Homecoming came at the perfect time this year. Amidst all of the stress of midterms and complaining about the changes at Wofford, a weekend full of celebration and joyful reunions was exactly what we all needed. Walking around in my black and gold on a sunshine-y game day, I turned to my friend and said: “this is why I love Wofford.” The tailgate tents were filled with families and friends eating good food and dancing to good music. The stadium was full of students and parents and little kids screaming and laughing cheering on the Terriers. I watched as some of my best friends and role models beautifully represented our school as they stood on the field for Homecoming Court. I watched as the alumni came back with anticipation to the place that they still call home. I watched as prospective students toured the school that they may soon call home. The whole time I couldn’t help but think: this is it. This is “why Wofford.”
I know that things are different from the “good ole days” of Wofford. I know that there are new Greek houses and a new spring recruitment and really just a whole lot of new. It’s different and it’s weird and, yes, it will take some getting used to. But I don’t think we should lose sight of the reason that we all chose Wofford. I don’t think we should get so stuck in the past that we forget to invest in the future of this place that we all love.
To the freshmen: I know that this semester has been tough. You’re having trouble finding your place in a community that’s just as confused as you are. Please, please stick it out. Remember why you first submitted that application and then submitted that deposit and proudly decided to join the Wofford family. Remember that we are all so excited to have you here and welcome you into this family. It may take some branching out of your comfort zone, but I firmly believe in the idea that you get what you give. If you take the leap and put in the effort to join a club or ask a new friend to lunch or go to that event, I think you’ll find that little by little, you’ll start to feel at home here.
I’d like to take the time to remind everyone why they made or will make the right choice by choosing Wofford. You see, Wofford is the kind of place where you learn far more by being a member of the community than by simply being a student in the classroom. Yes, the academics here are rigorous and rewarding, but there’s more to this school than just that. I’ve learned life skills, new perspectives, and more about who I am as a person just by engaging with my fellow classmates.
Another reason why I love Wofford is that it is the kind of place that holds you accountable. This can be challenging at times, but it is something so special about this community. My friend was telling me about how her professor called her out and told her that he knew she could write a better essay than the one she turned in. At the time, I know she didn’t want to hear that, but, looking at the big picture, it’s so incredible that we go to a school where the professors know you well enough to know that you can do better and they aren’t afraid to challenge you to do so. We go to a school where no one will let you slip through the cracks or achieve anything less than what we know you are capable of achieving. Wofford is the kind of place that builds you up and shapes you into a person who is ready to face the challenges of life head on because you know that you can handle it.
Why Wofford? Because the librarian knows your name without even being told. Because that basketball player that you watched hit all of those 3’s the other day is also your project partner in class. Because a senior girl might invite you to bake cookies in her apartment one night. Because the women at Zach’s know your sandwich order by heart. Because the president of the school will invite you to eat hot dogs in his front yard, and his wife will help you fill up your lemonade when she sees you’ve got too much in your hands. Why Wofford because it’s the little moments that add up to the big moments that eventually make it so you never want to leave this place you call home.