I'm not sure of the exact moment I became infatuated with Wake Forest University as a high school student. My memories of the attraction come in snippets, with no particular order. All I recall specifically is that feeling of absolute certainty: I was going to go to Wake.
Let's back up a bit to find out what made Wake THE school for me. I was on the hunt for a classics program at a respected liberal arts university within a five-hour drive of Augusta, Georgia, my hometown. Those requirements narrowed the choices significantly! The classics department had to be robust enough to challenge me, too. I remember my tour at Furman University was lovely, but the classics professor I spoke with was a little too impressed with my classics resume (five years of Latin, three years of Greek, and many impressive accolades achieved under the uniquely wonderful instruction of Randall Nichols at Westminster Schools of Augusta).
On a visit to Wake, the Latin and Greek classes I sat in on seemed to be of appropriate difficulty, so the classics box was checked! Winston-Salem was just four hours from Augusta, so it was within my radius. Check! Wake is a nationally ranked school. Check! My overnight visit with a freshman there was, basically, flawless. I have a picture of myself on the quad, holding some of the toilet paper that had been unrolled all over the trees: a show of school spirit for a Demon Deacon win. I bought a shirt, a coffee mug, a car decal...you get the picture. Everything was right.
But [spoiler alert], not for the first time and certainly not for the last time, all of my check boxes couldn't quite predict God's plan. I would spend over a year believing that Wake was my destiny, until a spring day in my senior year: Friday, April 12, 2002, when I first set foot on the grounds of the University of Virginia.
Your college decision is not final until it's final. My next few posts will continue my own college admissions story of how I ended up at UVa and perhaps highlight some lessons learned along the way (or, more likely, learned in hindsight years later!).