Leaping from high school to college requires a big adjustment. For many students, the biggest challenge is the change in academic expectations. At the same time, first-year students must acclimate to a new social environment, living arrangement, eating and sleeping schedule, and for some, a different culture and a colder winter.
To help students ease the turbulence of what can be a choppy transition, Assistant Director of First-Year Programs Michael Wood ’06 is offering a series of workshops this fall to introduce first-year students to helpful campus resources.
The new program is called Workshop ’16, and includes five sessions offered throughout the semester. The first workshop, Tackling Transition at Bowdoin, was held Sept. 7. Breaking into small groups, first-year students pinpointed their areas of stress. They discussed personal dilemmas such as whether to remain on a sports team, how to make friends beyond their athletic team and their fear of the cold Maine winter ahead, as well as their anxieties about belonging and being successful.
Wood has enlisted the help of upper-class students to serve as facilitators and advisors for Workshop ’16, many of whom already mentor students in other campus programs.
Workshop ’16′s second event this Friday will introduce students to the Center for Learning and Teaching, where they can get help with time management, test-taking strategies and study skills. Following this, Wood will offer a workshop on navigating Bowdoin’s libraries. Another workshop will introduce the Writing Project, where students can receive help on papers from students trained to offer writing assistance. Workshop ’16′s final workshop, Dec.7, will be led by Dr. Bernie Hershberger, director of counseling services, who will teach students stress-reduction techniques. That workshop has been scheduled right before finals.
At the first workshop, Wood told the group of first-year students, “We’re trying to think about what you’re going through, what each point of the semester looks like for you, so it’s a more pleasant experience, and a more rewarding experience.”