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Emily Colby

After graduation, Emily hopes to spend a year teaching English abroad. As she reflects on her four years at Wake Forest, she says her most memorable extra curricular experience was playing intramural inner tube water polo. Her essay, “Top 5 reasons to intramural inner tube water polo” was published on USA Today College. “Inner tube water polo is such an entertaining game, as people splash their opponents and move clumsily down the pool in their inner tubes,” she says. “I always looked forward to our game each week because it was a great stress reliever and a chance to spend time with people I would not have known otherwise.”

Q: How have you changed since arriving on campus?

A: During my time at Wake Forest, I have learned to be more resilient to adversity. I have come to understand that getting upset about a low grade or not being selected for the perfect internship is not the best way to handle the situation. Rather than feeling defeated, I try to think about how I can adjust the situation and move forward from it to continue to take more risks and eventually achieve my goals.

Q: Describe your study abroad experience.

A: I studied abroad in Prague, Czech Republic during the fall of my junior year. I had never been to the Czech Republic before, so I was eager to experience the culture. While I loved taking courses in a historic building in the heart of Prague, much of my learning occurred outside of the classroom. Often my professors took us on walking tours around the city to view the diverse architecture from different periods of Prague’s history. Through my internship at a Czech magazine, I had the opportunity to conduct interviews with local art gallery owners. By volunteering to teach an English course to Czech college students, I was able to learn about the Czech perception of the American people and our culture, and I was able to practice my Czech language skills.

Q: Of all the people who have influenced you during your time at Wake Forest, who would you most like to thank?

A: I would like to thank my communication professor and adviser, Dr. Oseroff-Varnell. She has taken interest in both my academic and personal success since I met her my first-year. She has remained a great mentor ever since. Even though I have not been in her class since my sophomore year, we have maintained our relationship, and I know that I can always go to her for guidance when I need it.

Q: What is the best advice you were given during your four years at Wake Forest?

A: Take time to enjoy the journey. It is easy to get completely caught up in academic obligations and extracurricular commitments without stopping to enjoy the many fun opportunities surrounding us. This advice has helped me to remember to balance work and play, which I will always aim to do.

Q: Where is the one place on campus you will miss most?

A: I will miss the lobby in the Scales Fine Arts Center where I took several art history courses. Each time I walked into the lobby, I was sure to see some of my classmates reviewing notes before class or catching up with friends. As the center of creativity on campus, the Scales lobby is always filled with theatre students practicing their lines, art students installing unique pieces of art and faculty walking through to socialize with their students.

Q: What shared values do you feel unite the Wake Forest community?

A: The Wake Forest community values strong personal relationships. This community celebrates making connections as faculty take interest in their students and students seek to build relationships with staff outside the classroom. I have experienced this during my time at Wake Forest through going to a professor’s house for dinner, discussing travel tips with my academic adviser and sharing laughs with the maintenance staff in my first-year dorm.

Q: What is your advice for an incoming first-year student?

A: Stay in touch. Most first-year students are probably thinking about how to stay in touch with their families and high school friends; however, I want to remind them to stay in touch with the people they meet at Wake Forest. Whether it is continuing to say ‘hi’ to someone you met during orientation week or meeting your favorite professor for coffee once a semester, be sure to maintain the relationships you form. Keeping up these relationships can help you make Wake Forest feel like home and will keep many doors open for future opportunities.