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Old Gold & Black

Old Gold & Black

OPINION: Men’s Basketball just won’t back down
Abigail Taylor, Contributing writer • February 27, 2024

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

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Making Wofford work for you

“You can fall in love with any school because there is potential at any campus…all the gems in schools are hidden,” said Lydia Estes, ’20, while sitting down to talk to me about her Wofford experience.

Estes spent a portion of her freshman year considering leaving Wofford to transfer to another school. Estes, a northerner by S.C. standards from Carlisle, Pennsylvania., knew Wofford was going to be a culture shock, but she still experienced her fair share of doubts during her first semester and struggled to find her place among her peers.“In the middle of October, I wrote an article for the Odyssey…where I had to basically teach myself to fall in love with Wofford,” she recalled recently.

Alex Rizzo-Banks, ’21, shared a similar sentiment as Estes. “I think that Wofford is a very different culture from what I was used to,” he shared. His personal struggle was largely related to commuting to campus every day and feeling outside of the Wofford bubble, which is something he knew would be a problem all four years at Wofford. An added problem for Rizzo-Banks was not being able to find his niche right away and struggling to find a community. 

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Alex Rizzo-Banks has made Wofford work for him by finding a community working at Starbucks in Campus Life

Both students have overcome their struggles, although in different ways. For Estes, the turning point in her Wofford experience was her internship to Tanzania with The Space during the summer after her freshman year. She described how the internship served as a fulcrum of her Wofford experience, saying, “It was that summer in Tanzania that locked me in and then I came back for sophomore year and I felt that I had found what I knew existed all along, it just took much longer to find it.”  

Estes also found a home in Kappa Alpha Theta sorority, spent an entire year studying abroad, and has written for the Old Gold & Blacksince her sophomore year. Her advice to freshmen who are struggling or simply do not feel at home at Wofford is: “Don’t hesitate with your goals and dreams. Just because a school isn’t conducive to [your goals] right now, doesn’t mean that you can’t change it.” 

Rizzo-Banks has also found his niche at Wofford, which includes being active in the Arabic program, which he began his freshman year, and working at the coffee shop on campus. As a commuting student, he advises those who may feel left out at Wofford to actively seek out other students and stay active on campus. Even simple things like going to Walmart with other students or seeking out friends at events can help, he explained. 

No matter the personal struggles, entering college as a freshman can be intimidating. It is important for students to consider their own needs and happiness above all else and choose the place that is right for them. However, before deciding whether to stay or go, as both Estes and Rizzo-Banks concluded, it is essential to explore options at Wofford and attempt to make the best of freshman year by meeting new people and staying engaged. “I’m glad I reminded myself that I can change the rules,” Estes said confidently. 

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