After a busy day yesterday, our newest students in the Class of 2017 are starting off their day with a group meeting with their academic and student advisers. These meetings last from 9-11:15 am and are meant to help our students get to know their advisers, get to know each other, and talk about the academic progression they will be taking for the next [almost] two years as they finish Basic and Divisional Requirements and move towards their ultimate major(s) and possibly minor(s) as well. Our new students will have individual meetings with their advisers to talk about their schedules this coming Monday, so that is an opportunity to talk about their specific questions and plans.
In addition to going over the academic requirements, I also try to cover some of the basic good practices of college: good time management habits, getting involved in campus activities, practicing moderation and good judgment in all areas of life, finding a niche on campus, being true to who you are and your own values, asking for help when needed, looking out for friends and hallmates, being aware of safety and security, taking personal responsibility for yourself, etc.
It bears mentioning that many of our advisers (and faculty members) are going to treat students like the young adults they are and will expect the student to reach out and let us know when they need help or want to interact. With my advisees at least, I tell them I will be as present (or as absent) in their Wake Forest lives as they want me to be. I am happy to become a mentor and see them as regularly as they like, or see them only once a semester as required.
What I can tell you is that the students I have seen who have seemed the happiest and most well-rounded do this: they find someone on campus who they connect with and can turn to for advice and counsel, even friendship. Those students who try to connect with a likeminded person – whether an adviser, campus minister, faculty member, staff member, coach, etc. – and have an adult in their corner if they need it, tend to find ways to get more out of their experience here. The adult mentor figure can provide suggestions, introductions to programs or people the student might not know, can help be thinking partners when the student is wrestling with problems, and/or can help provide letters of recommendation.
Wake Forest is a rich smorgasbord. The more you put into it, the more you get out of it. So whether your student is a brand new ’17 or a rising senior, encourage them to find a mentor in one of their trusted adults.
(And one more reminder – if you’re here for Move-In and Orientation activities and you are a social media person, use the hashtag #wfu17 on all your posts!)