Congratulations, you have officially made it to campus!
I am sure you feel like you’ve been a part of the Wake Forest community for several months now based on all of the research you’ve collected from campus websites, pamphlets and places you’ve been shown on tours. From this, I am sure you’re thinking freshman year is going to be just about perfect … right?
Well, not exactly. Of course, I’m not telling you that your first year is going to be bad — it will probably be excellent — but there will certainly be some surprises and details that were deliberately hidden from you when you toured and researched Wake Forest.
For starters, although you were shown these buildings on your tours, at least 5/7 of you are not living in South or Angelou. To those of you who are, you are going to catch a lot of flak for it since your living situation rivals or exceeds that of any student at Wake Forest (including upperclassmen.)
I lived in Johnson during my freshman year. When I first swung open the door of my room, I was instantly taken aback by the size of my living quarters. Those of you in Johnson, Bostwick, Luter, Babcock and Collins will quickly become used to life in the not-so-friendly confines of your hall, but I imagine that you did not realize how small some of the rooms are. Couple this with the fact that the AC and general cleanliness of these older buildings is lacking, and you are bound to encounter some hardships. Personally, I lived with a chronic cough and pinkeye for my first semester — The Freshman Plague.
Yet, I suppose that my immune system was eventually forced to adapt or die, so your health, too, will likely reach a sort of equilibrium by second semester. These dorms are essentially petri dishes surrounded by brick, as no one really takes especially good care of his or her hygiene, and the cattle farm-like size of your new living arrangement only amplifies the spread of contagions.
Of course, the dorm is only your first wake-up call. Those of you who brought your car to campus will soon realize that the freshman lot may as well be on Mars.
Even though shuttles run relatively frequently to the lot, the logistical inconvenience of moving your car for football games and back into the lot after a weekend will prove to be more frustrating than expected. For this reason, freshmen are basically land-locked on campus for a majority of their first year. This is not as bad as it sounds and there are aspects of this that are actually quite nice. This forces you to socialize on campus more than you would if an escape were simpler.
By the way, parking tickets are also a common occurrence for those of you who think you are sneaky (I learned this lesson the hard way.) The parking and transportation ticketers will find you and you will get a ticket even if you think you are using extreme discernment when selecting a good location for an attempt at an overnight parking violation.
Additionally, your roommate situation also may not go as smoothly as you hoped it would. Wake Forest claims to hold a roommate matching success rate somewhere in the 90 percent range. While it is true that most people do not go through the process of switching roommates, there are a number of individuals who will not mesh as well with their roommates as they had hoped.
It is important to remember that your roommate does not need to be your best friend, although if it works out that way, more power to both of you. If you establish a relationship with your roommate that can at least be described as functional, then everything will work out; however, passive aggression, excessive messiness and frequent late-night visitations of both sexual and platonic natures are all catalysts for a negative relationship with your roommate.
Lastly, Wake Forest tends to stress the importance of creating diversity. They might say something like, “We want to create a student body that brings all types of experience to the table in order to cultivate a varied learning environment.” However, when you consider the annual $70,000 price tag, it should not be surprising that the reality is not always as simple as a tour guide would have you believe.
In fact, according to a recent study in the New York Times, Wake Forest has more students in the top one percent of financial brackets than the bottom 60 percent. Do with this information what you will, but just know that Wake is not quite the perfect cross-section that it hopes to be, despite its best efforts.
All complaints aside, you will shortly realize that these hidden realities are quite trivial and they should cause no more than passing frustration for you. You picked the right school and I hope you will come to love this place like I did, warts and all.