Conference seeks to encourage confidence in first-year students

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On Feb. 28 the Transitional Experience Council hosted its annual, “Getting to Year 2” conference. The conference was designed for first-year students attending St. Edward’s University to prepare them to make the transition into their second year as a Hilltopper.

“By providing various resources and information about what this transition will be like, we hope students will feel more prepared and confident to move into their second year,” junior Nathalie Eguiza, a student coordinator for the conference, said.

While checking in at the conference, students were encouraged to attend the resource fair outside Mabee Ballrooms, which included various tables with information for students. Some of the organizations on campus that participated included: Career Services, Math Lab, Academic Success Center and Student Financial Services.

The opening keynote speaker was English Writing and Rhetoric professor Beth Eakman who has been teaching at St. Edward’s since 2006. Eakman had students detail their ideal day five years from now and helped students make a plan to make the goals of their day a reality.  

“I liked the opening keynote speaker a lot,” freshman Stephanie Downs said. “She was really enthusiastic and nice. She made me look a little deeper into my thoughts.”

The students were then asked to attend their choice of two out of the four breakout sessions, which lasted approximately 40 minutes each. The breakout sessions included: Real Talk: Trials of Moving off Campus, Map Your Future: Internships and Involvement, Financial Aid- Planning and Paying for the Next 3 Years and New Academic Opportunities and Challenges.

Once the students attended the two sessions of their choice, TEC organized a dinner with Faculty Advisors where students were able to learn about how advising will be different for the remainder of their academic career and how to avoid common mistakes.

TEC wanted to have 100 freshmen attend the event, and 107 registered, but it fell short of its goal because only 87 students attended. However, Eguiza said that TEC was pleased with the turnout.

The conference is a work in progress and the TEC coordinators are working on improving the conference for the following years by asking for feedback from the attendees about their thoughts and improvement ideas.

“The way we know that our goals are being accomplished is through pre and post surveys,” Eguiza said. “By assessing how they are feeling regarding their second year before and after the event, we are able to know what we are doing right and what can be improved for next year.”

Follow Andrea on Twitter @Andreaa88D