Dear Wake Forest Community,
It is with great nostalgia and happiness that I address you all today, especially the class of 2019. We came into this community in the fall of 2015 excited and confused about what would come. Now, four years later, it is our time to move on. Before we all do so, I have some final words.
First, to my classmates, I would like to say congratulations. It was only four years ago that we all came onto this campus. When looking back at our time here, we’re flooded with many memories. Engulfed in laughter and smiles, we found our mentors, friends, and supporters. Though we did not know it at the time, the people we met on this campus will forever remain with us. No matter how you met and how you grew together, friendships at college will always remain special. I look so fondly back to rolling the quad, our first Preident’s Ball and Lighting of the Quad. No matter how long it took or where it is, you have found your community here, and it has become your home. It will certainly be sad to leave that community, but I urge you to hold onto these memories.
However, this journey has not been without our own struggles. Whether personal or campus-wide, there have been times where we have been tested. The “Work Forest” mentality, though beneficial at times, can be a toxic atmosphere that pushes us to our lowest. I personally look back on these moments with disdain, but what was the end result? We will likely not remember the answer to that physics question or the projected revenue of that fictional company. I believe that what truly matters were not the grades, but the lessons we have learned. Whether you realize it or not, you are not the same person who walked onto this campus four years ago. We have been tested and we have grown. You are stronger and wiser. I ask as you read this to look back. Think of the times you struggled and realize what we have learned. I believe the beauty of this campus is more than our brick buildings, but the indirect lessons which we have learned from our time here. During this year, I opened up to this campus about my struggle with depression. For me, it was at my lowest on this campus when I discovered this about myself. I know that I am not alone in experiences like this. Discovering who you are is a part of life and certainly part of college. Whether you’re leaving this campus knowing greater about who you are or who you are not, that is life. It may have taken countless nights in ZSR or countless nights of struggle to realize that, but you have and you will continue to do so long after you have left this campus. So now as we prepare to depart our home, we must look back at what we have learned and what we have achieved. Not for the sake of nostalgia, but for the sake of knowledge. Use these experiences to continue to grow. Because if you made it here, you will make it wherever you go. Believe in yourself because I certainly believe in all of you.
I would be doing our community a great disservice if I did not say thank you to those who live to serve our community. The amazing faculty, staff and administrators have become parts of our family during our time here. From the friendly faces in the Pit to the administrators in Reynolda, you have been there for us. Though we may not always agree, I know that your hearts are filled with our best interest. To our professors, you have pushed us and have supported us. You are as much a part of this equation called life which has forced us to grow into who we are today. Though we will no longer physically remain on this campus, the memories you have given us are, for better or for worse, forever entrenched into our memories.
Class of 2019, congratulations, we have done it. We battled through the past four years and are coming out the other end ready to take on the world. I will not leave you with an inspirational message about changing the world because that is not necessary. In the manner of what our school stands for, go out to change your communities, your peers and your future industries. Wake Forest was the battle ground where we learned to play the game of life. Though our futures will likely not be played on a venue like our beautiful quad, the lessons remain the same. Apply what you have learned here, both inside and outside the classroom. Give ‘em hell, class of 2019, I cannot wait to see what you all achieve. Go Deacs!