Welcome Week was coming again! It's a monumental week for the freshers for whom it is the first introduction to their life at university. For me it's much less important, but not inconsequential, as I am responsible for it. I don't have to do an awful lot of organisational work, as the support staff of the School does a lot and the Head Peer Guides (HPGs) do too, but still. I feel the responsibility! And the recent years it has become a bit of a drag to keep in touch with the HPGs. They just don't answer if you mail them! And then you just don't know if everything is rolling or not, and I worry.
This year I worried too. It was soon clear we would have a record number of new students. We had had an all-time record the year before, with 178, but this year we would break the 200 barrier. And with increasing pressure on the students, it is increasingly difficult to find Peer Guides. So I would have to give every Peer Guide so many freshers! That would wear them out. And not be nice on the freshers either. But what can you do? We did keep recruiting until the end, as every extra pair of hands is a bonus. But that does mean you don't know until the very end who your Peer Guides will be.
The HPGs were not overly communicative but fortunately, one (out of four) took the lead and sorted things out. He also kept in touch. That was a godsend!
In the end we had 207 new students. And in all likelihood, 22 Peer Guides (one had not appeared on the website a week before Welcome Week but I trust she'll do the job). So 9 or 10 students each! It's a lot. And we'll have to somehow fit them all into one lab to do Induction Day (introduction to the School of Ocean Sciences). It will be daunting! But I hope it will all work out. I'll be busy on the Monday (induction Day), Thursday (beach trip) and Friday (taster lectures). But otherwise I should be free to continue preparing for the start of actual term!
I really hope these high student numbers don't mean the experience is rather diminished for the new students. My Welcome Week still strongly resonates within my life! In a good way! I hope it's the same for them. But hopefully I don't have to worry about that anymore next year!