Dear Class of 2023,
Welcome! Whether you were the first to excitedly jump in the car on your journey here or you had to be dragged out of the comfort of your home by your parents, you have arrived on this undeniably beautiful campus.
I will admit that three years ago, I was in the latter group. I was absolutely scared out of my mind (which means it’s okay if you are, too). I had lived my entire life in one small New Jersey town and had never been on my own so far away in my entire life. Let’s just say that my one stint in the sixth grade at sleepaway camp, in New Jersey no less, did not go well. At all.
Yet, here I was, 600 miles away from home. It was my decision to come here, no matter how much I dreaded it.
I came to Wake Forest because I thought it could offer me the kind of college experience I wanted — somewhere in a different part of the country, with small-sized classes, great school spirit, engaging traditions, an array of extracurriculars.
And offer it did.
What nobody told me is that I had to grab that offer by the horns.
First semester was extremely rocky. I felt that I didn’t fit in with the perceived, typical Wake Forest student. I was painfully shy and hyper-aware of myself. Making friends and getting involved proved difficult to me, and, of course, it seemed like everyone around me had found groups of friends, whether or not they would last past second semester.
With less than a year to my own graduation, I’ll tell you this in writing: I thought seriously about transferring as a freshman. So much so that I applied — and there’s no shame in that. All I knew was that back in May of my senior year of high school, I had made the right decision for me then. It may not have continued to be the right decision for me at the end of freshman year (spoiler alert: it was again the right decision for me at that time). While Wake Forest may not be where you end up, you are here now and it is a part of your journey.
The one thing that made it hard to walk away was this very paper, my beloved Old Gold & Black.
I knew that I couldn’t give up on Wake Forest just yet — I still had to brave spring semester. So, I did what many freshmen don’t do: I went to the Spring Involvement Fair. I walked around, perusing my options, and found out when the Old Gold & Black was having an interest meeting. I attended that interest meeting and signed up to get emails, one of which invited potential staffers to come up to the office for production. And on a Wednesday night, I stood outside our office and talked myself into knocking on the door. They only expected me to stay for a few minutes; I stayed for four hours. On my way out, I heard the staff talking about me, and one of the executive editors said that they could see me running the place one day.
Now I do. And I now have a group of friends and people in my life who always offer to get me something from the POD, who know which Moe’s salsa is my favorite and bring me some with their chips, who laugh with me, who support me. Being on the Old Gold & Black made me more confident in academics and in social situations.
The Old Gold & Black was my saving grace, but it was only because I talked myself into returning and knocking on our office door week after week, until I didn’t have to knock anymore.
Everyone tells you how great college is, but they don’t tell you the caveat: you have to put in effort to make it great. You have to be uncomfortable in order to get comfortable.
Mother So Dear offers almost everything you could ever need and want. Go and grab it by the horns (or find it first, if you need). I hope that you, the Class of 2023, will put in effort. If that is the only thing you do consistently in college, you will come out for the better.
Class of 2019