Wake Wednesday

Before I get to the meat of Wake Wednesday – our advice for P’24s, – I wanted to share some general information about some of our campus departments. Many offices on campus have reduced work hours, which is one of several measures Wake has implemented to offset the impact of lost revenue. As such, it may take longer than usual for those offices to respond when you contact them. We ask your patience and grace during this time.

Some offices are also seeing heavier volume of inquiries than others. For example, the International Students and Scholars office has been hopping of late. Even in non-COVID times, they have a population of over 1,000 international students, faculty, and staff they serve. With COVID, there have been frequent regulatory changes that require constant changes to their procedures, and when there are news articles related to an immigration change, they understandably get many emails and questions. Know that ISS  will reply within 24-48 hours and are under reduced work hours due to COVID. And that other offices might not be able to respond as quickly as they would pre-COVID.

Now to the meat of Wake Wednesday. The quick and easy mention is that this morning, and email went out to all ’24s updating about room selection and roommates; you can read it here.

A second point for Class of 2024 students and families, we hope that you will join us at a Virtual New Student Reception in July or August. This is a wonderful way to meet other incoming students and families. At these virtual receptions, you will also hear from current Wake Forest parents, students, and staff and have an opportunity to submit questions ahead of time for the experts. Learn more, find the reception that matches your locale or suits your schedule, and register here.

The final mention is more nuanced, and is is a topic I usually touch on twice a year because it is important. Unpopular, perhaps, but important.

Someone has to go last.

Whenever we have a process that all students must do – think housing selection, class registration, etc. – someone gets to go first, and someone has to go last. None of us wants to go last – and in a school of 5,000 undergraduates, the odds are that you probably won’t be last at something. And yet, you might get assigned a late number; that’s just the luck of the draw.

Right now is a good time to get comfortable with the possibility that at some point in your Deac’s time here, they might go last. If that happens and your Deac is upset, we need families to do two things: 1) show good grace, and 2) help frame the situation for your student.

It helps your student if you don’t have a bad reaction. While your Deac might be unhappy to have a late number in the draw, they might be even more distressed if you get angry or complain. (Remember when they were little kids and skinned their knee? If you didn’t react and say “poor baby!” they didn’t cry.)

What can you do?  Listen to them. Sympathize. You can say things like ‘I’m sorry you are upset. I know you are frustrated and I understand it.’  That helps them feel heard and affirmed. You can also make this a learning moment by saying something like ‘The unfortunate truth is that sometimes you end up last, through no fault of your own.‘ Help your Deac see this decision wasn’t personal, it was just the luck of the draw. And you can talk about a time when you were disappointed that you came up last in something – and survived. Or you can remind them of when they overcame a similar challenge in high school.

One of the important out-of-the-classroom lessons of college is how to deal with the circumstances life hands you. In life, sometimes you’re first, and sometimes you’re last. Help your Deac learn to take either situation with good grace.


— by Betsy Chapman, Ph.D. (’92, MA ’94)


Categories: the daily deac

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