While this winter will be an unprecedented term for all Carleton students, the experience will be particularly memorable for the students setting foot on campus for the first time. In a normal year, New Student Week marks the beginning of every Carl’s journey. With the COVID-19 pandemic, many Carleton first-years chose to take their first term of college fully online. Now with the start of Winter Term, some first-year students will receive a New Student Week (NSW) group and set foot on campus for the first time.
For these students, not everything about Carleton is new. These first-years have already begun their Carleton journey. They participated in the virtual events of NSW in the fall, including a series of CarlTalks and similar orientation events. They also took remote classes during Fall Term, giving them a chance to adjust to the demands of Carleton classes separate from the experience of adjusting to campus life. These students have already met other students and professors. They have developed mentorship relationships—just not in person.
This all poses a unique set of challenges for these new students. As returning New Student Week leader Grace Farwell ’23 described, “From what I could tell, these new students were excited to be on campus finally, but also a little nervous given that other members of the freshman class had seemingly already made friend groups. However, they embraced the opportunities to get meals with other new students and NSW leaders and to start to meet people.”
The biggest change for these new students seemed to be location and adapting to the routine of living in a residential community. “There were also a lot of questions about how things on campus work, but most importantly, where things can be found on campus. They were eager to go on an in-depth campus tour and learn about what activities were available in the winter,” said Farwell.
A particular challenge was facing a move-in weekend “like no other.” Outlining the difficulties of the weekend, Farwell said, “We had to travel during COVID, get tested, completely unpack and move into our rooms, and attend NSW events, all while classes were already in full swing and there was homework to do over the weekend. It was a lot to think about and a very busy weekend.”