First Year Matters

June 2018

Dear New Wesleyan Students,

We are writing to give you your very first homework assignment from Wesleyan!  Each year Wesleyan’s “First Year Matters” (FYM) program identifies a common reading for all new students, providing a shared experience for the entire class as well as an introduction to intellectual life at Wesleyan.  The FYM Committee has unanimously selected A Body, Undone: Living on After Great Pain by Wesleyan Professor of English Christina Crosby.

In her memoir, Crosby blends deeply personal narrative and poetry with critical feminist and queer thinking to explore the profound impact of the 2003 bicycle accident that left her paralyzed. As philosopher and gender theorist Judith Butler notes: "A Body, Undone is a memoir about surviving in the midst of community, reflecting on loss, the interminable nature of grief, and on the meaning of living on. …With prose that can only be described as burning with lucidity and precision, she takes us through the aftermath of the accident and the gradual understanding of its implications for her physical and psychic life. An extraordinary and luminous book."

We are enthusiastic about introducing the Class of 2022 to Professor Crosby’s work and look forward to the important discussions we will have about these issues during orientation and throughout the coming academic year.  Professor Crosby has graciously agreed to address the class during orientation.

A hard copy of the book is is being mailed to you. You may also access an electronic copy of the text by clicking here. If you are on the Wesleyan campus network, this will take you directly to the book. If you are off campus, you will be asked to log in with your Wesleyan username and password in order to access the book.

The FYM Response is designed as a tool for you to begin articulating your synthesis of the book and your response will be made available to the faculty and student leaders that will be leading group discussion sessions during orientation. The submission deadline for the FYM Responses is 5pm on Friday, August 10.  Again, you will need to read the book and file your response before arriving to campus in order to be fully prepared to engage the material during orientation.

If you any questions, please contact the Orientation Interns via or 860-685-5666.

We hope that you enjoy this summer reading, and we very much look forward to welcoming you to campus at the end of August.  We’re thrilled that you’ll be joining this wonderful community!


Joyce Jacobsen
Vice President for Academic Affairs

Dean Mike Whaley
Vice President for Student Affairs