When I traveled to campus this time last year for Scholars Weekend, I thought that the merit scholarships I would be interviewed for were monetary awards and nothing else. However, as the weekend went by, I quickly realized that the program would be so much more than that. With Scholars Weekend fast approaching, here’s a look into my experience with my scholarships for those who might be about to arrive on campus as scholarship finalists!
I am lucky to be a part of two scholarship programs. One is called the Howard Nemerov Writing Scholars Program and the other is the Honorary Scholars Program in the Arts & Sciences. The latter program consists of four divisions based on academic interest, and I am in the humanities-focused one.
The Honorary Scholars program provided me with friends from the second I moved into my dorm in August, as we went on a 2-night pre-orientation trip together to Trout Lodge, a YMCA camp in Potosi, Missouri. We spent the trip getting to know each other through typical camp activities such as ropes courses and challenges, but also got a ton of time to just hang out and talk to each other. I came back to campus for regular orientation, called Bear Beginnings, with a group of people who are now some of my closest friends.
Every Thursday afternoon we have a one-hour seminar during which faculty members come to talk to us about their research. This seminar is a great way to learn about a wide array of academic departments and make connections with professors. We always get dinner together after seminar and eat brunch together about every other Sunday. Other than these usual gatherings, we constantly see each other in mutual classes and for meals throughout the week. I’m so grateful for this group and the wonderful friendships and opportunities it has provided me.
The Nemerov Writing Program also has a wonderful weekly seminar during which we do creative writing exercises and discuss each other’s work. We publish multiple short collections of our writing throughout the year as well as a yearly anthology. I have learned so much about writing from my talented peers and have also gotten very close with them.
I absolutely love my scholarship programs, and it all started at Scholars Weekend. Here’s some tips for the weekend if you’re coming!
- Don’t be afraid to talk to current students
- WashU students love talking about the school to prospective incoming first-years. Your host and current students in your program are great people to talk to, but don’t be afraid to go up to other students to ask questions, whether you need directions or want to hear them talk about their experience at the University. You’ll learn a lot from these conversations!
- Pack a variety of clothes
- Make sure to bring a couple nice/business casual outfits as well as comfortable clothes for attending activities and classes. You’ve probably been given specific instructions for this, so make sure to check those out. Your host is a great person to ask about what to pack!
- Allow yourself to enjoy it
- I know the idea of Scholars Weekend can be super stressful, but it actually ends up being a really fun time. There are a ton of great activities planned and you are given a lot of free time to get to know your fellow finalists, who are always really interesting and kind people. Let yourself have fun and explore WashU rather than worrying too much about the interview portion of the weekend.
Good luck, scholars!!!