In nine short months, I will take perhaps the shortest and most memorable walk of my life: graduation. Senior year feels surreal, and I’m still trying to figure out where the time went.
Although freshman year seems like it was only yesterday, I’ve learned and accomplished a considerable amount during my time on campus.
Aside from the essential learning curves like how to call a pledge driver for a ride on Friday night or the difference between “deac” and “DKE,” Mother So Dear has expanded my worldview and elevated my intellect. She has shown patience and kindness throughout my four years to mold me into the young adult I am today.
First and foremost, you’re at Wake Forest to attend school, so make learning a priority. Although it may seem obvious, you would be surprised at how easy it is to get carried away by the social life flourishing on every corner of campus.
You were given an amazing opportunity to study at a prestigious university, so I encourage you to take advantage of it.
I’m sure you’ve already heard the infamous nickname “Work Forest” floating around the campus vernacular. I won’t lie to you — courses at Wake Forest are challenging. But what were you expecting? Nevertheless, success is simple if you’re committed to being the best student you can be.
Faculty members are dedicated to your success as a student, as well as an individual. A strong support system is available in every academic department, so take advantage of these resources, and always treat your professors with the utmost respect.
It is imperative that you go to class both physically and mentally present. If you tune out, shop online or oversleep, the consequences of a plummeting GPA are far more excruciating than being alert for a 50-minute block of time.
Focus on your studies and work hard in the classroom, because a blow to your GPA during freshman fall semester can take years to recover from.
That being said, it’s important to try to resist being affected by the high-stress environment.
I know this is easier said than done. We are all under an immense amount of pressure from our family, friends, professors and most importantly, ourselves.
The strain of success is crushing, so don’t forget to take time for yourself. Find a hobby, go to the party with your friends, exercise regularly or join a club to relieve some of the tension you feel from your inevitable workload and campus commitments.
Finally, remember that your college experience is completely your own and nobody else’s.
I remember the sickening feeling during the first few weeks of freshman year when I sat alone in my Bostwick home, scrolling through social media feeds. My best friends from high school seemed to be living glamorous lifestyles with their new collegiate squad. I desperately wanted to feel the same acceptance.
Do not compare your experience to anyone else’s. Each person’s transition is unique, and you, too, will eventually find your place.
Here’s the reality: you are all going through this together. Whatever mixed emotions you may be feeling, everyone else has felt the same way at one point or another. Hold your head up high, lean on one another, celebrate your success and learn from your mistakes.
Trust me, these next four years will be some of the most valuable and memorable, so make the most of every second as a Demon Deacon.