Grace Franzese is a hardworking and multifaceted senior from Elwood, New York. Franzese is an English and Biochemistry and Molecular Biology double major, perfectly exemplifing what students are capable of at a liberal arts institution.
After undergoing the college application process, Franzese was excited to attend Wake Forest in the Fall of 2016. She chose to spend her next four years at Wake Forest because she felt that the students seemed happy to be there and happy to be surrounded by their peers.
“It was just a vibe I picked up from campus, and I don’t think that was a lie. I think that’s generally the vibe I get from Wake [Forest] still today. Even when people are struggling, it never feels like they want to be elsewhere,” noted Franzese, a feeling that has only been enhanced since she has been home due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
When she arrived at Wake Forest, Franseze knew she was going to pursue English as one of her academic paths. As someone who has always loved stories and story writing, Franzese expected to be drawn to such classes.
“I came into Wake [Forest] expecting to be really obsessed with English, and that I would love it, and it did not disappoint. Every single English class I have taken here, I have learned something very different and new,” Franzese said.
Now that she is graduating, Franzese is able to reflect on what she has been given from the English Department. On one level, she feels as though majoring in English has provided her with a deeper insight into a plethora of studies, such as gender, race and class, as well as having the ability to learn new points of views from books and stories. Further, however, Franzese has greatly benefited from her relationships with her professors.
“Every professor I’ve ever had at Wake [Forest] is so intelligent and so invested in your classes,” Franzese said.
In addition to being an English major, Franzese decided to double major in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Being on the Pre-Medical track with another major (such as English) is an extreme challenge at Wake Forest, but Franzese was too passionate about both to only pursue one.
“I started out doing classes in both, and I have said from the beginning that I had no intentions of giving either up,” she said. “Everyone told me that I would change my mind because it would be really difficult. And it was!”
That being said, Franzese would not go back and only select one to be her major. Upon reflection, she believes that having such opposite majors helped balance her brain when doing work, and gave her a break if she was putting too much effort into one skillset.
“Whenever I was fed up with reading 40 pages and writing a paper, I would switch and study and draw organic structures and vice versa,” she said.
Despite all of her academic success and endeavors, Franzese is very social and is heavily involved on campus. You have probably seen her on stage in Brendle Recital Hall performing with the Lilting Banshees, Wake Forest’s beloved sketch comedy troupe. Franzese adores the way she can mess around on stage and have a great time with her friends, while also feeling the product of the hard work and dedication that goes into creating sketches and making an entertaining show.
That exact dedication seen in fellow students is a part about Wake Forest that she loves.
“I think that’s my favorite part about being at Wake [Forest] — having people who are really passionate and excited about facing the world, and having them do it in cool and different ways. That makes me want to do it in cool and different ways, too,” Franzese said.
When asked about what she’ll miss most about Wake Forest, Franzese feels that she will most miss the little moments during big events. For her, this is referencing the moments before or after a Banshees show, when the energy is high and she feels accomplished and ready to perform. Occasions like Lovefeast are also included, where everyone is coming together to reflect on their gratitude and excitement for the holiday season.
Franzese described this feeling perfectly: “That’s the thing I think of when I think of Wake as a whole — the feeling of being connected to a really big group around you without seeing their faces.”
She is currently pursuing Medical School for her next step after her virtual graduation on May 18.