Not your Mother’s Campus Tour

Not your Mother’s Campus Tour

Freshmen, it is no secret that this school year is not exactly what you anticipated your first year at Wake Forest to be like. With social distancing guidelines in place and plans shifting day by day, you might feel unprepared to tackle the challenges and changes that lie ahead. That is where I come in. As a rising junior and tour guide, I am here to get down to the nitty gritty and tell you all of the things your tour guide wished they could tell you … but couldn’t.

A is for Academics

I want you to read this article and see me as more of a cool aunt than a harpy mom, but I am required to remind you that Wake Forest is still school. And school means work. A lot of work. Thankfully, there are a lot of resources here to help you. While I am unsure how tutoring sessions will be moving forward because of the pandemic, Wake Forest has a Writing Center that can help you brainstorm, format and edit research papers, projects and proposals. On top of this, there are tutoring centers for almost every major on campus. Just ask your professor (or Google) and they can point you in the right direction.

Speaking of professors, please take advantage of their office hours. When I was a first-year at Wake Forest, I was terrified to go to office hours out of the fear that I would say the wrong thing or look dumb. Thanks to that fear, there is now a C printed under Calculus on my transcript. While my alliteration remained untouched, my GPA was not so lucky. It might sound cliché, but professors are there because they want to be. They want you to learn and succeed, so show them that you want the same thing.

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Finding a good study space is also crucial to succeeding academically. Not everyone is built for the library, and many find studying in a dorm room to be distracting. Insider tip: try to study at the law school, in Campus Grounds or in random academic buildings and empty classrooms. If you do choose to study in ZSR, try to pick a consistent spot that makes you feel “zoned in” each time you visit.  

It’s All Greek to Me

You do not have to major in Classics to know that Greek life at Wake Forest is pretty extensive. Because Winston-Salem is not a college town and all of the bars are 21+ (except for Last Resort which you can get into for a small fee), most night life revolves around fraternity parties. Before I go any further, I also want to remind everyone that we are in the midst of a global pandemic and there is no responsible way to socially distance at a typical frat party. That said, these parties are located in off-campus houses and are open to essentially anyone the first few weeks of school. Throughout the rest of the year, girls continue to get in no problem, but boys have a tougher time because fraternity recruitment runs through the first semester.

If you are thinking about rushing a sorority or fraternity, attend informational meetings or reach out to upperclassmen for advice. Do not use sources like GreekRank or CollegeConfidential because they are, for lack of a better phrase, a flaming dumpster fire of falsehoods.

As someone in a sorority myself, I think the most important thing to know about Greek life on Wake Forest’s campus is that it can be whatever you make of it. If you do decide to rush but have no interest in drinking or packing into a dark sauna of a basement, that is okay. Furthermore, you do not need to join a sorority or fraternity to enjoy a robust social life at Wake Forest!

There are plenty of other co-ed fraternities across campus, most notable Alpha Phi Omega (APO), a service fraternity, and Alpha Kappa Psi (AKPsi), a business fraternity. And if you do not want to join a fraternity or sorority because they scream “cult” to you, that is okay too! But you need to get involved.

The happiest people I know are involved in at least two organizations. If you love to sing, there are countless a cappella groups. If you like to play sports, we have a wide range of club and intramural sports teams. If you enjoy service work, the Office of Civic and Community Engagement runs a multitude of programs that can add some meaningful volunteer opportunities to your time at Wake Forest.

Even though there is not an in-person club fair this year, there is a complete list of student organizations that should be sent out to you on the Flip Grid platform. I encourage you to check them out and reach out to the ones you are interested in.

Change is Hard

I think the most important thing to know about attending Wake Forest is that college is hard. You are going to get homesick, overwhelmed and overworked. You are going to question if this is the right school for you and you are going to feel out of place and lonely at times. All of this is normal and an unspoken college experience nation-wide. My freshman year, I heavily considered transferring because I was very unhappy and felt misunderstood and lost in the crowd. With time and support, those feelings fade away. You are not alone, I promise. Things might get tough, but you are tougher.

Bonus Speed Round Advice

-Just because you can take up to 17 credits a semester does not mean you have to.

-Do not worry about finding a summer internship for after your freshman year.

-Walk on the right side of the path/stairs/hallway. Also, please do not walk three people across. Why are you building a human barricade?

-Do NOT wear a lanyard around your neck with your ID in it. It is, how you might say, super ugly.

-Budget, budget, budget!!! Learn how to handle your money or it will control you! (Check out page 15).

-Invest in a good reusable water bottle. 

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