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Finals Week – The Best of the Internet

And so it begins.

Finals week.

zsr wtlMy inside sources at the ZSR report that this is what they are seeing: “Students are congregating around all the tables in ZSR, with ThinkPads, textbooks and water bottles at the ready. Heads are down and they are all focused on finishing up papers and projects and studying for exams!”  Here is the whiteboard showing what Wake the Library has planned for the day.

Because it’s a heavy time for students, and they are likely feeling it, we thought today’s Daily Deac would be 100% pure internet frivolity.  If any of these are images you think would make your students laugh, by all means send them on.  (If not, chuckle privately).

Good luck to all your students on their exams!

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This could be my Class of ’27 Deac.

 

 

 

 

 

grumpy cat

 

Who does not love Grumpy Cat?

 

 

 

 

netflix

 

  Procrastination, Part I

 

 

 

 

 

 

 sound of music Procrastination, Part II

 

 

 

 

 

 

finals meme

 

The Finals Games

 

 

 

 

 

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The eternal truth

 

Reading Day

20130506library2599Today is Reading Day, which is the day after classes have ended and before final exams begin.  Typically this is a day where you see not a ton of foot traffic on campus – none of the usual crowds of people during times when classes change.  Most of the traffic you might see is into/out of the ZSR Library and a few other frequently-used study spots (I’m looking at you, Farrell Hall).

Starting now, and through next week, you’ll see a distinct change in our students’ sense of style.  For our young women, you’ll typically see less makeup, more ponytails.  Fewer cute dresses and skirts, more workout clothes.  For our young men, you’ll see fewer of them clean shaven and more of them sporting 2-3 day stubble.  You get the idea.  Everyone slacks off a bit because the focus is all on studying, studying, studying – or final papers and projects due.

If our students can get past the immediate thoughts of their finals, they might be anticipating a trip to the beach.  Post-exams (aka Beach Week) is a time-honored tradition here, where students rent houses or stay in hotels along many of the beaches on the NC and SC coasts.  Sometimes, just knowing you are going to be in great place surrounded by friends in a week’s time can help you get through the strain of studying.

Another way our students make it through finals is because we have a fantastic group of librarians and staff who host Wake the Library, which is a 24/7 operation during exams.  Your students can eat at midnight, take part in yoga and other relaxation opportunities, etc.  Tell your students to follow the Wake the Library action and get in on it!

And Deac families – always helps to get some pick-me-ups from home.  Whether that is a text or a call or a card or a care package, your students will appreciate hearing from you.

Finally, encourage your students to practice good self-care during the stress of finals.  That means eat healthy food, get enough sleep, and get out and get moving so they get some exercise.  While it sounds counterintuitive to take extra time for a walk or a healthy meal or to lose an hour of studying in favor of sleep, they will likely fare better on their exams if their bodies and minds have had been well cared for.

The Weather

Our thoughts are with all of the Wake Forest families who have been in range of the terrible storms of this week.  We hope that you have not been directly affected and are sending our positive thoughts your way.

Winston-Salem did not experience any particularly bad weather as a result of this storm.  We had some wind and some rain (and a thunderstorm very early this morning), but nothing like you might have seen (or feared) based on the news coverage about the storm outbreak.

Understandably, we had many parents who were watching and wondering what happened on campus and were concerned about how their students might be notified in case of a weather emergency.  So we want to remind you of those various efforts and resources.

- There is a Wake Alert site that you can bookmark (and you can also sign up to follow Wake Alert on Twitter).  The Wake Alert website is where we state the operating status of campus, and would state it there if there was an emergency.

- If there is an emergency, you will see a large banner message running across the very top of the main WFU web page.  That banner should also always be replicated on the Parents’ Page as well.

- There is also an emergency preparedness site called Wake Ready.  This is worth parents and families looking at, and also reminding your students to review it at least once a semester.  Wake Ready has a section on Emergency Situations, which talks about what to do in various emergency scenarios.

- If there were an emergency declared, the campus gets notified in a number of ways.  If there were specific safety instructions for that emergency, they would be included in the messages and alerts.

It is always good to think about emergency preparedness BEFORE the emergency, so please keep these sites in mind.  It would be a great thing for you to look at as family members, and have your students do the same.  Just as the fire departments urge you to change your smoke alarm batteries when you set the clocks forward/back for the time change, think about reviewing this emergency information with your students the week before they arrive on campus for the fall and spring semesters.

Campus Day Part 2

Today is the second Campus Day for Accepted Students, which is bringing about 400 families to campus on this grey and overcast day.  Our Parent Programs office had a table set up with a display showcasing the Parents’ Page and other things, and we had a lot of nice families come up to say hello.

