A letter to the Wolfpack

Dear past, present & future members of the Wolfpack,  

First of all, put down the textbook, the highlighter, the pens, and the notebook full of ‘class notes’ and doodles. Put down the iPhone, the iPad and the Starbucks cup — and breathe.

I’ve been there.

You may be a high school senior pumped to step foot in Raleigh, or you could be the freshman stressing over that one intro to chemistry final (that we all hated taking), or you may even be a graduating senior cruising through the last two weeks of college till you walk across that stage at the PNC Arena and call yourself an alumnus of the greatest university in the world (I myself - am the latter). But, I’ve been there. We all have.

To the incoming freshman here at NC State, and heck, even to those who have a few more years left in Raleigh — If there were one thing I learned in college to pass down to the next class and generation of college students would be to never take anything you do for granted. Your four years (or five, six or seven – no judgment), here at NC State will mold you into the person you will be for the rest of your life. College is a place to learn about yourself, to try new things out, to expand your mind and most importantly – to get out of your comfort zone.

Too many of us have been raised to be scared to make mistakes. Let me be the first to tell you though – college will get the best of you. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. You live and you learn. Grow from your downfalls, and keep on pushing. Sometimes your lowest point in college can be the biggest blessing in disguise. 

We’re social people – we weren’t created to be comfortable. Get out there and leave your mark and your legacy at this fine institution of higher learning. Get involved. I can’t emphasize how vital it is to get involved in something. Whether it be an a capela group, a religious organization, Greek life, intramurals, the marching band, or a political group – get involved. Get your name out there, and make connections. Network. After all, isn’t college all about having a good time and making friends? Oh, and of course Academic excellence…

To the upperclassmen – we all remember Wolfpack Welcome Week and making 100’s of new friends every day (we also remember the class of 20- - group on Facebook). We remember getting friend requests left and right from people you had one conversation with- and probably never talked to again. We remember the crap ton of free red t-shirts we got from Rec-Fest, and the enormous amount of free food we got. We remember grabbing a random group of people from your dorm to go walk campus to find your classes. We remember those late night parties, the late night Gumby’s runs, the late night Cookout drives, and of course… the infamous early morning 8 AM’s. We all remember waking up not knowing what had happened the night before (because of overindulging in Marco’s pizza, of course) and who can forget the crazy rave and riot of 2010 on the Brickyard? We remember those nights on Hillsborough Street acting like fools, and those late night campus walks. We remember those talks with your bros, and girlfriends and we remember those conversations we had with our significant others on the swings outside of the dorms. We remember the first time we ate at Mitch’s, Jasmines or I love NY Pizza. We remember our 21st… maybe. We remember our first time we tripped on a brick, and the first time you committed the Alma Mater to memory. We remember when we whooped UNC 5 years straight in football, and when we beat Duke and Carolina this past basketball season.

But here’s one thing you won’t remember- what you made on your second test in that one class you took sophomore year. Exactly. Quit stressing. A word to the wise to the incoming freshman and current students- you’re worth more than a grade. Your value isn’t found in a GPA. Your value is found in what you stand for- your morals, your faith and your passion. Yes, college is a time where you should buckle down and work hard for your education; but, in the long scheme of things, you’re not going to remember what the Krebs Cycle was verbatim, or how to integrate to the nth degree. You’re going to remember the memories you made with your best friends. You’re going to remember tailgating at the Carter, screaming your head off at the PNC, and you’re going to remember cheering on the Pack at the Doak. You’re going to remember those days you had no voice screaming “move the chain, move the chain, move, move, move!” You’re going to remember those farmer’s tans from standing in the student section during football. You’re going to remember those long cold lines outside the PNC before basketball. What you’re not going to remember was that bad exam grade.

Have fun, study hard, keep the faith and pursue on. Life has it’s own set of struggles, but don’t let that hinder your journey. Live a life of spontaneity. Do something crazy. Get out of your comfort zone. Make memories and go hard. At the end of your four years here at NC State, you want to say, “I can’t believe I actually did that…” not, “I should’ve done more…”

Make the most of your four years in Raleigh, and hopefully by the end of your run here you can proudly sing the words of the Old Crow Medicine Show, “…and if I die in Raleigh, at least I will die free.” Side note- if you haven’t heard that song before, you sure has heck will have it engrained in your mind by the end of your undergraduate career.

So here’s to you - graduating class of 2013. Here’s to the good times, the bad times, and all the times we don’t remember. Stay strong, keep moving and never forget the place ‘where the winds of Dixie softly blow…’ – the place where you learned who you truly were, to the place you learned to proudly bend your middle and ring finger down to your thumb.

To the incoming freshman, and the rest of the student body —  Jimmy V said it right “Never give up. Don’t ever give up.” 

With Wolfpack pride, 


Ken Farnaso
Class of 2013

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