Rachel Schwam
Puckett and Wallace
FYS: Modern Wake Forest: A Living History
February 2, 2016
Welcome to Wake Forest
The beautiful brick building awaits new faces that walk through its doors every day. As
one sets foot inside, the crisp air smells of new paper, and the long, prominent mahogany beams
across the ceiling, strong and omnipresent, appear to hold up the sky. Skylights on the high
ceilings filter the glorious sun that pervades the space, creating a feeling of magic and wonder
that a higher power is at work. The smooth wood walls are like the rich, gold and gooey caramel
in a Snickers bar. The ambiance is that of a cozy ski lodge, especially on a cool day, for the
building itself resembles the outdoors. As a first year student, the Porter Byrum Welcome Center
is a remarkable sight. Yet this place felt different one year ago when the unknown future daunted
me—would my dream school accept me?
From a prospective student’s point of view, driving up the winding, tree-lined Wake
Forest Road, I did not know what to expect. When my mother turned the car right, we drove and
parked in front of the red brick edifice. Unlike any admissions building I had seen previously,
this one had the name “Welcome Center.” I noticed that minor yet important difference in
wording, but that was only the first detailed, unique quality about this place my eyes witnessed.
White, fluffy snow blanketed the landscaping, but it added a magical feeling, contrasting with
the hard bricks. A friendly man with an iPad greeted my mother and me with a genuine “Good
morning!” The second my boots pattered on the blue-gray slate floor, I looked up and marveled
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