I found out that I was going to be sticking around Winston-Salem in March of 2014, the spring of my senior year of college at Wake Forest. Receiving the admissions email from the MA in Management program is one of my fondest memories; it was like getting into college all over again. I finally figured out what I was going to be doing after graduation and I could finally answer the dreaded question, “What are you going to do come May?” So why did I feel a little twinge of disappointment? Why did I feel like I wasn’t moving on?
For some reason in the undergrad community, there is a stigma with sticking around Winston-Salem after college. I chose Wake Forest 5 years ago because it was, and still is, such a special place. I chose it for a reason. In general, I think there is that stigma in every college town if you do stick around, but I am here to break that stigma and say that you CAN STILL have a life after graduation.
Starting graduate school in July was a weird transition for me. Here is a place that I felt so comfortable with and knew all of my surroundings, but hardly recognized anyone around me. Add to the mix that the elusive “Farrell Building” was now my new home. Coming in as a liberal arts major, the only time I stepped foot in Farrell was for a bagel and shmear, but now I’m lucky to leave here before dark.
To be honest, it took me a little bit of time before I was finally settled into a new routine. Comparatively to undergrad I did not choose any of my class times, my week days sometimes lasted 11 or 12 hours a day, and I was juggling 7 courses at a time. Surprisingly, I ended up liking it. Believe me I would be the first person to run away if someone said that to me, but somehow that drastic change made my transition easier.
Listed below are just a few tips that can enable you to make a new home for yourself in a very familiar place:
- BRANCH OUT! There will be people here that will you will feel comfortable with, but reach out to the people in your program, join a local organization, or attend community events.
- You are here for graduate school, chances are studying will take up a lot of time, so throw yourself into that book. Coming from a psychology background I had NO business classes under my belt, so this was key into not falling behind. (In the meantime, find a new study spot in town to change things up.)
- Don’t pretend that you didn’t just graduate from here, you are still a Deacon! Take those Wait Chapel pictures, roll the quad, and spend time with the people that are still in undergrad; do not be ashamed that you did have a life here 6 months ago.
- Take a chance. That is the best piece of advice that I could pass along, because it was passed along to me. I have met people this year that I cannot believe I never knew before, I have new relationships with professors and faculty that have helped mold my future, and lastly I have made new memories, great ones, in a town that I thought I had moved on from.