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July 18, 2023 by


As a freshman, there are so many emotions about starting college. You’re constantly adding items to your packing list and checking items off your New Student Checklist. You may daydream about what college may be like and start making a bucket list of things you want to do during your 1,000 days at Cedarville University. One thing you should add is to participate in Getting Started Weekend. What is that, you may ask? Allow me to explain. Getting Started Weekend is three days full of student orientation meetings combined with kickoff parties celebrating the start of your freshman year and welcoming you into the Cedarville family. Now, there are a lot of things on the schedule, and you may feel overwhelmed by how full it is and wonder if you’ll have any time to unpack your gear and organize your residence hall room. You may also wonder, “Why do I need to attend so many meetings and participate in so many activities?” I have a few reasons on how you can make the most of Getting Started weekend.  


You Learn Important Information 

What do I mean by this? Well, during Getting Started Weekend, there are a ton of meetings for freshmen to attend, such as “It’s Academic,” “Life Outside the Classroom,” and a meeting about student employment. There’s also plenty of meetings for the parents to attend, such as “Parenting from a Distance” and a Q&A with our president, Dr. Thomas White. Now, there are a ton of meetings on the calendar for the weekend, but most of them are scheduled for Friday and Saturday, so if you miss one on Friday, don’t fret. You can always attend it on Saturday. I will say, however, you don’t need to attend every single one. I would highly recommend attending at least “You, Your Student, and UMS (University Medical Services)” and “It’s Academic” for you, and for your parents, “Parenting from a Distance..  


You Meet New People 

On the first day of Getting Started Weekend, you’ll get to meet fellow freshmen as well as a few upperclassmen in what’s called a Sting Group. The purpose of a Sting Group is to introduce you to other freshmen, help you get to know other students, and ease the transition into college life. It can be overwhelming to step out and try to meet new people in a new place that you’re unfamiliar with, and Sting Groups make it so much easier to meet other students in a similar stage of life as you.  

This also gives you the chance to meet your hallmates/unitmates. You’re going to be living with them for almost a year, so be the first one to break the ice and initiate conversations. Ask them what they’re most looking forward to this year or what their favorite food is. I offer several other tips in one of my previous blog posts “How To Develop Meaningful Relationships,” so feel free to check that out as I go into a little bit more detail.  


You Become Familiar With Your New Home 

Cedarville’s campus can be a pretty daunting size for a freshman to try to navigate in their first week of being here. I was a little overwhelmed and had absolutely no idea where I was going for at least a week without either looking at a campus map or following my hallmates around whenever we went to grab dinner at Chuck’s. My Sting Group walked around campus on Getting Started Weekend and gave us a little bit of an informal tour, pointing out many academic buildings such as the Apple Technology and Resource Center. You could also tour campus with your parents and siblings before they leave.  


You Are Very Warmly Welcomed Into the Cedarville Family 

Not that you won’t be welcomed if you decide to wait to arrive at the ‘Ville until the day before classes, but all throughout Getting Started Weekend, current students all over campus, part of a crew called Sting, will be waving pool noodles and signs that say things like “Welcome Home” and will be cheering as you and your family drive by in your car. Plus, when you arrive at your residence hall, a group of them will help you unload your car. When I first arrived, there were probably around a half dozen students or so who unloaded our car in about 5, maybe 10 minutes, and each student probably only took about three trips each! That’s the fastest my family’s car has ever been unloaded in my life. I was so excited to move into my dorm room and get settled in.  

Then there’s the walk around Cedar Lake. All the freshmen get a picture by the clock tower and hear a speech from an SGA member about spending the next 1,000 days (minus all the breaks, of course) of their lives in a close-knit community with a family who loves God and others, and who practice integrity and excellence in everything they do. When the speech is over, you all walk from the Stevens Student Center (SSC) to the Dixon Ministry Center (DMC) for a kickoff party. Hundreds if not thousands of parents and Yellow Jackets cheer and shout out “Welcome Home” as you take this walk toward the next chapter in your life.

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