Academic Peer Advisor Post about Common Reading

Hi there class of 2023 and transfer students!

I just started reading Find Me Unafraid: Love, Loss and Hope in an African Slum by Kennedy Odede ‘12 and Jessica Posner ‘09 and within the first two pages I was captivated by the engaging and compelling narration of Kennedy’s story. When I got to the first chapter, Jessica’s articulate account of her arrival to Kibera made me want to hear more. How did she participate in the community during a semester abroad? How did she and Kennedy manage to create such a forward thinking organization and integrate it into the slums of Kenya?

This will be my fourth common reading book at Wes, and it is the one I am most looking forward to discussing. Honestly, I had a really hard time reading my common read my freshman year, but when I got to the small group discussion it made the process worth it. It was so cool to see how, even though we all read the same book, people from different backgrounds interpret things so differently. I had a great small group discussion, seeing so many different points of view from my classmates.

The past two years I have been an orientation leader, so I have participated in the common read and the orientation discussions. I really enjoyed the books the past two years and got so much out of reading them. This summer, however, I am captivated in a way I have yet to be with any of the other common readings. I can’t stop thinking about Kennedy’s prologue to the book and am very excited to continue reading about his life story.

You, the incoming students, will have an amazing opportunity to talk about the wide variety and differences between everyone you are matriculating with. I can’t wait to hear what comes out of the small group discussions, and see how the entrepreneurship of two of our alumni can jumpstart your journey here at Wesleyan.

If you go into your WesPortal, there will be information on how to access an electronic copy of the book. You will also see information on how to submit a short response by August 16th. You can think of this as your first “assignment” of college. A response with the intention to get you to start critically thinking about the material of the reading.

If you have any questions, you can reach out to Jennifer Wood, Dean for the class of 2023 ( as well as the Orientation Interns (

I really hope you enjoy the book and can’t wait to hear some of your thoughts during orientation. Feel free to contact myself ( or any of the Academic Peer Advisors ( if you have any questions or want to get started on study strategies or schedule planning!

See you in August,
Sydney T-K