Dear Class of 2022,
Hats off to you for choosing a phenomenal place to spend the next four years of your life, congratulations! The decision to attend Wake Forest University was a big one I’m sure, but take a minute to pat yourself on the back, sigh a big sigh and gaze up at Wait Chapel in all its beauty. You’ve done something right to be standing where you’re standing, and from this point forward, the only shoes to fill are your own.
These are some pretty big shoes even if you’ve got small feet. You’re now a Demon Deacon, and if you’ve seen our mascot, you’ll have noticed that a Demon Deacon’s shoes are at least three sizes too big — around a size 25. That’s because our campus is full of people who think big thoughts, do big things and carry big calendars. We’re a relatively small school, but our student body is active enough to sustain over 250 student organizations. In between managing difficult course loads, supporting our sports teams, spending time with friends and making sure to get enough sleep, we’re organizing fundraisers for cancer research, working to fight food waste in the local food desert and leading new social initiatives to encourage community activism.
That’s the spirit of Pro Humanitate, for the people. Our university’s motto courses through the underground tunnels; it sits under the brick pathways and it echoes in every step you take as a Demon Deacon, with those big shoes of yours.
Don’t go buy thick socks, and don’t hope your shoes will shrink in the dorm dryer. You’ve got huge potential, you’re not here by accident, and what you get out of your experience will depend on what you put into it. Run for leadership positions, try out for club sports, take part in campus events like Hit the Bricks and Pro Humanitate Day, make new friends and take time to get to know the service workers on campus.
However, for a second forget your shoes and take a look at a different aspect of the Demon Deacon’s outfit. He’s got on a big yellow bowtie, quite the statement piece to pair with the black suit. First and foremost, you’re a professional student, and you won’t be an effective club member or an effective friend if you’re always finishing papers last minute and pulling all nighters in the library. Bring your best self to class, spend time in office hours and form effective study habits. Take advantage of our small class sizes and small school resources, and make sure you’re truly learning the material you’re here to learn.
The third and final aspect of the Demon Deacon’s outfit is the one I first told you to take off, your hat. While your hat can define you, the neat thing about a hat is that you can change it up without adjusting your root ensemble. So, change it up a bit and wear a different hat; take a class you normally wouldn’t, join a club outside of your comfort zone and make a friend who has a totally different perspective on life. You’ll grow so much more as a person and as a student if you branch out a bit, and at the very least, your friends down the road will get a kick out of the fact that you once got sunk playing intramural battleship in the campus pool with your random freshman roommate.
As you grow and try on different hats in your time here, your peers will be doing the same. Every person on this campus has more than a few layers, and it’s worth taking the time and patience to get to know one another beyond a single label. Don’t let your major define you, and just as importantly, don’t let it define other people either. There are English students in science clubs, pre-med students on sports teams and double majors in math and music. Treat your fellow Deacons with respect, and enjoy the time you have here, it certainly goes by quickly.
Class of 2019