Wake Forest senior Sarah Rudasill (17) poses for a photo on Hearn Plaza on Thursday, October 20, 2016.
Wake Forest senior Sarah Rudasill (’17) poses for a photo on Hearn Plaza on Thursday, October 20, 2016.
©WFU/Ken Bennett

Deacon Profile: Sarah Rudasill

Sarah Rudasill is a familiar face around campus. As the president of Student Union, a student trustee on the Board of Trustees and a member of APO service fraternity, she keeps busy with extracurricular events. Rudasill is from New Oxford, Pennsylvania and is an economics major.

She has had countless opportunities to explore her many interests, ultimately allowing her to discover what she is passionate about. Although Rudasill fills her time with academics and extracurriculars, she still finds time to play ultimate frisbee with her friends and makes conscious efforts to stay stress-free.

Why has being involved in the campus community been important to you?

When I first arrived at Wake Forest, I struggled to find my niche on campus and had a tough freshman year. That experience inspired me to get involved in shaping the campus community and helping every student find a place here. Through Student Union, I help plan both fun and meaningful events that expose students to new ideas, build friendships and foster a greater sense of community.

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However, I also have the honor of determining the long-term trajectory of Wake Forest with the Board of Trustees, shaping this campus community for decades to come.

How has your involvement shaped your time as a student at Wake Forest?

On one hand, my involvement has shaped my career trajectory. I arrived thinking I would do biomedical research and spent my first year examining the regenerative properties of salamander spinal cords. Yet the next year, I had an interest in economic research, so Wake Forest gave me the opportunity to study health systems through the Anna Julia Cooper Center and work at a South African economic think tank on a Richter fellowship.

These unique opportunities to explore my disparate interests, in combination with the opportunity to serve and ultimately lead organizations, have encouraged me to enter academic medicine with a vision of shaping the healthcare system as a whole.

On the other hand, my involvement has cultivated a self-confidence that enables me to set goals and experience the incredible personal growth that occurs while striving to reach those objectives. It is this growth that makes me so thankful for the opportunities provided by Wake Forest. 

What has been your favorite experience or memory on campus?

My favorite experience isn’t a single event; instead, it has been consistently playing ultimate frisbee on the upper quad. We leisurely play three or four days a week when the weather is nice. Whenever I am stressed, I go out and throw with friends for a half hour, even if that means playing in the dark at midnight. It’s amazing how much bonding can happen when just tossing a disc back and forth.

What, if anything, would you tell yourself four years ago?

Looking back, I would tell myself to not worry so much about getting good grades, making friends, getting into grad school, etc. Worrying is simply a waste of time and energy. I know that’s probably easy to say now as a senior with plans for medical school next year, but I promise everything will work out. Put in the effort, but enjoy the process because it goes by too quickly.

What advice do you have for students hoping to balance an enriching extracurricular experience with classes in their time on campus?

I honestly have never found the secret to balance — it’s something that I continue to struggle to achieve. Becoming efficient in doing work is helpful, but there’s just never going to be enough time in the day to do everything I want to do. However, I can recommend three things for students:

First, find a mentor. My most insightful opportunities were suggestions made by trusted upperclassmen and professors on campus.

Second, study abroad. Nothing compares to the personal growth that occurs when you find yourself completely outside of your normal environment.

Third, take risks in exploring different disciplines. Trying out new fields, whether through classes or internships, is the best way to discover what you love, or perhaps more valuable, what you don’t love. Although I’ve always known what I wanted to do, exploring other fields helped expand how I see myself contributing to the medical field.

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