In August of 2020, all any college freshman was worried about was making friends in college.
If you were like me, you were luckily on campus, but you were still completely online for classes, clubs, and all other social events. Fraternity parties, football games, and formals were all postponed to a post-COVID-19 ambiguous date and time which left the advent of making friends become a whole new ball game.
In the beginning, I resorted to “sliding into the DMs” of girls I saw on the Wake Forest 2024 Instagram page and deemed “cool.”.
While this worked for some of my immediately close friends, I was still lacking an outlet from which I could connect with other girls in my grade.
Then on October 20th, 2020, I received a text from Emily Cooper – one of the founding editors of The Fit – asking if I would like to start a Wake Forest chapter for The Fit Magazine.
I had written for the magazine once or twice before, and knew and loved what it stood for – a safe space for women in college to write and read about college-oriented problems – and immediately jumped at the chance.
Getting a Wake chapter up and running took a little bit of effort.
I had to reach out to girls online who I barely knew asking them if they would like to work for this small digital magazine I was trying to gain a following for.
I asked people like Lindsey Gilfeather – my freshman year next-door neighbor – to assume roles like editor, which she gratefully did.
Essentially, I was trying to make an organization of women through a journalistic lens appear and function properly in the midst of a pandemic. I knew that with the few friends I had who joined by proxy and just being great friends, I could get it going.
What I did not know is that The Fit Magazine here at Wake would open the door for me to make the friends I was lacking first semester freshman year.
It started out small, with less than 10 girls on a weekly zoom call telling me what they wanted to write about and receiving criticism from my make-shift editing team.
Eventually, those small meetings became places where I could learn about other girls’ interests and passions. Through their articles, and their conversations we were becoming friends, and eventually really close friends.
I started getting lunch with girls in The Fit or running errands together.
As the academic year changed into the spring semester, Wake started to have more in-person activities; bars, frats, formals, sororities and all other normal college social gatherings began again.
I started to see these girls I only knew through two-inch boxes on our weekly Zoom meetings in person – started sharing real conversations and sitting next to them in class. The Fit created a social network for myself and others and translated from a completely digital space to the real world.
I’ll never forget moments like when I met Ella Welch, one of our other Fit editors.
We were at a fraternity party on a classic Wake Wednesday and I desperately needed to pee. The line for the single-stall bathroom was at least 30 girls long and it looked like my only options were peeing outside in the bushes in 20-degree weather or pissing my pants.
At the front of the line, I saw the platinum blonde-headed girl I now consider a close friend yell down the hall, “Laura, come here,”(Was cutting a 30 girl line to the bathroom very girls supporting girls of me? Maybe not. But it does make for a good story). She whisked me into the bathroom, and we immediately got to talking like we had known each other for years. Eventually, I realized I only knew Ella through Zoom, Slack and The Fit.
I have a million other stories of meeting Fit girls in class or out, all of which warm my heart.
The Fit Magazine created a community I am forever thankful for.
Fast forward a year and now we have a team of nearly 40 girls writing, editing and graphic designing for our chapter.
Whether it’s walking to class, in a frat bathroom, or even the supermarket, inevitably I see someone connected to The Fit.
We get to exchange the classic “FIT QUEEN” colloquialisms all women who write for The Fit Magazine at Wake share.
I see girls who met through The Fit getting coffee at our campus Starbucks.
Nothing brings me more joy than knowing The Fit has created an outlet for women on this campus to interact and discuss in a nonacademic and meaningful way.
I love this magazine and the community it has made for us.