What I wish I’d done freshman year

Reflecting on missed opportunities from a first year at Wake Forest


From the OGB Archives

Going out and attending events is a great way to make new friends.

Una Wilson, Assistant Features Editor

Freshman year can feel both exhilarating and terrifying. From deciphering the difference in food quality between North Pit and South Pit to discovering the meaning of the word ‘darty’, Wake Forest offers many opportunities for both discovery and confusion. Feeling overwhelmed? Don’t worry! I have compiled a list of things I wish I had done differently during my first year to quell your anxieties and alleviate feelings of dread. 

You are more likely to find yourself in a major or job that makes you happy if you take the time to explore who you are. 

1. Go out. For some of you, this may seem like a no-brainer, but if you are anything like I was as a freshman, parties may feel very daunting. Every Thursday, hordes of students flock to Last Resort (Wake Forest’s dance club) and on Wednesday,  Friday, and Saturday, they go to the frat houses and many other event venues. A hub of new people talking, drinking, and dancing can feel overwhelming, and you might feel repelled by the energy at first. But lean in. Introduce yourself to somebody in your hall and go out together. Wear something really funky as a conversation starter. Make it your goal to talk to at least three new people at the event before you leave. Big social gatherings can be a great way to blow off steam and connect with others. The ‘work hard, play hard’ atmosphere on campus is both intense and alluring. If you balance your school work well, I promise that getting down and jiggy on the dance floor can have its place in your work week along with all of your other commitments. 

2. Don’t be afraid to be weird. Wake Forest is a tight-knit community; one that provides both security and, in many cases, fosters uniformity. The allure of ‘sameness’ is pervasive. You may feel compelled to act, dress, and live a certain way because it seems as though everybody else around you is also doing the same thing. Resist! It takes courage to stand out, but those who allow themselves to be different are the most interesting people to be around. The most authentic, lasting friendships will come when you decide to be your genuine self. Wear that fluffy boa scarf to class, join the new breadmaking club with no members, read your own poetry out loud on the quad, bring your violin to the Pit. 

3. Take time for yourself. You have been accepted into Wake Forest, which means that most of you are driven, hard-working high-achievers. You care deeply about excelling at school, grades, and extracurriculars. The success-driven atmosphere at Wake Forest can be motivating, but also sometimes overwhelming. When life becomes too stressful, remember that it is okay to take time for yourself. Your grades will not suffer from taking a day off to rest, and your friends will not judge you for saying no to going out one night. Everybody needs their time to rejuvenate, and your professors and friends will be understanding of your needs. Listen to your body, and honor its wishes. 

4. Make friends with your professors. Don’t let a professor’s high-level degree and accomplishments deter you from seeking their friendship. Professors at Wake Forest are especially interested in the ideas, lives, and well-being of their students. If you are in a class with a professor who resonates with you, make that known to them. Ask them to coffee or visit during their office hours. Then, if you ever find yourself struggling in their class or in need of extra help, you will have already built a strong foundation of friendship and will be memorable to that professor. 

5. Realize that you do not need to have your life figured out yet. College is a time to experiment; to explore yourself; to pursue your curiosities. If your interests change while at college, let them! Follow what makes your heart beat faster, what makes your mind excited. Working hard at what you are most passionate about doesn’t really feel like work. You are more likely to find yourself in a major or job that makes you happy if you take the time to explore who you are. 

Contact Una Wilson at [email protected]