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Boot camp prepares incoming students for college success

Aug 5, 2021
Three women build with noodles
Three women build with noodles

KOKOMO, Ind. – How will I find my classes on the first day? Where do I get my books? What if I don’t know anybody?

These are all worries shared by incoming college students that make getting started more intimidating.

More than 500 new Indiana University Kokomo students prepared to begin on the right foot, by attending a one-day fall welcome boot camp. Led by faculty members, they learned their way around, met classmates and began building relationships on campus.

“I thought it would be a good opportunity to see where my classes are,” said Emma Piske, a future nurse from Sharpsville. “I was a little nervous about not knowing anyone on campus my first day. I’m excited to make some new friends, and study with new people.”

Christina Downey, associate vice chancellor for academic affairs and student success, spearheads the program.

“When they come to campus for boot camp, we spend the day getting them engaged and getting them excited,” she said. “Boot camp is more of a time to come enjoy yourself, meet some faculty, and make some friends.”

Students met in small groups to explore campus with a scavenger hunt, attended a workshop on how to meet new people and have good conversation, created kindness rocks that will be placed around campus, and learned about travel and enrichment opportunities available through the Kokomo Experience and You (KEY) program.

Ashley Leicht, graduate program coordinator and visiting lecturer in business, said even just a few hours into the day she could see the new students becoming friends.

“Having a familiar face when you come to campus helps you acclimate,” Leicht said.

Sarah Bodemuller was happy to get to know a faculty member, even though he wasn’t in her major.

“I feel like even though he’s not in my area, if I’m lost or need help, I have someone here I’ve talked to before,” she said. “You start to build those relationships, and get to know campus more so you aren’t completely lost when you come on the first day.”

Lexi Mason was happy to meet other people who share her nursing major.

“It’s nice to get to meet people, and learn how to be successful,” she said. “You’re learning how college is going to be, where your classes will be, and starting to meet people who may be in your classes. It’s definitely made me feel more ready.”

That was the goal for the day, Downey said.

“By the time students complete boot camp, they’re going to be really glad they came,” she said.

Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.

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