Letters So Dear

One of the lines in the Wake Forest alma mater refers to “Mother, so dear” (inside baseball tip here: until our students learn the whole thing, they might do a lot of mumbling mid-song but the one line they do remember is “Moooooother, so dear.”) We have appropriated the “Mother, so dear” language for other things – there is a Party So Dear at Homecoming, and some alumni refer to Wake as Mother So Dear (myself included). Now we have a new iteration: a Letters So Dear campaign.

Letters So Dear are being sent out to the first-year students. The Office of Academic Advising has solicited upperclassmen/women (i.e., sophomores through seniors) to write letters to first-years, to share some of their perspectives about the transition to college and experiences on campus. You can see the Letters So Dear archive here or join their mailing list via that same page.

Here is an excerpt from yesterday’s Letter So Dear, and in my humble opinion, the advice is spot on:

When I started here in 2015, I was scared.  I didn’t know anyone, where my classes were, who to eat with, etc.  I spent the first couple weeks trying to stay optimistic and hopeful, even though I missed home badly.  It was hard for me to not feel lost in a new place without any activities after being well-known and established back at home. If I only knew how things would change, I think my outlook on my first year would have been much different. Here are a few tips or reminders to help you get through:

  • Avoid social media: The first year can feel lonely, and it is only heightened when you hop on Instagram or Snapchat. Know that everyone else feels just as new as you do, but know they are going to post their “highlight or two of the week” online to make it seem like they are having the time of their lives.  Instead of comparing yourself to others based on Instagram pictures, focus on growing at your pace so that college can be the actual time of your life!

  • Be patient: Like I mentioned before, you’re adjusting!  It is 150 percent normal and usual, and you DO belong here!  I promise when I say that we all struggled at points, but it gets better!  Remember when you walked into high school and were scared back then?  And then it got easier and you became more established.  The same thing is bound to happen here! So just be patient, use your grit, and be ready for success.

  • Get involved: Too much idle time is the enemy of growing on campus.  Get out there and join clubs and do activities; push your comfort zone!  These experiences will provide you with a base of activities and people with whom you can build your WFU experience around.  Don’t wallow by yourself deep into a series of Netflix and a box of Pop Tarts.

  • Get to know your professors: Your professors will provide you with so much more than the lesson plans.  Get to know them, and they will get to know you. Be okay with being vulnerable with them.  They have helped countless students before and want to be there for you too! Don’t underestimate the power of someone who has your best interest in mind!

And if you want to share some advice for first-year families, feel free to reply to this email with your own Letter So Dear. Depending on response, I may publish them here or may take excerpts to use for the New Students website for the Class of 2023. I know there is a great deal of wisdom in the Daily Deacdom 🙂

It is raining today, but we have shuttles running to the polls continuously until 7 pm. They depart from the steps of Benson. Students who are eligible to vote can get there via these shuttles. Whoever they support, I hope they exercise the privilege of voting.

— by Betsy Chapman ’92, MA ’94

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