The School of General Studies extended a warm welcome back to their fall Transition to Kean (T2K) students at the Valentine's Welcome Back Social. The social transpired Feb. 13 at the Cougar's Den and was a fun get-together for freshmen and their peer mentors.
T2K courses are well known at Kean for the means to get to know the university's culture and community. These classes are geared toward freshmen and transfer students, and are co-led by both a professor and a peer mentor from the School of General Studies.
“I think it’s so cool to have all new-comers have a class where they can transition to the actual college, and have proper guidance to it. Especially with the peer mentors, who have prior experience," said T2K freshman, Kimberly Mendoza. "We can definitely make new friends. We can have a lot of people we can talk to, and it helps me get a better feel for the people on campus."
Although T2K courses are only for one semester, the School of General Studies periodically hosts socials to continue to foster the relationships students have made with their peer mentor and each other.
The Valentine's Welcome Back Social was the first event for this semester, and it proved popular. The social included free food such as pizza, chocolate covered strawberries and brownies, as well as games and raffles. The spread of games included dominos, Connect-4, cards and a guessing game.
“We like to do this welcome back, Valentine-Day social, for the first semester freshman, especially in our T2K class in the fall semester, because we still want to to support the freshman their spring semester - we want to support them through their whole freshman year. So, we like to welcome them back, get them talking with their peer mentors, or their classmates from their T2K class," said Peer Mentor Cathy Conaty. "We also have other events that we’re going to be doing with them, and checking in with them with opportunities throughout the whole spring semester. We mainly do this for retention, to make sure that our students feel like they're part of the community here at Kean, and that they have our support.”
The inclusive attitude of the School of General Studies is often one of the first impressions new students receive of Kean.
“To be a [peer mentor] is to be more than a mentor. You’re guiding a new class of students about what it’s like to go to Kean and deal with academics, and get used to college in general," said Peer Mentor Drew Spahn.
College is a new environment in many ways. For some, it is their first time living away from home. For all, it is a whole new group of people and workload. Without any guidance, it can often feel strange and lonely to newcomers.
“Events like these bring the community together, not even just the incoming freshman or transfer, but even people that have been here for a few years, just to intermingle and get to know the peer mentors. Just to know everyone is here for each other," said Spahn.
For more events like these and more, check out Cougar Link.