I was really happy I didn't have to organise Welcome Week any more! I quite remembered at what strange hours I had been in the field the week before, and how tired I had been. It was great to not come out of the field and immediately have to hit my computer in order to do some firefighting regarding Welcome Week. Last year that had been exactly what I had had to do!
Not having to organise it did not mean I wouldn't be involved. Some of the activities during that week are for all staff, like meeting your new tutees and welcoming the mature student. Normally we meet our new tutees on the Monday, but this year this had to, of course, be moved, what with the Queen's funeral and all. So that now happened on the Wednesday, on the same day we were welcoming the mature students. The coffee break with the mature students was nice. Then in the afternoon I just walked into the main hall in the main building when my picture appeared on the big screen. Excellent timing! That was the moment all my tutees, or at least those who were present, would come to me, so I could find a place to sit down and get to know each other. The idea had been we do the meeting in this lecture hall, but all the seats were facing in one direction, and that doesn't help. So I had to make a quick decision, and decided to go to the café in the same building. If the students didn't know where this was, it would be helpful for them to find out now!
We put some tables together to make space for us all; I had 11 tutees, and eight had actually showed up. I bought them all a drink (the serving staff, who were probably students on a side hustle, thought I didn't know what I was getting myself into), and we had a bit of a chat. We all introduced ourselves, and I told them a little bit about what I am for, and what we would do together this academic year. It's a nice bunch!
The big event was on the Friday; the annual beach trip. I tend to find it exhausting! But that meant I wanted to be there, as I assumed it was also exhausting for the people who were organising it this year. And I hitched a ride with one of the technicians who went there mainly to keep an eye on things.
We got there early; there was no-one to be seen. Then one of the team organising this, Laura, appeared, and a bit later also the photographer. And then, suddenly: two coaches full of students. Martyn, the other half of the team, was not there yet! But Laura welcomed them, and I made sure to be by her side for backup and support. And then Martyn appeared. And he explained there were two more coaches to come! This was going to be busy.
We traditionally start the day with a sandcastle competition. And we normally get a lot of wales, turtles and mermaids. This year did not disappoint. But there also were two octopuses; one was almost intimidating in how realistic it was, and the other one was wearing shoes. And one of the merpersons was a merMartyn! That was quite hilarious as well. And this year we even had a Formula One car.
|It was a good day for it!|
After that sandcastle competition, we tend to do a competition of who can fill a PVC tube, which has lots of holes in it, with sea water the fastest. The trick is to efficiently plug the holes with seaweed, and somehow get the seawater to the tube. Normally, students ferry the water in from the sea, but this year, the winning team just dug down. It was on the beach; it is not as if the water table is far away! This year I actually participated, as I saw one of my own tutees go for it with very little assistance. I could not let that happen. But our skills in plugging holes were clearly not up to scratch.
There had also been mention of pictionary, but it looked like the students were getting tired. And then we all went back to campus again. I think it went well! And the next time we see them the academic year will have properly started…