Riding the Welcome Week Wave

by Tolu Taiwo

Last Wednesday, I woke up at 6 a.m. and felt a disturbance in the force. Traffic was out of control, I had already gotten emails at 5 in the morning, the streets were alive with wide-eyed parents and families…Colorado State University’s housing opening and Ram Weekend had begun.

Last weekend marked my first opening as a student affairs professional. Though there were a few moments that were touch and go, I am happy to report that not only did I make it the whole weekend, I also learned a few things that are going to make my next week even better. So, without further ado, I present my “How to Survive Opening Weekend” guide. This is based on my Ram Welcome experience, but can also be used to fit other big weekends, such as Parent Week, Homecoming, and Commencement.

Breathe, breathe, breathe:

I’m not going to lie: I had an “I just want to strangle these students” moment about five times this weekend. The bookstore was too crowded, there was nowhere to park my bike in my usual spot, and a couple of parents were acting out their nervous energy in the worst ways possible (don’t give me attitude just because you can’t park where you want. Rude). But you know what? I just had to count to ten and get on with my day. It may get annoying with tons of families around, and it may be a pain to deal with a full campus, especially if you’ve been dealing with a ghost town over the summer. But remember that this is a special weekend for students. We’re here because of them, and if that means putting up with irritations and frustrating situations so they can have a somewhat smooth transition, then so be it.

But seriously. A call out to all CSU undergrads: I love you, but it would be cool to get my bike spot back.

Don’t forget to take care of your staff…

One of the RDs bought ingredients for her RAs to make breakfast burritos before their building opened. The Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life graduate students made it a point to constantly check-up on their students who were helping with move-in days. If you supervise a staff, know that this a demanding weekend for everyone, and don’t hesitate to make those around you feel loved. This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to break bank and buy your staff something extra-cool, but at least take the time out of your day to give them an encouraging word and let them know what a great job they’re doing.

…but you also gotta practice some self-care:
This was one of the most entertaining weekends I have had here thus far. It was also one of the most exhausting. Personal self-care is usually my one area of weakness, but I learned real quick that I needed to take care of myself this weekend, or I wouldn’t make it to Sunday. Preserving ones energy looks different for everyone, so whether that means sitting in your bed and tuning out the world while watching Netflix, or spending some time venting to friends, just do it. It’s difficult to be at your best during a hectic weekend when you feel at your worst, so make some time for you.

Allow yourself to get caught up in the emotion:

My first love has always been and will forever be the University of Illinois. However, there were definitely times during this past week where I felt proud to be a CSU Ram. And the weekend would have been less fun for me if I hadn’t gone to the events and cheered along with the crowds. This time is for the first years, yes. But you are still a part of the school. So jump around during the traditions and the wake-up chants, yell the fight song extra-loudly, participate in the late-nighter activities, and take pride in where you are. You work at a pretty great institution, and as cheesy as it sounds, there’s nothing wrong with buckling up, enjoying the ride, and having some fun.

Do you have any tips or strategies you use to survive Opening

Student Affairs - the First Years

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