Welcome Class of 2022!

Today marks the start of the first of many orientations that are happening throughout June for the new incoming class.  Some of you or even most of you haven’t even graduated from high school.  You haven’t even finished that chapter of your life and you are already being asked to plan for your next.  College is your next chapter and during those four years, we are going to be here to help give you the tools to be successful in many more chapters.

A lot of information over the next two days, the next months, will be thrown at you in many different directions.  We here at CNHS recognize it is a myriad of information that you have to retain, so the information, because it is important, will be repeated to you multiple times in different ways.

We want you to be successful.  We want you to be prepared.  However, you will start a transition from high school to college.  A transition that might come easy to some and hard to many.  Classes are different, there is more freedom during the day, you don’t have a family member nagging you to get things done, or even your professors won’t give any reminders on when big papers are due or to do your homework.  You are going to be learning how to navigate this new level of responsibility and it might come naturally, and it might not.  (It is truly okay to ask for help, we want to help.)

My first semester of college was definitely eye opening.  I did well in high school with minimum effort.  I had structure that worked for me and was able to balance school work, varsity sports, a job, and friends.  However at college, playing field hockey at the collegiate level, not having class every day and just trying to make friends and be social was a bit more difficult that I thought it would be.  It took me a semester, seeing my final grades, and a big stern (but with love) talk from my parents to have me realize things at college will not be as they were in high school.

We in CNHS Office of Student Services (OSS) are resources for you to get what you want out of your next four years.  We at CNHS OSS are the beginning of your next chapter of your life that will help guide you.  I am going to show my geek side and use the example of, we are like Gandolf in Lord of the Rings that is starting you on your adventure.

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Outside UVM

Study abroad is a topic that is very popular with any college student.  Who wouldn’t want to spend a semester in Rome, London, or Barcelona?  However, a semester abroad experience might not be in the cards for a CNHS student, because of your highly sequential curriculum.  Is it not completely impossible?  No, it is not, but it could take a lot of planning or reshaping of exactly what your idea of study abroad would actually be.

Many students when they hear about study abroad they think the experience is going away for a full semester.  I have to admit that is how I think of it, at first.  I, myself, did a full semester study abroad experience and I wouldn’t have traded that experience for anything.  There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about my experience and/or think of someone that was on the trip with me. The experience I had was one of the top 3 reasons on why I attended the college I did.  I knew going into college that I would need to make some sacrifices in order for my semester away to be possible.  I went to college and played field hockey which is a fall sport, my study abroad experience was going to be in the fall semester.  I chose not to play one semester in order for me to go away.  My study abroad experience also had no classes attached to that would go towards my major, besides a three credit independent study course.  I was already behind in my curriculum courses as I switched majors my sophomore year.  When I came back, I played catch up for two semesters.  I took up to 20 credits each of those semesters and still managed to play field hockey my last fall.  Was it hard?  Yes, extremely.  Was it worth it?  Absofreakinlutely.  I reshaped my four years to make what I wanted out of my four years to work.

Since working with students here at UVM, I have discovered that study abroad experiences come in all different sizes (semester long, week long) and shapes (local to international).  Talking about study abroad earlier on in your college career is beneficial.  Even though it might not be what you decide to do, it helps start the conversation to get you to where you need to be to be successful in whatever you want to accomplish.  I have spoken to students that start out strong with making sure they do a full semester.  We talk through it and go through options, what will it look like, who do I need to speak to first, how am I going to afford this?

First and foremost, speaking with your advisor would be your starting point.  Our different majors have different four year curriculum plans.  Advisors know when it will be the best time for you to do your study abroad and what it might look like.  Make an appointment with them and start to discuss your options.

Before you get to your appointment with your advisor, do some research on study abroad.  On the College of Nursing Health Sciences website, we have a page that is dedicated to health related abroad experiences.  We have one semester long option for Nursing students that will keep you in your four year curriculum.  Other options that we do have are what are called short-term travel study programs.  They could be anywhere between one to four weeks.  They are either over winter break, spring break, or during the summer.  These options are great experiences and they keep with your four year curriculum plan and they don’t have you missing much class to continue on.  Also, most help fulfil one of your Diversity credits.

If by chance, the options on our website do not fulfill what you think your study abroad experience will look like, bring those questions/concerns to your advisor appointment as well.  It helps to have your questions ready to go to help facilitate the conversation, so they can lay out exactly what your options will be.

CNHS’s majors are highly sequential and in order for you to accomplish what you want in your major, your priorities might shift. This is okay.  This in life happens and though it might feel like it sucks for you not to get that semester to Rome/London/Barcelona in, but this does not mean you will never get to these places in your life.

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Classes are just the beginning

You are in the midst of your 12th week in your spring semester, the snow has melted though any UVMer knows that there is probably another storm on the horizon.  The days have become longer which is a welcome sign as the winter months are long here in Vermont.  You are working your way towards the end of your first full year or potentially your last semester of your college undergrad career.  Whatever it might be you are starting to figure out the next steps.  What will my fall look like next year?  For a majority of the current students it is looking at your specific curriculum and working through the schedule of courses to find your CRN numbers and marking what days and times your required courses are going to be held.

In the College of Nursing and Health Sciences (CNHS), we have planned out your four years.  You know you are in highly sequential majors and there is hardly any wiggle room for you to figure out what to take next.  Unlike most majors at UVM, you don’t have to worry about when registration day rolls around.  You have to get in to these classes, only you can get into these classes and they are also only solely open to your specific cohort.  It takes the pressure off of making sure you get what you need.

What else can be done?  Are you planning on doing a minor?  Do you want to do an internship?  How about some research?  Your sequential academic plan doesn’t have to be the only courses you take here at UVM.  In speaking with students they talk about minors, “I have to minor, it will look good on my resume.” Not necessarily.  Sure, a minor can do can help bring prospective to your major that can be a unique approach or fits just nicely in what you are majoring in.  For example, nutrition is a popular minor with CNHS students.  Nutrition and a health related field just seems natural.

However, you might find yourself wondering how am I going to factor in an additional 15 to 18 credits to minor when I have such a highly sequential schedule?  This is where your four year plans come into play, along with speaking with your advisor.  What are your priorities?  What is it that you want out of your four years at UVM?  What do you want to look back on with fondness when it is your first year out of college, your 20th year?  You are here to definitely get an education and you will have the curriculum to get you to the place you need to be at when you walk across that stage in May, but what can add to your experience?

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