Graduation is literally right around the corner. Depending on what your job is on campus, you may be checking the forecast and praying for sunny skies and weather that is warm but not too hot, or putting the final coat of paint on all the iron railings so they are bright and shiny, or cutting the grass just so, or doing the final edits on the Commencement program, or ensuring all grades are recorded properly and we know seniors have completed all their degree requirements. A university is a very complex place to work, with a lot of departments and many moving pieces.
In the pre-Commencement rush, it’s easy to get lost in the minutiae and not think about the most important parts of the weekend – which are the students. They came here four (or five) years ago, some with trepidation, some with boundless excitement, and made friends, took classes in subjects they were passionate about and some they’d never realized existed, they went abroad and saw parts of the world that changed their perspective, they had coffee with faculty and had late night philosophical ramblings over pizza and beer. They fell in love (and out), had romantic entanglements, job interviews, moments of pure bliss and sheer terror. And they grew exponentially as people.
This week, the WFU web site is profiling several seniors. I commend these pieces to you because they give you a good look into the experiences of some wonderful seniors who are getting ready to launch into the next phase of very promising lives. I’m going to take a quote from each senior’s Q&A, but you should read the whole interviews. These are Wake Foresters to make you proud!
Ae’ Jay Mitchell (’11)
How have these past four years changed you?
The most dramatic change for me was finally understanding that every day is a new discovery. I will never know who I will be tomorrow; I can only aspire to live in who I am now. That is a juicy, but frightening revelation. It means that the ugly, the misshapen, the picturesque, the fantastic and the ‘blah’ will be new and different every moment so breathe that in… instead of running away from it.
Carey Alice Carpenter (’11)
What does earning this degree mean to you?
A tribute to four years of learning, personal growth and friendships I couldn’t have found anywhere else. A most prized possession and testament to a school I will always love.
Travis Beal (’11)
Did you have time for volunteer work?
My fraternity, Lambda Chi Alpha, has done a lot of work for the North American Can Food Drive. We donated thousands of dollars to their cause, helping to feed many hungry people throughout North Carolina. I also volunteered at Ardmore Through The Day School, where I assisted the preschool teachers. The most rewarding volunteer work I’ve done is the also the most recent. Following the recent tornadoes affecting central and eastern North Carolina, I helped with the cleanup and rebuilding efforts in an area near my home.
Jung Hoon Kim (’11)
Do you have a favorite memory of your time at Wake Forest?
Coming back early from winter break during my sophomore year to watch our basketball team beat the Tar Heels. I will never forget how exciting it was to watch James Johnson and Jeff Teague, two guys who I lived with during my first year in Collins dorm, score numerous points and take our team to victory.
Congratulations to these four Deacs, and all our seniors and graduate and professional students. It will be a magical Monday at Commencement!
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