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The Daily Deac

A Message to Our P’16s

This is the time of year that is bittersweet for me.  I am so excited to welcome our new Class of 2020 (and their P’20 parents and families) to campus, but I am sad to see our Class of 2016 graduate and have them (and their P’16 parents and families) leave us.

P’16s, I have been privileged to know some of your kids.  I wish I knew them all.  10 of them I had as advisees, and I have had a number of others make their way to my office for some reason or other.  I probably met between 125-150 of the Class of 2016 at their New Student Receptions in the summer of 2012.  Others I have come to know through activities or events on campus.

They are wonderful young men and women, and you are deservedly proud of them.   I have been amazed by their talent, their boundless energy, their service, their desire for peace and justice for the world, their sense of fun, and their love of Wake.  My fondest wish is for them all to go on to live lives of meaning and purpose, full of love and happiness.  I wish that for you too, P’16s.

On any given day I don’t know who reads the Daily Deac.  Some of you have written me over the years, others have written in recent days as Commencement approaches.  Those mean the world to me.

So many thanks to all of you – for entrusting your kids to Wake Forest.  For all you have done to support us – whether that is via the Parents’ Campaign, being a cheerleader in your home town, recommending students to look at Wake – whatever.  For reading the Daily Deac and letting me have a little piece of your WFU experience.

I hope to pass you on the Quad at Commencement and will give a big cheer for all of your kids.  Even though it is theirs (and your) time to go, please know that you will always be part of the WFU family.

And because I am an infinitely sappy person, and because you are the right generation to appreciate this, I thought I would share a little video with you 🙂

— by Betsy Chapman

The Dreaded Overstudying Photo

This picture was taken several years ago during finals.  It is from the library, and was one student’s list of things to do to prep for the exam.



It reads:

– read over notes again

– read over descriptions of articles

– go over flash cards

– read How Sociologists do Research

– go over flash cards again

– go over descriptions of articles again

– read notes again

– review research methods

– go over flash cards

People can have widely differing reactions to this picture and what it represents. To some, it might look organized, to others, it could look like overkill. To some it might represent the epitome of a stressed-out student. I believe I have even heard someone describe this note “poignant.”

Whatever productive methods work for your Deac to get through finals, go for them. But after today they will be finished, and your sons and daughters can head home to you, or head home to the beach, for some R&R.

And we’ll see the ’16s back here for Commencement.

— by Betsy Chapman


Advice to Incoming Freshman (But Still Applicable to the Others)

This appeared in my Facebook feed via the Washington Post:  “The 7 things new college students don’t know that drive professors crazy.”  Written by a former high school teacher turned college professor, this outlines some of the DON’Ts of interacting with college professors, at least from this one faculty member’s point of view.

Your students are either slammed with finals/vegging out if theirs are over/or for the incoming freshmen they are still in high school, so this might not be the moment to share this with them.  I submit it to you as background reading for you to see one way of looking at the faculty-student relationship in college.  Read and reflect, and if it interests you, have a conversation with your students about it over the summer.

Doesn’t have to be a lecture about these dos and don’ts, it can just be a conversation.  For those who have current freshmen through juniors, maybe you ask your Deac about what differences they have experienced with teachers in high school vs college professors (‘hey, I saw this interesting article – does this ring true to you? it’s been a long time since I was in college/I didn’t go to college and am curious about this‘ kind of thing).  In talks like these where you are trying to learn more about their lives, ask lots of questions – and listen more than talk.

For those with new incoming freshmen, maybe you share this more directly as a nonchalant FYI for them to read or not as they see fit.

busy and self careAnd a final thought.  I happened upon this picture on the internet a few days ago.  It seems especially fitting as finals come to a close.  I worry about college students (not just at Wake, at any school with a high-achieving student body) feeling like they have to push and push themselves to be as busy (or busier) than the next person, as sleep-deprived as the next person, etc., just to prove they are in fact working hard.  My message on this is:

Stop the madness.

Self-care is not selfish, it’s healthy.  Getting enough sleep, nutritious food, and exercise is healthy.  Not feeling like you have to out-do your hallmates in terms of how late you stay up, how tired you are, or how many hours you logged in the ZSR does not have to be a badge of honor or a sign of your commitment to your education.

My dream is that we have a student-led revolution where they agree to slow down, stop feeling like they have to compete with anyone else in how hard they work (or play), and do what feels most natural to them.  A change like this would have to come from students being brave enough to say they are willingly stepping off the gerbil wheel of perceived expected college student behavior, and honoring what is best for them.

