WILMINGTON — Senior Brittanie Clair told new freshmen and transfer students they have an opportunity to make an impact and leave a legacy during their time at Wilmington College. Fall semester classes started Monday.
Clair, president of the Student Government Association, spoke at the New Student Convocation Friday, which annually serves as WC’s formal welcome to new members of the academic community. She noted how, three years ago, on her own and four hours from home, she attended this event.
“It’s OK to let yourself feel every emotion possible,” Clair said. “You will grow close to people here and they will become your family.” She mentioned an event that had a profound effect upon her two years ago. A fellow student’s fall from a tree stand while hunting rendered him paralyzed. While he was in surgery, the College held a vigil rallying around their classmate.
“We gathered at the Carillon and the campus helped raise funds to purchase an electric wheelchair,” she recalled. “That showed me what community stands for.”
Clair urged the new students to do three things: don’t give up, realize that “You matter” and “Make these coming days the best of your life.”
Alluding to one’s personal evolution during college years, President Trevor Bates asked the students to think back four years ago when they were new freshmen in high school. “What were you wearing? What were you hearing and thinking that day? Stand up if you’re the same person today?”
Bates hearkened starting a new experience like going to college to working on a puzzle without looking at the front of the box. There will be challenges, bumps in the road and fulfilling experiences not yet imagined. He urged them to do four things to ensure success: “Make time for yourself. Try to talk to someone new. Go to class prepared and never, never ever give up!”
This year’s entering class is comprised of 232 freshmen and 50 transfer students from 14 states, seven foreign countries and. collectively, boasts a most impressive 3.46 high school grade point average. They were leaders and student-athletes, and 33 are considered legacies as a parent, grandparent and/or sibling attended WC.
Provost Dr. Erika Goodwin urged them to become the best version of themselves. “You can make these next few years what you want them to be,” she said. “In fact, they’ll likely become even more than that. Decide today that you’re going to get the most out of everything we have to offer.
“Your time at Wilmington College will go so fast.”