Dear Class of 2021,
Congratulations! As this year comes to a close and the sun begins to set on your undergraduate career, the Old Gold & Black is ecstatic to send you off. When you first stepped onto campus in 2017, I am certain that the way you first perceived Wake Forest is incredibly different from the complex way in which you view your soon-to-be alma mater today. Through eight semesters — three of which were either fully or partially remote — you have accomplished tremendous things.
After all, that is what this special graduation issue is for — to celebrate outstanding seniors, each of which is nominated by their respective department chair. Each feature piece in this issue was crafted by our editorial staff with admiration and a keen eye, as we would like to give back to you the way you have all given back to the Wake Forest community over the past four years.
Just as you have celebrated some of your lasts this week, you will be also experiencing some of your firsts relatively shortly. Whether it be your first time going abroad, your first time living away from home, your first career or your first time living on your own, these next few years are bound to be full of excitement and change.
Each and every member of this class entered college full of curiosity and child-like wonderment, and I implore you to carry that same youthful energy with you throughout the rest of your lives.
While it may sound cliche, if I have learned anything from editing the best independent student-run newspaper at Wake Forest, it is to embrace the cliches.
Lean into what scares you and allow your passions to carry you as far as they can. You have all gotten to this point as a result of countless hours of hard work and dedication — in the process, you have paved the way for other classes to follow in your footsteps. Without a doubt, this is something in which you should all take immense pride.
There is no question that your class has lived through a tumultuous time. While you should certainly feel excited about the opportunity to graduate in-person, you have every right to meet this joyous opportunity with a bittersweet sentiment. Yes, you got to spend the entirety of your senior year on campus … but this does not take away the sting that cancelled traditions introduced to your final year.
But mourning for your time lost is not the point of this article. If it were, I would be a pretty shoddy hypewoman. Like I said before, the goal of this letter and of this issue is both to lift you up and call you to reflect on your undergraduate experience.
From bonding (or fighting) with your random freshman roommate to drinking pitchers at Shorty’s with your serendipitous senior friend group, you have made your mark on campus in more ways than you can possibly imagine.
Think about it this way: there are three classes of Wake Forest students beneath you right now. When you were freshmen, there were three classes of students above you. The Wake Forest circle of life pulled you in gently. Now, it is pushing you out with just as much grace.
All of you are set to begin new and exciting phases of your lives, and I could not be more thrilled on your behalf. In the meantime, I — and all of us here at the Old Gold & Black — hope that you will take a brief moment and congratulate yourselves on all you’ve achieved so far. In a year defined by unexpected change, you have all made certain that the future remains as bright as ever.
The Old Gold & Black