Sophomores experience Spring as freshmen

Sophomores will share their first spring semester with current class of freshmen


Ansley McNeel, Staff Columnist

At this point, it would generally be a safe assumption that sophomores know more than freshmen about what it’s like to be a student at Wake Forest. This year, however, I believe that sophomores are essentially freshmen once again now that we are approaching a portion of the spring semester that we have yet to experience on campus. 

When the outbreak of COVID-19 forced colleges to send home students, it was almost exactly a year ago from this week. This means that from this point and onwards, sophomores are almost no more experienced in springtime at Wake Forest than the freshmen are.

This may seem like a small and trivial point to make. After all, who cares that we have not seen spring as sophomores? We lived here a whole semester before that. My argument is this: sophomores, do you truly know what a regular day looked like pre-COVID-19 in late March? Do you know what it’s like to watch WFU sports that are active during the spring season, only? Do you know what the last day of class looks like on campus when it is warm and sunny out? Have you attended Wake-n-Shake? Have you really experienced all of the hallmarks of Wake Forest until you have been here for the whole year?

Last year’s freshmen had to watch the magnolia trees bloom on the Wake Forest Instagram page, just as the current freshmen did. Last year’s freshmen watched the quad-cam and dreamt of a better future to come — just as the current freshmen did. Last year’s freshmen watched spring in the Forest unfold from our childhood homes just as the current freshmen did. We all have had the same level of first-hand spring experience.

These traditions and experiences may not seem important when compared to the long amount of time that current sophomores have spent on campus before many freshmen had even committed to attending Wake Forest. However, this semester is starting to feel different to me. Every day in this past week, it has been beautiful outside. People have begun to do their homework outside at the quad tables. When I see these things I feel a sense of newness, I don’t know what to expect next from our student body, and I have felt some of the anticipation that accompanied each day of my own freshman year. Today, I got to sign up for my very first Wake-N-Shake, an event that I have been looking forward to since before I was even a student.

I live in Taylor Residence Hall, which is full of freshmen this year because of the COVID-19 student density policies. Being surrounded by the freshmen at all times makes me realize how few the differences are between us. Some of the freshmen even know of some things about campus that I didn’t, like what the best order at Camino or Campus Grounds is. Many of them are in my divisional classes as well.

As non-freshmen, we love to pretend that we know more about life than the freshmen do. In reality, this is sometimes not true at all. I might even say I know less about what I want to do in my life than I did when I first stepped on campus in the fall of 2019. Since we do not even rush until the second semester, it is also true that many of the current sophomores did not get the chance to draw close to many other upperclassmen, who might have served as guides or mentors for them.

In these ways, I see myself as quite similar to the freshmen on campus right now. And in many ways, this is a unifying, positive mindset that most of us could benefit from. We are all just trying our best to find our place and enjoy as much of Wake Forest’s campus life as we can.