Interestingly enough, most of them who came to speak to us said their children were either Early Decision or had already decided to enroll.   Normally at past Campus Days, about half of the families coming were already sold on WFU, the other half had students who were trying to take one last look at Wake and determine if they were coming here or would ultimately go to [INSERT OTHER TOP CHOICE].

I want to give a special shout out and thank you to all our visiting families who came up and told us they read the Daily Deac or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.  We never know where our readers are unless they tell us, and it is always a delight to put a face and a name to the people we are reaching each day.  So thanks to all our P’18 (Parent of Class of ’18) families who said hello.

This week we ran a bit late on our Information for First-Year families, so I wanted to bring it to your attention here.  This week’s message was about “A Year in Review: A Look Back at the Academic Year.”  And while it might be of particular interest to our freshmen families, the idea of reflecting at the end of each year is not a bad practice (even if your Deac is a new one just finishing high school!)  If you think your student might benefit from some questions prompting reflection – if not now, maybe even over the summer – please feel free to share this.

President Hatch Elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences

A colleague of mine shared some pretty big news from campus today.  President Hatch has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.  I will confess I did not know the particulars of this organization, but it is described as follows:  ”One of the nation’s most prestigious honorary societies, the Academy is also a leading center for independent policy research. Members contribute to Academy publications and studies of science and technology policy, energy and global security, social policy and American institutions, and the humanities, arts and education.”

Even more impressive is the cohort that he is joining:  ”Members of the 2014 class include winners of the Nobel Prize; the Wolf Prize; the Pulitzer Prize; National Medal of the Arts; MacArthur, Guggenheim, and Fulbright Fellowships; and Grammy, Emmy, Oscar and Tony Awards.”

This is a great honor for Dr. Hatch and by extension for Wake Forest.  There is a story on the Wake Forest web site about this if you want the full details.  Congratulations to Dr. Hatch!

 

Thoughts on Commencement

20130520commencement1071Commencement 2014 is just a few weeks away.   It is a time of great celebration and joy for graduates and their families.  It’s also time when we get a lot of questions in the Parent Programs office about Commencement.  So I thought I’d share some of my thoughts from nearly 15 Commencements on campus.  Take them for what you will.

Weather:  pay attention to the weather forecast for the days leading up to Commencement, and pack clothes accordingly.  That could include rain wear, umbrellas, light jackets, or your warmest, lightest clothing.  Keep an eye on the weather.  And between now and Commencement, your job is to send prayers and positive thoughts for a sunny day around 75 degrees with a light breeze.  That in my opinion is the ideal weather.

Attire: People always ask “what should we wear? how formal is it?”  My first bit of advice is that you need to dress for the weather.  It can be cool in the morning, hot if the sun is going to be out.  In terms of what people wear, you could see everything from suits and ties and dressy spring suits for women, to sundresses and golf shirts and slacks.  The tendency is to be a little more dressy perhaps, but Deac men should give themselves the option of taking off the jacket and loosening the tie if it gets warm.  Deac women, think about if you tend to be hot or cold natured and determine whether you want the option of a jacket or sweater or pashmina.

Shoes: Leave your most expensive and cherished shoes at home!  Really.  The Quad grass will be dewy in the morning.  If you wear your most impressive shoes, it is almost certain they will get wet, and very likely specked with mud or grass.  There are literally close to 10,000 people on the Quad, and the grass paths between sections of seating on the lawn do get worn down to the dirt (or mud, depending on the wetness of the ground).  Use your favorite fancy shoes if you go to Baccalaureate (as it is inside), but be conservative and wear shoes that you don’t mind potentially getting wet on Commencement day.

Sunscreen is a must.  Repeat:  sunscreen is a must.  Or a hat.  Or both.  If we hold the ceremony outside (again, prayers welcome for great weather!), you will be outside for 3+ hours and  there are not enough areas of shade.  If you are sensitive to light and sun, be aware of this.  And tell your graduates to wear sunscreen too!

Think about the comfort of grandparents or older relatives:  my grandmother wanted very much to see me graduate in 1992, but she was very sensitive to heat and sun, and was not able to walk a long ways.  While we do our best to make everyone comfortable, if you have relatives for whom an outdoor event would not be good for them, please consider that before you all come.  Each family needs to make the decision that is best for them.  There is typically a live webcast of Commencement, which might be a great option.

Seating on the Quad: seating is on folding chairs (not particularly fancy).  Bring some paper towels or a washcloth from your hotel (please return them!) to wipe off your chairs at Commencement.  While the staff tries to go through and wipe the dew off the chairs, they are not always able to get to all 10,000 chairs before guests arrive.

When to arrive Commencement Day: everyone asks this, and there is no one-size-fits-all answer.   My own parents were in line at 6 am because they wanted to be among the first to get on the Quad and have their pick of all the seats.  They then had a 3 hour wait, so they read the paper, took a stroll, etc.  Other of my friends’ parents chose to arrive later.  Only you will know how important it is to you to get there early and have lots of options about seating vs. how much you want to avoid having a longer wait before the ceremony starts.  Know that there will be traffic, and there will be lines as you check in, so plan accordingly.

Bathrooms:  there are many.  Residence halls and Reynolda Hall are open, but there will be lines.  You might fare well to consider going to the Benson Center (a short walk) or Scales Fine Arts Center (closer to the Quad) if you don’t want to wait.  Because we read every student’s name, you will be able to see how long it takes as they begin and can plan your restroom break accordingly.

FYI on the ceremony proper:  the Commencement ceremony has run 2.5 to 3 hours in recent years.  It starts promptly at 9 am.  There will be a break in the ceremony to allow graduate and professional students to go to their respective ceremonies (and for their families to follow).  So know that there will be some seats taken early in the day that become vacant at the break, and know also that you are able to get up and move around.

Earth Day Celebration – Tuesday 4/22

Last week’s Message for First Year Families was about Sustainability.  Tomorrow (Tuesday, April 22) there will be an Earth Day Fair for campus, and I hope your students will plan to attend.

The Earth Day Fair is being organized by the Office of Sustainability.  There will be music and food and entertainment and other activities, and it is also a great way to think about green issues and being kind to the planet.

Finals are coming up soon, and your students need to take good care of themselves and take the occasional break from work to get outdoors and do some things that might be fun and relaxing.

So tell your Deacs to head out to the Mag Quad (aka Manchester Plaza tomorrow  and enjoy Earth Day!)

Five Senses of Farrell Living Room

Tomorrow is an academic and administrative holiday.  If you have a concern about a student (either after normal business hours or on a holiday), University Police is our 24/7 contact.  You can call them at 336-758-5591 (non-emergencies) or 336-758-5911 (emergencies) and they will contact the appropriate on-call staff.

Yesterday I went over to Farrell Hall a little bit before a 2 pm meeting so I could take in the scene and bring you one of our “Five Senses” blog posts.  Here you go, Deac families!

I see…

- a giant blue crane on one end of the Living Room and an orange platform/people lifter on the other.  It is not clear to me what they are doing, but there are 2 men on one cherry-picker and 3 on the ground observing.  Yellow tape is roping off the equipment.

- half of the tables and comfy chairs in the middle of the Living Room are occupied.  It appears to be a mix of students individually studying or eating lunch, and some in clusters or groups.

- cold weather clothes.  It is chilly today, and most are in sweaters, sweatshirts, or fleece jackets (or have them nearby)

- lots of laptops, both at tables with just one student, as well as the groups of students

- a couple of students I know; one with a delightful accent comes up to talk to me

- administrators and faculty walking through the Living Room, occasionally talking to students they know or each other

 

I hear…

- the sound of the equipment moving up and down; rather a drill-like sound

- jingling keys

- the ice machine at Einstein’s Bagels

- people ordering from same

- laughter

- snippets of conversations.  I am near two girls who erupt into periodic giggles.  They appear to be rehashing someone’s escapades.

 

I feel…

- the nubby fabric of the chair at my table

- the very smooth and pleasantly cool marble-like/solid surface of the table.  The patterns of the tables reminds me a bit of a good French pate.

- the occasional breeze as doors open

 

I smell….

- cinnamon raisin bagels from Einstein’s

- hazelnut.  Einstein’s has a hazelnut-vanilla blend that is aromatic

 

I taste….

- a cup of that hazelnut coffee (couldn’t resist!)

 

And that, my friends, was the Five Senses of the Farrell Living Room at nearly 2 pm on Wednesday.  Hope you felt like you were there with me!

Phi Beta Kappa Induction

phi beta kappaYesterday I had the pleasure of attending the induction ceremony of the newest members of Phi Beta Kappa, the nation’s oldest academic honor society.   About twenty juniors and around 50 seniors were invited to join this year.  It was a wonderful event for them and for the many proud family members, faculty, and staff in attendance.  And as an alumna of WFU and a member of PBK as well, I was proud to see these exceptional young men and women being honored.  I knew a few of them and they are terrific.

In addition to celebrating the students, a member of the faculty was given an honorary membership as well.  The professor was Mary Foskett of the Religion department.  I have worked with Mary for many years and she is an exceptional teacher-scholar and has such a heart for both students and scholarship – a most deserving recipient of this honor.

The keynote speaker at the event was Blake Morant, dean of the School of Law (and a PBK member as well.)  Dean Morant opened by asking the audience if we knew some of the most famous members of Phi Beta Kappa (see list here).  He then shared a story about his first job following law school.  He had been on an Army ROTC scholarship and then was part of the JAG Corps (Judge Advocate General).

Disclaimer: Dean Morant is a phenomenal speaker and a very charismatic storyteller, so I can not do his live performance justice.  But it was a good story.

In his first JAG Corps assignment, he was at Fort Bragg here in NC and was working on general contract law, which is evidently one of the most complicated forms of law to practice.  His commanding officer assigned him to work on a contract for a particular piece of equipment – a tank – that the 3 star general of the base wanted to purchase.

Dean Morant researched this exhaustively and found that there was an endangered species of bird on base that was protected by new EPA rules that applied to military bases (as well as the general population) and that the general could not get this tank because of the risk to this endangered bird.

He presented his masterfully written briefing memo to his commanding officer, basically saying the general could not get the tank.  The officer read it and said it was one of the most thorough and well-developed briefings ever – and that Dean Morant would have to be the one to meet the general to tell him no in person.  Evidently the general was a real Patton-style guy and not used to hearing the word “no.”  The prospect of having to break this bad news to the general was fearsome indeed.

Being extremely well rounded in his own liberal arts undergraduate experience at the University of Virginia, Dean Morant relied on his critical thinking skills and tried to think outside of the box (or base as it were) to find other solutions.   He drove all around the base to see if there were other areas that did not have this bird in residence, but would also meet the needs of the general and would allow him to get the tank.  He was able to find a different section of land that had no endangered birds and room for the types of tank drills required.

He amended the briefing memo to show that the general could both safeguard the endangered bird and get him the tank he wanted.  A win for everyone.  But especially for Dean Morant, who had the academic training to think creatively and problem-solve.  He credited his undergraduate experience for helping him develop those skills.

After this story, Dean Morant urged the students to let this induction into Phi Beta Kappa be the *beginning* of a life of great things, not the crowning achievement.  Hard work and a firm grounding in the liberal arts can make anything possible – and he stressed that now more than ever, we need people with liberal arts backgrounds to help look into the problems of the world and find solutions.

Following the induction ceremony, the new members, their families, and faculty and staff celebrated the success of these great students.  It was a great night for all.

Congratulations to all our new members!

Focus on the Forest

Some of the most positive feedback we get at the Daily Deac is from parents and family members who appreciate seeing photos of things that are happening on campus, and also the “five senses” posts where we set up camp somewhere around the campus and just observe for 30 minutes and chronicle what we see.  Today the weather is supposed to be awful – 100% chance of rain for a good part of the day, although right now (9:20 am) it is still dry.

photoblog_tree_header1We’ll try to get a “five senses” post in sometime this week, but for now I want to draw your attention to a wonderful photo resource.  It’s called Focus on the Forest, and it is a Tumblr site maintained by Ken Bennett, our award-winning University Photographer.   He is taking pictures all the time, to document campus events as well as get shots of campus and students that can be used on the website, in publications, and more.  There are over 70,000 photos in our archive, dating back from late 90s or early 2000s.  Ken puts some of the best of them up on Focus on the Forest, and if you want a visual treat, you should check out the site.

For another look at campus any time, there is the Quad Cam.  If you are viewing it from your PC or laptop, it should work fine.  We are having a little hitch with it coming through on smartphones, and our IS and web teams are working on that.  So know that if you try it on your phone, you might not get it, but the issue has been reported and is being addressed, but it is a complicated issue and will take some time to fix.  Apologies to all.

One time I’d recommend you check out the Quad Cam is on April 25th – that will be our second Campus Day for Accepted Students.  There will be a lot of activity at the following times:

7:30-8:45 am – when people check in to register at Wait Chapel

9:30-10 am – when the first program in Wait Chapel ends and they all depart en masse for other sessions

2:00ish-4ish – students will begin setting up the Student Involvement Fair during the 2:00 time frame, as the admitted students and families are in their last program in Wait Chapel.  Once that finishes, the Demon Deacon leads the students out of the chapel and on to the Quad, where the band, cheerleaders, and dance team are waiting.  You’ll see a ton of prospective students and parents walking around to visit the tables at the Student Involvement Fair (student organizations set up tables to promote their groups)