Oct. 6, 2009
Madison, Wis.- UW freshman-student athletes will attend a new course this fall that helps them adjust to college life and learn about their environment. From this academic year and on, first year athletes are required to take a one-credit course where they meet in groups led by older student-athletes and directed by academic services Career Development Coordinator Kelli Richards.
The content of the course is divided in four main topics that will be developed throughout the semester. The first part of the course focuses on college transition. Tim Baardseth, a Ph.D student from the Dept. of Counseling Psychology at UW and instructor of the course, says "This is a challenging stage of their lives especially due to the pressures student-athletes are exposed to."
The support and advice from the peer leaders will help them to make smart decisions and focus on their development as young adults. Then freshmen student-athletes will learn about career development and how to prepare for their future as employees. This stage of the course will help them decide which major they want to go into and what kind of jobs they might want to apply for.
The third part of the course focuses on alcohol education and how to approach situations in which alcohol is involved. In this phase first year student-athletes can hear the advice from their peer-leaders on how to deal with these situations without getting in trouble. The fourth part of the course includes sexual health and gender relationships. First year student-athletes will be able to talk about sexual education with members of Sex Out Loud, a student organization at UW.
In previous years, first year student-athletes had a mentor that helped them with their problems and met with them once a week but those people weren't student-athletes. Heather Herrick, a senior in the UW women's golf team and one of the peer leaders of the course, says that she wishes she would have had something like this her freshman year. "I think it's better to have another student-athlete to talk about these issues because they have gone through the same situations and that really helps."
By Isabel Alvarez, UW golf student-athlete