I would love to see some new recruits in the living lives of balance/self-care army 🙂

— by Betsy Chapman


Stormy Weather

Yesterday we had a huge storm at the end of the day.  Really high winds, heavy rain, and I hear some parts of Winston got hail (campus included), though I never saw any at my house.  Today the weather has been all over the place – overcast this morning, then there were clouds around 11 am that I swore might produce rain but did not – there were plenty of pockets of sun.  And it was MUGGY.

5 3 16Right now it’s nearly 3:30 and we are having a spectacular downpour, plus thunder.  So much so, you can see the rain on the Quad Cam – that big object towards the top center of this picture is a raindrop getting ready to fall.

If your students have finished finals and are moving out today, they have probably been dodging the threat of bad weather all day.  Hopefully they aren’t caught in this mess.

Soldier on, finals-takers!  The end is in sight now!

— by Betsy Chapman

The View from the Green Room

No pics today, but early this morning I was walking through Reynolda Hall and happened to peek into the Green Room.  Looks like most if not all available tables and chairs were taken up with kids studying. At 9:20 in the morning, that is definitely an unusual thing.

Looking at the students I saw either in that room or around the Quad, you could see the official uniform of finals: yoga pants or running shorts, sneakers, ponytail/minimal makeup (women) and old tshirt and shorts and flip flops, baseball cap and 2 day stubble (men).

Hang in there, Deacs! It will be over soon.

— by Betsy Chapman

Finals Day 1 Field Report

It’s Day 1 of Final Exams, and the logical place for the Daily Deac to focus on is the ZSR Library.  Here’s an impressionistic field report (and some pics) from some well-placed sources at the ZSR.

“Thursday, Reading Day, started slow, with students taking advantage of the free day to study before exams began on Friday.  By Thursday evening, ZSR was packed!”

“It’s the first day of exams and the library is full, but quieter than usual as students focus on final exams, papers and projects.”

“The atrium was full when I walked in at 7:55 am – well not full, but probably 20-30 people in it.  Usually there are 2-3 max that early.”

I was in there myself around 10:30 am today.  The line at Starbucks extended at least half way up the stairs, telling you just how much our students need their java right now.  I wanted to find a spot and do a proper Five Senses of the ZSR, but most of the chairs were full and I wanted to keep the open ones for the students.

4 29 16 zsr4 The library decorating committee has done another great job providing a fun theme for Finals Week.  This one is all about playing cards, and dice, and everything is in red (my favorite!) and black.  There is this great sign IT’S YOUR LUCKY DAY spelled out in playing cards.  There are garlands of playing cards, streamers, and more.

Because I am an enormous Sinatra fan, the cards and dice made me think of this song.

Finals aren’t nice – but at least we can put a bit of whimsy into the process.  Here’s some shots of your hardworking Deacs below.

— by Betsy Chapman

4 29 16 zsr5 4 29 16 zsr3 4 29 16 zsr2 4 29 16 zsr1

Reading Day

reading day memeToday is Reading Day – the one day break between LDOC (Last Day of Classes) and final exams starting.  The idea, I suppose, is to give you a day to prepare for finals.  Here’s a Reading Day meme for your viewing pleasure.

Depending on your exam schedule, you could have more than one exam a day, and/or exams on successive days. If you’re lucky, you have a little bit of time between them.

The weather was did not start out as particularly conducive to studying – it was dark and rainy this morning, but as of midday its nice and sunny.

Even as finals loom in the minds of our students, we know many of them will be doing an internship this summer, either at home or in another city.  If your Deac will be doing an internship in the DC area, our Washington Office has asked that we pass on this information to you:

“The Washington Office is partnering with OPCD to track WFU students who will be interning in  D.C. this summer.  We are planning several networking events for students and alumni in the D.C. area, as well as other events such as Nats game outings and other fun things. We want to make sure we know which students will be in town this summer, so we have created this google form for students to complete.

If your student is interning in the D.C. metro area this summer, please send them this link – it will take them less than 2 minutes to fill it out and will give us information we can use to include them on invitations in general, and specific events based on their internship location.”

laundry mountainWishing your Deacs all the best as they start finals tomorrow. Soon you will have them home – and we’ll close with a final meme about what you might expect when they get back 🙂

— by Betsy Chapman


Deadwood Seminar

Today’s Daily Deac takes a look at an innovative class.  Mary Dalton, Professor of Communication and Media and Film Studies, taught a seminar this semester on Deadwood and the Western.  Mary is a member of the Class of 1983 and her teaching interests within the Communication department are in media studies focusing on film and television, especially the intersection of media and culture.  Mary shared the news of a fun project she’s been working on with her class.

