A student’s perspective of what waits behind the curtain of university advertising to help navigate the Wake Forest bubble
Ever since you took your first SAT exam, colleges from across the country have flooded your mailbox with brochures boasting favorable statistics and featuring glossy pictures of students sitting on a perfectly mowed quad.
The smiling tour guides, who led you through the newest and nicest dorm on campus, have cemented images of a college paradise in your head through their anecdotal stories.
Yet after perusing the thousands of undergraduate programs and undergoing some thorough decision- making, you’ve chosen to become a Demon Deacon.
Now that you’ve taken your first steps on campus with your student I.D. in hand, it’s important not to let the inspirational testimonials and picture-perfect students that are highlighted in the brochures haunt your perspective of a good college experience.
So to start your life on campus, it’s time to pull back the gold and black curtain that’s been covering Mother So Dear and expose some of the realities of Wake Forest that the brochures don’t tell you.
First, if you haven’t already purchased some form of rain boots, you need to do so now.
The great thing about Wake Forest is that the campus is walkable, so during class changes you can wave to your friends across the quad as you walk to your next class.
However, those same quads that are beautiful on a sunny day, unfortunately have a drainage problem.
Whenever Mother Nature decides it’s going to rain, you’ll have to navigate a series of lakes just to get to class — beware of the puddle right outside Greene.
Second, the “convenient Wake Line shuttle system” that “everyone” rides to get off campus is pretty much only used by two groups of people: seniors getting to class from their off campus residences and freshmen with cars.
The freshmen parking lot is at BB&T field, so freshmen use the shuttle system to get their cars when they need them.
But they will also have to use it whenever there is a sporting event or a Winston-Salem function, such as the Dixie Classic Fair.
This is because these same freshmen parking lots are used for these events’ parking.
So all the freshmen parked at BB&T field have to move their cars to a new designated place until the event is over and then they have to move them back in order to avoid getting a parking ticket. Sounds “convenient” right?
Which leads to the third point: park-ing tickets. The one group on campus that you don’t want to mess with is the Parking and Transportation staff.
If your car is parked on campus illegally, — it doesn’t matter if it’s sunny, rainy, snowing or if there’s a tornado warning — they will find it and they will give you a ticket. They are very diligent and loyal to their jobs.
So unless you want to spend $50 on a parking fine that you could’ve used at Chipotle, it’s best to move your car when you’re supposed to.
Fourth, nobody really wears the yellow and black tie-dye shirts they hand out.
At a tailgate you’re more likely to find girls in dresses and boys in Polos and khakis. For many students at Wake Forest, tailgating is one of their favorite experiences.
However, if you aren’t careful, it can end very badly.
Make sure that you go with a group that is accountable for one another and never walk from tent to tent with a red solo cup in your hand. Police officers and Alcohol Law Enforcement (A.L.E.) personnel frequently circle the tennis courts, so it’s best not to give them a reason to pull you aside.
Fifth, Wake Forest gets the nickname “Work Forest” for a reason.
As much fun as going out with your new friends on Friday night can be, there will rarely be a time when you’re completely stress-free and don’t have some sort of assignment or test hanging over your head.
However, as weird as it may sound, it’s somewhat comfort-ing that everyone at Wake Forest has a heavy course load.
When you’re spending 16 hours in the library on Sunday, it’s nice to know that most of your friends will be sitting with their nose in a book right beside you.
Which brings up the final point: you will face failure. Wake Forest has a talent for selecting well-rounded students.
Between your grades, application and interview, they selected you to attend the university because they found you impressive.
So it’s easy to get down on yourself the first time you get a terrible grade on a paper that you thought was incredible or fail a test that you spent three days studying for, because let’s face it — you’re used to succeeding.
Therefore, it’s important to understand that bumps in the road are part of your experience at Wake Forest, too, even though you might not see them listed in the brochure.