A new tradition designed to engage students, foster relationships, and reintroduce campus resources and offices welcomed Johns Hopkins University first-year students back to campus this month.
First Year February is a Homewood Student Affairs initiative that combines workshops, social events, and stress-relieving activities geared toward first-year students.
"There isn't a ton of programming that we currently do for students in the spring semester," said Justin Beauchamp, assistant director of Orientation and First-Year Experience. "I hope students feel more engaged with the Hopkins community. And [feel] a strong sense of community to their fellow classmates."
The month highlights events already happening on campus, such as Black History Month or Panhellenic and Interfraternity Council recruitment. But Beauchamp and his team of student program assistants planned additional programming specifically for first-year students.
Some of these events include Café Valentino: A Romance of Career and Academic Planning, which takes place today from 4 to 6 p.m.; Lunch with Center for Social Concern Director Rollin Johnson on Thursday; and Soaring into Sophomore Year: Reapplying for Financial Aid, also on Thursday.
"I personally would have loved to see similar initiatives when I was going through my second semester of my first year," said Eva Izquierdo, a program assistant for Orientation and First Year Experience.
JHU's Counseling Center hosts the Mindfulness and Mediation Workshop Series, which is designed to help students develop skills that allow them to slow down and accept the present moment, said Christine Conway, associate director of outreach and sexual assault.
"By learning and practicing mindfulness and meditation consistently over four weeks," Conway said, "students start to experience the benefits, which include decreased feelings of pressure and stress, improved focus, an increase in positive emotions, and greater self-knowledge."
The month of events wraps up on Feb. 28 with High Table at 6:30 p.m. in the Ralph S. O'Connor Recreation Center. Students will sport formalwear and sit down for a meal with faculty and executive administration.
"Our main goal is to give students more confidence as they continue to take harder classes without covered grades, look for internships and jobs on campus, and become more involved in Hopkins," Izquierdo said. "We also hope students gain more sense of belonging as they attend these events and see the amount of opportunity Hopkins students have."