Tue. Aug 4th, 2020

Letter to the Editor: Incoming Freshman Reflects on the Student Experience

Incoming freshman Aine Pierre discusses the challenges facing both the class of 2024 and graduating seniors

To the Editors of the Old Gold and Black:

The black and gold of Wake Forest weighs heavier this year for all Demon Deacons, but especially the newest and oldest. For the incoming Class of 2024, we will become Deacs without fully living out our time as high school seniors — the weight of that transition made heavier by the virus that has driven us from our daily lives. For the outgoing Class of 2020, three-and-a-half years in Winston-Salem may be all they get. There must be some emotional remedy for both of these groups. 

First, I agree with seniors Lilian Johnson and Amanda Wilcox’s March 2020 piece that argued for the university to postpone commencement and not cancel it. The seniors that have made Wake Forest great for the past four years should have a chance to see their hard work rewarded. It is a memory that will last for the rest of their lives, and the university’s ultimate decision to postpone commencement will hopefully provide a proper sendoff to the post-undergraduate world. 

Equally important, however, is the wellbeing of the Class of 2024, the majority of which had some or all of their remaining time in high school stripped away by COVID-19. I applaud the proactive measures taken by those in my class to plan a Redemption Prom once at Wake Forest- a repeat senior prom to at least save some lost memories — and I think I can say that we all appreciate the openness Student Government has shown to us and that idea. However, we also need the transition from high school to college to be softer. We have missed out on the time where teachers and principals are most concerned about guiding us into college, and when orientation comes in August (please God), broken hearts and shaken minds will need to be mended and set on course. This may mean that a longer orientation is necessary, or that freshmen may need more leniency in their courses as they adjust, but some softening of our transition is necessary. 

We have chosen Wake Forest because we believe in pro humanitate; right now, that means healing the wounds from COVID-19 amongst the student body, so that we may work to heal the world.