Our upperclass students can begin to arrive tomorrow. Today, our new students had individual appointments with their academic advisers and student adviser.

One of the classes that first year students can take is called FYE (for First Year Experience). It is a class about the college transition and focuses on three “pillars”: academic success, wellbeing, and living in community. I was sent a link to some testimonials from students who have taken this class, and wanted to share some of those with you. (These all come from different students, by the way.)

The most impactful moments in class for me were when we talked about managing stress while transitioning to college.  Most students who come to Wake Forest were at the top of their class in high school, and then join a community where everyone is very smart and accomplished.  Academically, the transition was difficult.  But, the even harder transition for me was the non-academic one and more of the social part.  I went to the same school for fourteen years, and it was difficult to come to a completely different part of the country and make new friends.  This class helped me normalize my anxieties as I learned that every college student has the same difficulties.  They also introduced us to some great resources if we wanted to seek help.

The rich weekly discussions were also a noteworthy feature of the class; hearing so many different perspectives and ideas from others who were having the same—and yet different—experiences as me was a big part of shaping me into a student who was more curious and eager to challenge her own beliefs, something I count as one of the most important things I “learned” in my first year.

I found FYE 101 to be extremely helpful in my settling in at Wake. In that class, we discussed a lot about Wake’s culture and that helped me no longer feel like the only one that wasn’t sure what college was supposed to be like. Afterwards, I was much more confident about finding my place on campus.

I’m glad that I had the opportunity to take FYE 101. I took away a few lessons that have shaped the way I approach my college experience and life….We explored what it means to be “successful” in college, and how that doesn’t always mean having a 4.0.  Also, being introduced to mindfulness taught us how to focus on NOW, not the past or the future, and that lesson has proven to be invaluable in its contribution to stress management.

Another great part about the class was the personal reflections on passion.  We spent a lot of time discussing topics like intrinsic vs. extrinsic motivations, which I think is a very important discussion to have when you are entering college.  Wake Forest is a very unique school in that we are all encouraged to study what we are passionate about even if we don’t see a clear career path ahead of us.  My FYE class really motivated me to join different clubs and take classes that I am interested in.

What I value most from my FYE class was establishing strong mentoring relationships with my professors; it was great to have them and my classmates to lean on as I navigated the college transition, and it’s great now knowing I still have them in my corner.

If your ’23 is not taking FYE, it is a fabulous class (and just 1 credit). As of when I wrote today’s blog, there were still plenty of spaces available, so they can go in WIN and sign up if they want to add it.

Tonight our new students are in for a treat – Taste of Winston-Salem. It’s essentially a giant smorgasboard of local restaurants and eateries that come to campus with free food from their respective kitchens, so students can taste and try. It’s like a strolling supper from table to table. Encourage your new Deacs to check it out!

Friday afternoons are a great time to call your students and talk to them – so make that a part of your regular routine.

Safe travels to our P’23s who are leaving today, and to our ’20s, 21s, and 22s as they return to campus. It’s going to be a great year – Go Deacs!


— by Betsy Chapman ’92, MA ’94


Categories: the daily deac