Life
An open letter to the class of 2021
Madison Zehmer/Old Gold & Black
By
Editor-In-Chief
Saturday, August 26, 2017

Dear Class of 2021,

First and foremost, I would like to congratulate you for choosing the best possible place to spend the next four years of your undergraduate career.

As a senior, I can wholeheartedly say that Mother So Dear is a special place filled with brilliant academia, countless unique traditions and an overflowing amount of opportunities. The southern hospitality and intimate learning experience that are embedded into the campus culture set Wake Forest apart from any other university. Yet from my years of experience, I can also tell you that the success you glean from your academic career here is contingent on the effort you devote to your personal growth. And here at Wake Forest, effort takes a lot of different forms.

The first, and probably most obvious, is the effort you dedicate towards the classroom. Being present in class involves more than actually sitting in the chair. It includes keeping up-to-date on your readings, speaking up in class to share your insight and taking moments to reflect on what you have learned rather than just cramming for a test or pulling all-nighters to finish a paper. Your GPA is going to reflect the effort you put into your classes. And as someone who is now looking to venture into the job market, I can personally confirm that you will thank yourself later for the effort you put in, especially your freshman year.

Yet effort is also crucial in terms of becoming involved on campus. The first couple weeks are going to feel like everyone is throwing flyers at you and asking you to put down your email in order to get more information about joining their club or organization. The easiest response to feeling overwhelmed is to shut down. But from my experience, I have found that being involved in an organization has nothing but a positive effect on helping Wake Forest feel more like home. Having an escape from the stress of homework and feeling a part of something bigger will help you quickly integrate into the Wake Forest community. However, it’s important to find that club or organization that aligns with your values, meets the hours of time you can commit and matches your interests. Finding your niche (not your best friend’s niche or what your parents want your niche to be) is what will make your four years here feel personalized, purposeful and memorable. But again, joining a club or organization takes effort. And you will find that what you put into it is exactly what you will get out of it.

Lastly, and in my opinion most importantly, effort is required in building relationships on campus. Wake Forest is busting at the seams with highly qualified individuals who can serve as lifelong connections, mentors and friends. College is a four-year growing experience, which is why it is essential that you build relationships with your professors and fellow classmates in a way that challenges you to become a better version of yourself. Although this campus is pretty, the people are the ones who truly make it beautiful.

As a treat to help you all get acclimated, our staff has compiled a comprehensive guide to assist you on your journey through freshman year and beyond. While our staff includes students from different interests and majors, — Greek, non-Greek, club sport athletes, business school students, humanities majors and more — we realize that there are so many niches on campus that our staff does not even begin to reach. So we hope that this guide simply serves as a springboard into your personal adventure at Wake Forest as you explore campus and find the majors, organizations, clubs and activities that help you feel most at home during your four years here.

On behalf of the Editorial Staff of the Old Gold & Black, we welcome you into the campus community with open arms and are looking forward to seeing each and every one of you around campus.

Go Deacs,

McKenzie Maddox

Editor-in-chief

Class of 2018