Hanging in the dorms, making new friends and strolling through Aggieville on a hot Saturday night — although nothing special for a seasoned Wildcat, the three-day orientation adventure known as Wildcat Warm-up gave many incoming students a sense of what life in Manhattan might feel like.
The tradition saw students from across the country gather in Manhattan to explore the community and learn what it means to be a Wildcat before their first year on campus. Gathered in groups of 12-20 with two counselors, students got to know each other and the community by traveling around town, dining in the residence halls and other activities such as an obstacle course.
“We did a ropes course and our whole group had to work together,” Alycen Berridge, senior in elementary education, said. “It was a way to make connections and have a good time and get familiar with K-State before you came to college.”
The experience created friendships lasting beyond the weekend getaway. Like Berridge, attendee Grace Scott, a graduate student in couples and family therapy, said her experience deepened her connection with K-State.
“As a student, it was how I really got to make connections before coming to K-State,” Scott said. “I am still friends with people that were in my group [and] that were my leaders.”
The new Get K-State Ready program replaced Wildcat Warm-up this year. The orientation started with students virtually meeting their academic advisor, followed by orientation leaders walking students through a Canvas course.
“The orientation leaders had required Zoom hours and walked [students] through things that would be essential to know,” Svea Knight, a student employee at the office of admissions and senior in dietetics said.
Get K-State Ready provided flexibility to students for their college preparation, including a several day in-person session and the ability to watch previous virtual sessions.
“Get K-State Ready was recorded and posted on the website, so even if you couldn’t make any of the sessions you could watch the recording,” Knight said.
The new program tied the virtual orientation in with K-State’s usual Week of Welcome. New student activities held between Aug. 18-21 included Late Night at the Union, the Pancake Feed and the Convocation & Pep Rally at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.
While the future of Wildcat Warm-up and Get K-State Ready is undetermined in a post-pandemic world, the event at its core remains the same: year-to-come preparations and connection-forming opportunities.