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The Antelope

Office of Student and Family Transitions’ podcast helps students navigate college

Office+of+Student+and+Family+Transitions+hosts+the+Dear+First+Year+podcast.+Photo+by+Shelby+Berglund+%2F+Antelope+Staff
Office of Student and Family Transitions’ hosts the “Dear First Year” podcast. Photo by Shelby Berglund / Antelope Staff

ostdiekr@lopers.unk.edu

Aidan Weidner, a UNK senior, is fulfilling his duties as the Blue Gold Welcome Student Coordinator by continuing to host the “Dear First Year” podcast. This podcast was introduced in 2021 by the Office of Student and Family Transitions as a navigational tool for first-year students.

From choosing a major, to mental health, to friendships and involvement, the Dear First Year podcast covers it all.

“I think being able to take a deeper dive into the different offices and resources that we have on campus is the most beneficial part for students,” Weidner said. “At New Student Enrollment, you only get a blanket coverage of what an office does, and then at the Blue Gold Welcome weekend, a lot of different things are being thrown at you. The podcast is a nice way to break up information.”

The episodes are about 15-20 minutes on average so students can listen on the go.

“This format makes information easy to consume without taking away from other activities,” said Charlotte Okraska, graduate assistant in the Office of Student and Family Transitions. “Students can listen to it while they walk to class or eat lunch.”

Okraska co-hosted the September episode with Weidner, which covered the Loper2Loper Mentoring program.

“Co-hosting the podcast showed me the background effort that goes into planning, scripting, recording and editing a podcast,” Okraska said. “It gave me a new appreciation for the podcasts that I listen to. It’s a lot of work.”

Weidner’s role as the host came with his position as the Blue Gold Welcome Student Coordinator, which makes him the third host of the podcast so far. Along with podcasting, his position plans the Blue Gold Welcome weekend in both August and January. Additionally, he works with several programs that the Office of Student and Family Transitions offers to help students at UNK thrive.

Now that the Blue Gold Welcome weekend is over and the semester is underway, the podcast serves as an outlet to stay connected with his role on campus.

“I enjoy the opportunity to talk about a wide range of different topics,” Weidner said. “We don’t want to cover the same things every year. For example, an episode about preparing for finals week would get really repetitive, so it’s a fun challenge to go out each month and find a new podcast topic.”

Clarifying common questions about offices on campus is what the podcast is made for.

“First-year students don’t know what they don’t know, so the podcast helps give them answers to questions they might not even know to ask,” Okraska said. 

The upcoming October episode will cover the benefits of success coaching, which is available to students in the Learning Commons.

Students interested in tuning into the Dear First Year podcast can find it on both Spotify and Apple Podcasts. Ideas for future episodes can be emailed to sft@unk.edu.

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Rachel Ostdiek, Executive Editor
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