University Housing Updates: Starting Strong In Spring
As the new semester approaches, it’s an opportune time to discuss great tips of how to help your student navigate the brand new semester.
As always, there are an array of resources your student can take advantage of in University Housing, including their Resident Assistant and their building’s Residence Life Coordinator. Below are some things that we suggest your student look into to help them be successful on campus this semester.
Now that your student is entering into the Spring semester, they can use this time to take a holistic look at their fall experience. It could be very helpful for them to evaluate some of the questions: What do I feel like went well? What worked and didn’t work in the Fall? What are some ideas that I have to improve my experience at UWM? What do I need to focus on now? Answering these questions can be very helpful in planning out how your student will be successful by the time May approaches.
After students have evaluated how they felt their Fall semester went, they can set a few goals for themselves. The key is to make the goals specific and realistic. The goal can be as easy as making two new friends outside of their suite, get an A in a certain class, or to become an active member of an organization. Lastly, they can find their best way to hold themselves accountable to these Spring goals. Telling someone else about their goals, writing it in their planner, or putting sticky notes on their mirror can be great ways to help complete the goals.
Try New Things
Hopefully, your student has been able to try a variety of new things while at UWM already. Sometimes the Fall semester gives your student a chance to adjust and find their flow. Now, Spring semester can be exploratory! Although COVID-19 makes things different, there will always be a safe way to try things. Encourage them to be a part of virtual events they are interested in, reminding them a fun event online is totally different than sitting in a class. Being social and having fun are still important to overall health and wellness. Also encourage them to join one of University Housing’s multiple organizations. They can find advertisements around the residence halls for events and organizations.
Opportunity to Meet New People
Not only will fresh classes open up chances to meet new people, but there will also be many students that are just starting at UWM in January they can welcome into their community, especially in their Residence Hall.
While they are in University Housing, they can safely find ways to meet new people on their floor or ask their RA to help connect them within the floor. They should also look for fliers on the floor and check their email. During the first week of classes, an email will go out about joining one of the Housing-specific clubs. These include the Student Housing Administrative Council (SHAC), which is the student government for students in University Housing, the Panther Activities Committee (PAC), which hosts events “Every Thursday at 9:27pm”, and Community Councils, which are residence hall-specific organizations that host events for the community. We encourage you to have your student utilize these opportunities to get involved, as they are both a great way to meet others safely, and also a great resume builder for every major, since they focus on leadership skills and provide practical experiences for planning.
This is an ideal time to motivate your student to hone in on what makes them feel healthy and well. Having a good sleeping routine, drinking plenty of water through the day, planning out nutritional meals, and scheduling time for self-care are all small but mighty tasks that can make a significant difference on their wellbeing.
Related to COVID-19, it important for students to have honest conversations with those they socialize with about their expectations. It is sometimes hard to have difficult conversations when you aren’t sure of other’s beliefs, but in order to feel safe related to COVID-19, they must be aware of their surroundings and have clear expectations. Some questions they might ask peers are “What situations do you wear a mask during, and which ones do you not?” and “How many people are you around on a daily basis?” Staff are working diligently to create safe environments, but what happens behind closed doors, off campus, and when staff aren’t around is completely based in how students choose to act.
Weekly COVID-19 testing is also required by the UW System for students in the residence halls. You student should test weekly, and test at a similar time as their suitemates and friends, if possible.
If your student expresses any sort of need, there is likely to be a free campus resource available to assist. Need for leadership opportunities? Desire for more community? Wanting to explore organization memberships? Needing assistance for classes? Struggling socially or emotionally? The staff in University Housing are trained to help with all of these things and know how to direct your student to any resource needed. Getting to know their residents, RA, RLC, faculty members and advisors can positively impact their UWM experience overall.
The University Housing team, as always, is here to support your student. Please encourage them to reach out to their RA for more information and to make a plan to start off their Spring semester strong!
Story posted Jan. 19, 2021 – courtesy of University Housing