. Luckily, Baylor has you covered and has organized Welcome Week in such a way that the goodbye is a piece of cake and will be as easy as ripping off a band-aid for your parents (or you if you are dreading it too). There is a cheerful event called Festival at the Fountain where food trucks are set up and families eat together and enjoy the beautiful Baylor atmosphere and community. Quickly after, they organize students into their small groups for the week and families have a nice, short amount of time to say a happy goodbye. This was very carefully planned out (mostly for parent’s sakes) to provide a smooth, natural transition with none of the usual emotional trauma associated with this kind of departure. So, this crosses one major thing off of your list of what to stress about before your first week of college.
3. You will have free time with your small group that your leaders will determine how to spend.
Everybody is put into small groups led by 2 Welcome Week leaders who are students who signed up to take you under their wing essentially your first week at Baylor. There is a lot of time set aside for bonding with your group and Baylor basically leaves what you do with that time up to your leaders. Most play a few of the classic get to know you games to break the ice the first day, but after that it is usually pretty fun, as the upper-classmen want to have fun with you too, and they will take you out to eat or to get desserts at the best places near campus, take you for your first time tortilla tossing, take you exploring through the Waco area, and show you where all your buildings are for your classes if you need help with that. They are basically there to take you to the organized Welcome Week events which will be discussed later, and to show you a good time during these open, set-aside hours and give you any help you need, whether that be having an unfiltered Q&A time with your small group or going through your class schedule with you until you know the route perfectly. The friendships made between small group members and each other and their leaders are definitely due to the quality time spent outside of structured activities.
4. You will have constant opportunity to be as fully immersed as you wish to be in the Baylor spirit.
Few of the Welcome Week events are actually required, but they are strongly recommended and honestly, it would be kind of dumb not to attend. There are several events planned for you to get excited about being a Bear now, like the hype spirit rally in the Ferrell Center (basketball stadium) where the cheerleaders, marching band, and football players come out and pump you up for these new beginnings. There is also an Academic Convocation, which is a nice service where you sit with your whole class and hear the amazing president Linda Livingstone and a few professors speak briefly to inspire and welcome you before you begin this new chapter. There is also something called the Big Event which is basically just a big dance party and dinner. There’s more, but you get the point; you can get as little or as much as you want out of this week, it’s just a matter of showing up.
5. You will jump right into the semester before you know it.
The last day of Welcome Week activities is Sunday, the day before your first day of classes Monday. They take it easy on you and wrap up the week so that you can prepare yourself for your big day, but you still may feel like you need time to recover and rest up after all of this beforehand. It may feel like non-stop go go go, but take comfort in the fact that if you know where all your classes are, it will all be a piece of cake. The first week of classes is fun and easy because it is mostly just meeting your professors and going through the syllabus. You probably won’t have legitimate class until the end of the week or even the second week of school. Just do your best and the weekend will come soon enough! You will feel at home and get in the groove of things before you know it. Just remember to take care of yourself during this hustle and bustle time.
Hopefully all of this has helped you get yourself in gear for what is in store for you your first week or so as an official student at Baylor. There is much more to the whole process, but you will figure it out as you go. Though it is a busy time and a time of eager anticipation, try to slow down enough to experience every special moment along the way. These are all moments you will look back on fondly and wonder how they went by so fast. Even the tedious things and unpleasant early mornings play a part in the beauty of this time of rush and growth. Enjoy Welcome Week and don’t forget to master your “Sic ‘Em, Bears!”