Welcome Week works

Welcome Week’s true value lies in getting students to mix and mingle.

Luis Ruuska

As a member of the Class of 2017 I recently completed Welcome Week. While I learned valuable information about everything from navigating campus to how to be financially responsible, I discovered that the times that I felt most welcome on campus were when I was interacting with my peers.

I should point out that I am naturally shy and reserved in new social settings and so this revelation came as a surprise. Additionally, Welcome Week often made me feel awkward as I constantly opened up about my life and experiences to complete strangers.

That said, Welcome Week was exactly what I needed.

If I hadn’t been forced to open up to others and interact, I wouldn’t have done so myself. Welcome Week made it OK for me to go out on a limb and introduce myself to people because everyone else was doing the same thing.

Events like “Pride & Spirit” and the football game against Nevada-Las Vegas made me realize what being a part of a community really feels like. We all may have come from different backgrounds, but on those nights we were all there for the same reasons.

It was troubling how easy it was for people to be cynical of Welcome Week. Many people viewed the entire process as “handholding” and skipped the activities altogether — or at least said they did.

However, like any other experience, I believe that people got what they put into Welcome Week. I realize now that is how the college experience works.

I’m going to have to introduce myself to scores of people. Sit in the front of the classroom instead of the back corner. I’m going to have to stop being an observer and be an active participant on campus instead.

I know that it’s going to be uncomfortable. I know that I’ll probably embarrass myself a few times by putting myself out there, too. But I also know that I would rather take a chance on meeting new people and trying different things than regret not doing so.

If you missed out on Welcome Week, don’t worry. Student Unions & Activities has got a packed year of activities ranging from game nights to concerts.

Who knows, you’ll probably even see me at a lot of this year’s activities. If you do, come say hi; I’m looking to meet some new people.