Monday, September 14, 2020
Dear <<First Name>>,
Happy Monday, Deacs! I hope you enjoyed a lovely weekend and are soaking up every moment of these sunny, yet cooler days we’ve been having. Slowly but surely, Mother Nature is letting us know that a new season will soon be upon us. In a matter of weeks, the trees that adorn campus will serve as a reminder that change can be beautiful, breathtaking even. As you navigate the large and often unpredictable changes of your first semester in college, I hope you will see beauty in the process and remember to enjoy your Wake Forest journey. As we go into our 4th week of classes, I want to encourage you to continue doing your part (washing your hands, wearing your mask, and maintaining 6 ft distance) to “Show Humanitate.” If you are completing your studies at home, we hope you will join your fellow Deacs by helping to minimize the spread of COVID-19.
Before we jump into today’s Letters So Dear, we have some important announcements to share:
The Wake Study Spaces: Looking for a quiet place to study during the week or participate in your synchronous online coursework? The Wake Study Spaces website is now live and updated with classrooms available for use. Wake Study Space includes a pool of College classrooms for student use by reservation Monday through Friday, 7 am to 10 pm. Students must adhere to COVID-19 guidelines when using these spaces. If students are sharing a space, they must be masked. Reservations are limited to two hours and occupancy to two. Please allow at least 48 hours for reservation confirmation. There is also reservable space available in ZSR Library (must be made 12 hours in advance), and open, non-reservable space in the Wellness Center and ZSR Library.
The ResilientWake Workshop Series: Resilience is our ability to face those inevitable challenges and changes with grace. You might have heard people talking about resilience as “bouncing back,” “overcoming obstacles,” or “finding a silver lining” – resilience consists of a range of skills that improve as you practice. The ResilientWake Workshop Series is an opportunity for students to learn how to develop and integrate resilience skills into everyday life using a cohort model. Each virtual Workshop session (facilitated by a staff member from the Office of Wellbeing or the University Counseling Center) is 1.25 hours long and builds on the session before – you must attend and engage in all four sessions (1 time per week for 4 weeks). At the end of each session there is a challenge for the week based on the skills practiced that day and a check-in at the beginning of each session about how that challenge went for you.
Wellbeing Coaching is an evidence-based practice designed to help you reach your personal health and wellbeing goals. Wellbeing coaching is structured around the changes that you want to make in your life when you are ready to make them – you are empowered through this process to identify the life you want to be living and are not told by a coach what your life “should” look like. Certified health coaches meet one-on-one with you to provide support and accountability to reach your health and wellbeing goals over a period of weeks together. Coaches apply strategies and practical skills as they partner with you to work through lifestyle challenges and to help you reach a quality of life that is meaningful, self-sustaining, healthy, and value-driven. If you’re ready to make healthy, goal-directed changes in your life – Wellbeing Coaching is for you! To sign up or find more information, please visit: go.wfu.edu/wellbeingcoaching.
WFU Virtual Study Abroad Fair: Explore the many study away opportunities Wake Forest University has to offer through the new Virtual Study Abroad Fair website. Watch videos from WFU Faculty and Affiliate Partners, and sign up to attend information sessions during Fair Week: September 21 - 25.
And now back to our regularly scheduled program...
Today, our “Letters So Dear” series will continue with a message from senior, Maggie Kuhn:
I am currently sitting on my back porch, quarantined, and thinking about why I chose Wake. While I sift through countless memories of high school, trying to remember my decision-making process and how it led me to Wake Forest, my mind comes up blank. Of course, I was impressed by the rigorous academics, contagious school spirit, and intimate network of relationships, but with Wake, I had decided in a moment. All of a sudden, before I had the chance to weigh out all of these factors, my mind had chosen, and I blurted out, “Mom, can we pay my deposit now?”
I like to chalk this up to intuition. Somewhere deep within me, just beyond my rational thinking, it all clicked, and Wake was the answer.
I am grateful every day to have been accepted into such a powerhouse of an institution. Following my father’s legacy and becoming a Demon Deacon is one of my greatest achievements, and I never let myself forget that.
It’s funny because while choosing Wake was so simple, what was to follow was going to be one of the most enriching, life-altering, all-encompassing challenges of my entire life. The world was going to shift and shape me; it was just my job to let it.
I spent the first few months of college getting used to Work Forest, being amazed by the beauty of campus, soaking up the energy of the football stadium, and nurturing new relationships with girls on my hall or the University Concert Choir. It was all so shiny and brand new and beautiful, but difficult.
Although I knew I had begun creating deep, authentic relationships, I was scared. I was lonely. “Why am I the only that feels this way?” It was easy to look around a room and tell myself that everyone else was doing perfectly, that no one else was struggling like me, and that I was doing something wrong.
What I didn’t know then was that this feeling did anything but isolate me from my peers. These feelings of self-doubt, loneliness, or fear are normal. These feelings are not negative. They are really just signs that you’re doing it right. You’re growing, learning about yourself and your role within a community, and adjusting to your new home – all while allowing yourself to feel and revel in these growing pains.
I initially learned this from one of my first friends at Wake Forest. I had met her through SPARC when she was a leader and I was a participant. SPARC (Students Promoting Action and Responsibility in the Community) is a pre-orientation program for first-year students that promotes service and relationships within our Wake Forest and Winston-Salem communities.
Throughout high school, I had been involved in service because it involved two of my deepest passions: serving others and forming relationships. When I arrived at Wake, I was welcomed by this amazing program full of so many students who all shared these values of mine.
My SPARC friend and I had gone to Campus Grounds to grab coffee and sat down to chat about how I was adjusting to my freshman year. I shared with her the highs and lows about my classes, my new friends, my roommate, and how I couldn’t, for the life of me, figure out how to navigate Tribble Hall.
While I shared these experiences, she would empathetically smile and nod, internalizing what I was sharing with her, and digesting my first-year tales as if she had heard them all before. It was then that I realized: I am on track.
This was all part of the deal. Wake Forest offers the education of a lifetime, the deepest opportunity to personal growth and development, and the privilege to belong to such a strong, tightly-knit community of uniquely passionate individuals. Wake offers change, and change is good. You just have to allow it. After all is said and done, I was crazy for ever thinking the transition was going to be easy. But I was always right for believing it would be worth it.
In sharing my story as a rising senior, it is my wish that incoming Demon Deacons recognize a few things:
Never forget that these feelings of fear or loneliness or self-doubt are coming from a place of strength. They are signs you’re growing. They are chances to engage in self-reflection, to reach out to someone new, or to ask for help. They are opportunities to become more deeply involved within our community.
Always come back to what makes you tick. Remember the things that light a fire in your belly. That’s the good stuff: the intrinsic motivations and passions you carry that remind us why we’re all here.
Soak it up. Exhaust every single second. Next time you’re waiting in the omelet line in the Pit, admiring Mother So Dear from the Quad, or making your way through the Tribble maze, recognize where you are. Feel the strength and passion that pumps through Wake Forest’s campus. Remember the qualities of excellence and rigor that set us apart as Demon Deacons. Choose to let the little things remind you of the big things.
Because before you know it, you’ll be like me…A rising senior, sitting on my back porch, and thinking about why I chose Wake.
Wake Forest University '21
Double Majors in Sociology and Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies