President Hatch just sent a message to the campus community and urged them to do three things this semester: 1) spend time with and invest in your friends, 2) appreciate being a member of a community in a way that you may never experience again, and 3) have the courage to spend time alone. Dr. Hatch expounds on each of these ideas and suggestions on how to accomplish them. Read his full message.
From the Parent Programs perspective, we want to offer a few suggestions of possible resolutions or new practices for students. Please feel free to share these if your students are open to suggestions.
Take care of your health – we hear all sorts of stories on the news every day about this being a terrible flu season, so it is time to practice good handwashing and consider going to Student Health to get the flue shot. Good health also means nutritious food, enough sleep, and exercise – but all in moderation.
Find a time management system that works – Now that it is the second semester and students have gotten the hang of academics, many of them will add new extracurricular activities or may be embarking upon Greek life, which can impact their study schedules. It is far easier to plan for homework and assignments than to play catch-up after you are already behind – so urge your student to set regular study hours and avoid procrastinating on homework and assignments. With proper planning, students can minimize the impact of an increased social life on their GPAs.
Find a trusted adult or mentor – WFU prides itself on its personal attention to students, and we have many people here who wish to connect and help with students if they ask for it. Students should begin to form ties with professors in classes they especially like or in departments they may wish to consider for their major; they can visit faculty members’ office hours or invite them to chat for coffee. Students can also work with their academic advisor or staff members and administrators to be a resource and a sounding board for them when needed. We also have an outstanding Campus Ministry staff and Counseling Center to lend an ear and support to our students.
Reflect - this is related to Dr. Hatch’s suggestion to cultivate some “alone time.” Every student should take some personal time each week to reflect on their experiences. What did I do this week that I liked? What went well? What did not go as well? What should I do differently next time? What matters to me right now? Reflection and introspection can bring greater inner peace, identify issues to work on to improve, and bring focus. All too soon, students will graduate, hard as that is to believe. They need to be sure they know who they are and what they want before they leave our campus. If they haven’t worked with the Office of Personal and Career Development on self-discovery, it’s a great time to start.
Take advantage of every opportunity – every week there are special events, lectures, artistic and cultural opportunities, athletic events, and volunteer service. Your students will probably never again have as much free time as they will these four years, nor as much access to world-class speakers and events, so urge them to go to the many special events Wake Forest hosts, volunteer some time, learn something new.
Meet new (and different) people – in the spirit of our message last week on Inclusion, students ought to try to get to know some new people, people they hadn’t thought they might get along with or like, or someone with a different worldview. By getting to know those new folks, your students will be exposed to new ideas and viewpoints. It doesn’t mean your student has to change his or her own mind, but he/she will be creating a much more inclusive social circle by widening it.
Have fun! – students should find time every week for fun activities, to celebrate small joys, to cultivate friendships, and to be present in the moment. Walk through Reynolda Gardens, go see a midnight movie with friends, make that late night Krispy Kreme run, and do random acts of kindness for others on campus.
Make this year all that it can be!