It’s difficult to say where community really starts and stops. When I was looking for the right college as a junior and senior in high school, I didn’t really understand that. I had been in communities before, but they were pretty small and seemed, at the time at least, fairly well-defined.

What I’ve learned at Wake Forest is that community isn’t just one thing.

Community is clearly present in the student section at the Joel. A sea of black and yellow tie-dye, accented by seemingly inexplicable props and costumes, unites students who might not share anything besides a passion for seeing their university come out victorious. The fight songs and cheers serve as vocal confirmation that everyone, regardless of academic interests, is there for one reason.

Community is at the annual Lovefeast celebration in Wait Chapel. The available seats cannot contain the students, faculty, alumni and local residents who come to celebrate the holidays with their extended University family. Latecomers, forced to stand in the back, learn firsthand that the Wake Forest community stretches far beyond its physical boundaries.

Community is there as the magnolias bloom, in the Library’s atrium late at night before the first round of finals begins and even in the disorderly, congested Subway line at 3 a.m. on a Saturday.

Not every student can say he or she has experienced every little thing that makes this place unique, but everyone can say they have participated in some aspect of life that is unique to Wake Forest.

Every student is interested in so many different things that sometimes it’s difficult to feel a sense of unity with all of my fellow Deacs. I can’t say that I am on the same path or come from the same place as everyone who I have shared this campus with. Unfortunately, I can’t say that I will share an experience with all of those people. What I can say, with confidence, is that at some point, we all thought the same thing. In some form or another, doubtlessly surrounded by a variety of circumstances, we all said to ourselves, “I want to be a Deac.”

We all saw something at Wake Forest — although we probably weren’t sure what it was — and decided we needed to be a part of it. Whatever small glimpse of life we were able to glean from the admissions brochures, interviews with current students or brief campus visits, it was enough to make us think that one day we could be a part of this place. Regardless of the things we all ended up taking a part in, this thought links us now and will remain a common thread forever.

What I’ve learned about community at Wake Forest is that regardless of how it’s defined, even if only by the single decision to attend this university, it is real and it can inspire us to do some incredible things.