Beginning your Wake Forest career will undoubtedly be one of the most pivotal moments in your life. It means moving away from the comfort of our families and friends at home, making new friends and moving to a new environment where you are constantly surrounded by people the same age as you every moment of every day.
This should be both an extremely exciting — while also fairly daunting — time. I’d be lying if I told you I wasn’t a little bit nervous and scared about moving across the country for school and starting new.
While it’s been three years since I was in your shoes, it often seems like I was just getting ready to move into my room in Johnson and meet my roommate. Now that the time has flown by and I’m on the brink of graduation, here’s some advice I wish somebody had told me as I embarked upon my Wake Forest career three short years ago.
Don’t spread yourself too thin
When you arrive to campus, you’ll quickly learn that there is a seemingly limitless number of resources and opportunities for personal, social, academic and professional growth at your fingertips. One of the easiest things to do is to sign up for every club and organization you hear about and want to get involved in everything. While being involved on campus is something everyone should do, I recommend finding just one or two things to get really involved in. I’ve found it much more rewarding and enjoyable to give the couple of things I’m involved in outside the classroom my maximum effort and attention as opposed to dipping my toe into 10 different things. Doing this really allows you to build great relationships with those you surround yourself while simultaneously developing strong skills and habits.
Take your education seriously
It’s very easy to get entrenched in the non-stop social life here in the Forest, but it’s also important to remember why you are here. You chose Wake Forest for a reason. The resources you have available to you are unbelievable, so take advantage of them. Don’t sit idly by in your classes awaiting the end so you can go back to your bed and watch The Office. Take advantage of each minute you’re in class and be engaged. Build relationships in those classes, not just with your peers but with your professors. We have some of the most accomplished and intelligent professors in the country, so get to know them by visiting during office hours because they’re here to help you.
Additionally, take classes that sound interesting. It’s easy to just think of your path to graduation as completing a series of divisionals and major requirements. It can be so much more than that with an open mind. Even though from day one I knew I wanted to study in the business school, I made sure I took classes that seemed cool and different. Divisionals don’t have to be a drag. In fact, they can be some of the best and most memorable classes you take in your Wake Forest career, as my First Year Seminar in Bluegrass Music and politics divisional in American Government were during my freshman year.
Step outside your comfort zone
My last piece of advice is to not let yourself get trapped in the routinized lifestyle that college can become. It’s easy to walk through college as a series of weekdays and weekends with classes during the week and going out with your friends Friday and Saturday nights. While that’s fine, challenge yourself to make your college experience more than just that. I recommend taking on a new challenge you never would have considered as your younger self.
As a sophomore, I made the best decision of my college career and joined this newspaper. In high school, I dreaded writing and was downright bad at it. However, I went out on a limb and began writing for the sports section of the Old Gold & Black and quickly rose up the ranks to Sports Editor and eventually News Editor my junior year. Taking on all this writing and editing has turned writing from a weakness of mine into a skill. Additionally, joining the paper forced me out of the routinized life that being a sophomore in a fraternity can quickly become and expanded my circle of friends.
All in all, enjoy your time at Wake Forest. It won’t be perfect. You will experience plenty of ups and downs throughout your tenure, but make the most out of your time as a Demon Deacon. Don’t let the time pass you by — you’ll be glad you didn’t and will come out a better and more intelligent person because of it.