Notes From Under the Oaks

In the past few weeks I've had the pleasure of welcoming several new groups of students with more to come in the weeks ahead. So far I've welcomed Pharmacy students and Audiology students as well as a many of the undergraduate athletes.

There’s really nothing more fun than getting to say “welcome and congratulations” to a group of people about to embark on an incredibly transformational experience.

As is the case each year, I can’t help but examine the culture of this new group of Boxers. Assuming we don’t have any prodigies this year, the youngest students I will welcome were born in 1996.

The Beloit College Mindset List isn’t out yet for this year’s freshmen, but many of the notations on last year’s list are still true today. It includes such gems as “They have always lived in cyberspace, addicted to a new generation of “electronic narcotics.’” And a personal favorite of mine: “There have always been blue M&Ms, but no tan ones.”

Every year when I read this list, I feel the gulf growing between myself and the students. Their life experience continues to grow increasingly different from my own, yet there is a consistency to the students I welcome each year.

After a decade spent working on college campuses the annual rhythm of University life comes close to feeling monotonous, but then I look at the faces of these new students and it all feels new again. Some are anxious, some are excited and some (mostly graduate students) already look tired. The “newness” each of these students is experiencing is infectious. I can’t help but grin when I say “welcome.” It isn’t hard to become incredibly excited.

There are a ton of pieces to be read online these days about what young people don’t know. This one from Forbes rings particularly true for anyone who spends time around 20-somethings.

 All of this cautionary wisdom feels great to dispense from the un-trustable age of over-30, but I can’t help but try to put myself in the shoes of our new students.

What about the heart-racing excitement of starting something new?

I don’t want to squash that. I want to celebrate it with a big grin and a cheerful “welcome!

What about you? What wisdom would you like to share with a brand-new pharmacy student or an 18-year-old freshman? What separated your class from those who came before you? Send us your stories and don’t hesitate to contact us if we can be of assistance.

Best wishes,

Martha Calus-McLain ‘03
Director of Alumni Relations

Posted by Martha Calus-Mclain ( on Aug 16, 2013 at 2:08 PM

Edited by Rachael Burbank ( on Aug 16, 2013 at 3:15 PM

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