Exposé: Breaking the official tour guide NDA

Take this tour guide’s advice on how to navigate the intricacies and secrets of campus


Cooper Sullivan, Assistant News Editor

You just moved into your Babcock double, you’ve hugged your parents goodbye and now you are ready to start that perfect college experience your tour guide told you about. About that. Let me remind you that we tour guides are salesmen. And just like the realtor that doesn’t mention the neighbor with countless loud dogs or the car dealer that conveniently forgets about the vehicle’s whopping 11 miles per gallon, we too have a few details we steer clear of. But since we closed the sale, I guess you can know a few of the secrets.

Work Forest

Rule #1 in the Tour Guide Training Packet is to never mention “Work Forest”. The second rule? Never mention “Work Forest”. Actually, the first two rules are to be friendly and show up on time. But we do try to steer clear of this intimidating moniker.

The jump from high school to college is a difficult one, especially in the classroom. You may feel so overwhelmed with living on your own and juggling all these new relationships that your humanities divisional goes to the wayside. While a slip may be okay for a few days, it is far too easy to continue the downward descent and even harder to recover. Speaking from experience, trying to catch up on a month’s worth of lectures a day before the final is not fun, nor does it work. Here are some tips to make sure you won’t be visiting “Work Forest” anytime soon.

Find a routine. Whether it’s the ZSR Library, Farrell Hall, a random classroom in Tribble or that beautiful desk next to your Twin XL, everyone has their favorite study spot. It may take some time for you to find out what works best for you. But once you figure it out, it will be much easier to get into productive rhythms and get ahead of the curve.

Use your resources. Contrary to popular belief, your professors don’t want to fail you. Make sure you go to office hours. Even if you don’t have questions, get to know your professors and have them get to know you. This will come in handy when you need that .01% grade boost. And if you need extra help that office hours can’t fix, visit the various tutoring centers on campus.

Dorm Cleanliness (Or Lack Thereof)

One of the things that tour guides like to point out is our brand new freshmen dorm, Angelou Hall. High ceilings, sinks in every room, it’s practically a hotel! Well, if Angelou and South are Marriotts, then Johnson and Bostwick are that seedy, one-story nameless roadside motel with flickering street lights and a perpetually rocking rocking chair. All the dorms have had renovations in the last decade, but no worries, that rustic 60s feel is still there. While I can’t confirm or deny some rumors from years past, I can tell you my own Johnson story from last year. My pipes were rusted orange, the basement routinely flooded, cockroaches inhabited the empty single and I developed such a nasty cough my first two weeks that I got shipped off to the quarantine hotel.

Now I’m not saying these are guarantees, you may even get the luck of the draw. But there are a few ways to prevent any of these from happening. Invest in an air purifier — at the very least it muffles the loud music of your neighbor at 1 a.m. Put a DampRid in the closet to soak up any humidity and prevent mold. Open the window every once in a while to let fresh air in, so you don’t overwork your A/C and have to call maintenance. Keep a bottle of Raid close by. And for the love of God, wear shower shoes.

My Hot, Packed, Greek Basement

Some people may read this and get excited about all the partying they’ll get to do over the next four years. Others may think spending weekends in a sauna-like basement is not their red Solo Cup of tea. And both are totally cool. You’re going to have friends in both of these camps: maybe you’ll even join them. Don’t rush into rush based on what you hear from these “formal sources” GreekRank, College Confidential, the parent Facebook group, etc. Make sure you talk to people, fellow students and get the inside scoop of what actually goes on from Greek group to Greek group.

And if you find that the frats and sororities aren’t for you, there are plenty of other social groups around campus. Club sports, service clubs and professional groups are just the tip of the iceberg. No matter what group you find to be the one for you, make the most of it.

Don’t let these “secrets” discourage you. Remember why you chose Wake Forest in the first place. Maybe it was the super awesome and funny tour guide who swung you over the fence, but it’s the campus, the people and the community that brought you here and brings everyone even closer together. So take these pieces of advice or don’t, just have a good time. And please don’t think you can hide a cat in your dorm room. Just please don’t.