“Over half of the students in the class (11) are graduating seniors, and we’ve been working all semester on a volume that will be published in early May. The volume, Critical Media Studies:  Student Essays on Deadwood, is available to read free online and available for purchase in paperback or Kindle editions through  This is the second edition in the series (volume one was Critical Media Studies:  Student Essays on The Wire published in 2015.”

4 27 16 bandanas 4 27 16 jeopardyIn her class, students played Jeopardy with questions about the show Deadwood.  They had bandanas, snacks, and one of the graduate students (who is one of the three co-editors of the volume) dressed as a combination of Alex Trebek and Al Swearengen (a main character in the show).

On Thursday, May 5 at 9:30, Mary plans to have a book signing party and bagels when [she hopes] students will get their copies of the book.

4 27 16 finalThis is a wonderful example of using multiple ways to engage students – clearly the fun stuff with active learning like the Jeopardy game, but also in engaging them in writing for a publication, which is something they can have on their resumes (and as bragging rights) that they are published authors.  And like most classes, they still had a final exam they had to prepare for, seen here.

Sometimes our freshmen and sophomores ask their academic advisers about which classes they should take once they have finished their basic and divisional requirements.  My answer to that is always “find something you like and you are interested in – maybe something you have always had a curiosity about, or you just want to try something new.”  This class might just be that kind of delightful surprise for a student.  Take a chance, try something new, scratch that itch you won’t be able to scratch later in life.  There are a couple of Wake classes I still kick myself for not taking when I had the chance, because I was too busy being ‘practical’ or trying to think of what would look best on my resume.  I urge any Deac who asks me to take a class purely for the love of it, while they still have access to all these great faculty and interesting classes.

— by Betsy Chapman (with help from Mary Dalton)

To the Seniors, to Make Much of Time

4 25 16 webcamIt’s 1:40 pm and this is the view from the Quad Cam.  Grass so green, sky so blue, clouds so white.

You can see from the stripes in the grass that they have been mowing.  The Quad grass gets a lot of extra attention in the weeks leading up to Commencement.  You can see the Quad in this picture, all open and pretty – but in just a few short weeks there will be a grand stage and 10-12,000 chairs laid out in perfectly straight rows. The grass, right now so lush, will be ground down a bit from everyone walking in the aisles between the seats.

On a day like today – when it is sunny and low 80s – your Deacs ought to get out on the Quad, take their shoes off, and have a really nice stroll in the grass.  It is like a soft, velvety carpet and feels great against your feet.

For those who are seniors, and who will soon miss this place, I would urge them to drink in as many of those experiences as they can.  Sit on the balcony of Reynolda facing the chapel and watch the sun set.  Walk in the Quad grass.  Take a blanket out to Davis Field and just lay there and look up at the sky – or go swing on the swings.

I was an English major.  A little bit of Robert Herrick’s classic seems appropriate for this theme:

GATHER ye rosebuds while ye may,
  Old Time is still a-flying:
And this same flower that smiles to-day
  To-morrow will be dying.
The glorious lamp of heaven, the sun,          5
  The higher he ‘s a-getting,
The sooner will his race be run,
  And nearer he ‘s to setting.
— by Betsy Chapman


Go Deacs!

After the high of Campus Day and seeing all those smiling faces of new Deacs and new P’20s (parents/families of the new Class of 2020), we had some additional awesome this weekend.

First, the men’s tennis team took the ACC Championship!  It’s our first ACC Championship in men’s tennis, and you can see a great celebratory video here.  The Deacs came in 2nd in men’s golf at their ACC Championship.

In other athletic news, our baseball Deacs keep cruising, shutting out UNC over the weekend.

Classes end this Wednesday. You know what that means: stressing over final projects/papers and then final exams.  I’m in a class and in the thick of it myself, so I have the utmost appreciation for what your kids are going through.  Tough to keep the nose to the grindstone when the weather is sunny and 80 and you just want to be outside.

So to help your Deacs feel that sense of “I can do it!” as finals approaches, consider sending them a Deacon Greeting.  A little e-card from mom or dad or a loved one might be the thing that makes their day a little better.  A care package wouldn’t be the wrong answer, either 🙂

— by Betsy Chapman