Freshman year is officially finished- I have taken my final exams and turned in my room key to my dorm.  Looking back, the year flew by, and I honestly would not change a thing.  I learned so much, inside and outside of the classroom.  I made so many great friends who always kept me laughing.  However, this time last year, I was incredibly nervous about many aspects of college- who would my roommate be?  Would we get along?  Where on campus would I live?  Who would my friends be?  Would my classes be difficult?  What student organizations would I be involved with on campus?  And so, I have compiled the “Top 10 Things I Wish I Knew” in hopes that this eases your nerves as you prepare to be a Furman Paladin in the fall.

1.  Do random rooming- and don’t worry about it.

My unknown roommate was my number one concern last summer.  My roommate, Lacey, is one my best friends now.  Furman Housing does a great job of placing you with a roommate who has similar habits as you (bed time, cleanliness, temperature of the room, etc).  Even if you do not end up best friends with your roommate, you will coexist well because of your similar habits.  And worst case scenario, if you do not get along with your roommate, Furman Housing will try to assist.

My roommate and I got along so well, that we will be living together next year on the ADPi hall!

2. You will grow to love your dorm.

I still remember in July, I found out that I would be living in Blackwell.  I was not happy that I would be living in bunk-beds for a whole year while the residents of Geer, Poteat, and McGlothin (my first choices of housing) would have their spacious rooms.  However, I grew to love Blackwell.  I loved the built-in furniture, large desk, bookshelves, and even my bottom bunk-bed.  Blackwell rooms may be small, but they are an incredibly efficient use of space.  What I loved the most about Blackwell, were my friends in Blackwell.   So my advice, regardless of what dorm you live in you, get to know the people around you because the people matter far more than square footage or bunk-beds.

Also, if you do live in Blackwell, the perfect carpet size to cover the tile floor is 7′ x 12′.

3. Community-style bathrooms

I love community-style bathrooms.  First, you do not have to clean them (you have to clean suite-style bathrooms and buy the toilet paper for them).  Furman pays a cleaning person to clean your community bathroom five-days a week.  Ms. Linda cleaned our Blackwell bathrooms, and she was always so nice and did a great job cleaning the bathroom.   Second, with four sinks, four toilets, and four showers, I never had to wait for a sink, toilet, or shower.   Third, community-style bathrooms are a social spot.

4. GET INVOLVED!

Furman has 125 student organizations, so there has to be at least one that interests you.   I have enjoyed getting involved with the Heller Service Corp, our volunteer organization on campus, Greek Life through Alpha Delta Pi, and religious life through RUF (Reformed University Fellowship). Student organizations are a great way to meet people and form friendships with students who have similar interests.

5. Don’t be scared to speak to upperclassmen and form friendships with them.

I cannot reiterate this enough.  Upperclassmen are just like you because you are all Furman students, so do not let them intimidate you.  The vast majority of upperclassmen, especially those with similar interests as you, want to get to know you, as well.  Upperclassmen have great wisdom and advice when it comes to picking classes and professors, where to sit in the DH, getting involved with organizations, and restaurant recommendations.  Some of my favorite Furman friendships are with upperclassmen, even with seniors who just graduated.

6. Informal Recruitment for Greek Life

If you have any interest in going through Formal Sorority Recruitment in January, you should definitely go to Informal Sorority Recruitment events in the fall.  These events are a fun, easy way to get to know sorority women.  You can read more about my informal recruitment events in a previous blog.  I encourage you to go to as many informal recruitment events as possible because it shows the sorority that you are interested in them, and it it allows you to get to know them better.  I also encourage you to keep an open-mind throughout the the recruitment process and attend informal recruitment events of various sororities because it will help you to make a more-informed decision in Formal Recruitment.

7. Professors- go to office hours

Whether or not small class size was a factor in your Furman decision, small class size was definitely a factor in your professors’ decision to teach at Furman.  They chose Furman because they wanted a small class where they could interact with the students on an individual basis.  Every professor is required to have office hours- a set aside time each week when they are in their office and available to meet you with to discuss what is going on in class.  Professors expect for you to reach out to them, and I highly recommend that you do go to office hours.  First, it shows your professors that you are serious student.  If you have an upcoming test, go ask your professor about topics that you do not fully understand.   At the end of the semester, if you are on the bubble between two grades, your professor probably will round your grade up because they know that you are a serious student.  Second, your professors are useful guides.  For example, I went to go discuss a paper with my writing seminar professor this semester, and by the end of our conversation, he had convinced me to double major in Accounting and Communication Studies (his department).  He saw writing potential in me that I did not see in myself, and provided guidance for what Communication classes I should take next semester.

8. Go to CLPs

Every Furman student is required to have 32 CLP (Culture Life Program) credits by the time they graduate.  You can read more about CLPS in a previous blog here.   As a freshman, you have the time to go to CLPs, and I highly recommend that you go more than 8 CLPs during the year.  First, CLPs affect how you are entered in the course selection lottery.  So, if you are on track  with 8 CLPs or more per year, you are more likely to get the classes that you want.  Second, CLPs are generally interesting.  I have thoroughly enjoyed some CLPs this year with topics that ranged from homelessness to being smart on social media as a college student.  That being said, I have also endured some boring CLPs, so do your best to pick CLPs that interest you.

9. Be mentally prepared for 6 weeks of awkwardness.

I have absolutely loved my freshman year at Furman.  However, my first six weeks at Furman were an adjustment. It takes time to transition and to be comfortable in a new environment and new routine.  Friendships take time to form.  So if you feel awkward or homesick in the beginning, it is normal.  You are not alone.  Know that in time, approximately six weeks from my experience, Furman starts to feel like home.

10. Your college friends become your family away from home.

College friends are always there, one short walk away, so invest in friendships.  Go on that late night Cook-Out run.  Take time to talk about your families, friends, and lives back home, even when you should be studying.  Go on walks around the lake, if the weather is nice.  Get to know people who are different from you, with different interests, from different parts of the country, or from a different country.  Do not judge people.  You may not know who your friends will be yet, but I assure you that your friends will make you laugh so hard that abs hurt, and will hug you as you cry about a bad day.  College friends are more than just friends, they are your support system.

 

If you have not read my previous blogs, I encourage to do so.  I cover various topics, from winter-time fun to the time when FUPO jumped my car.

Also, if you see me on campus next year, please stop me and tell me that you read my blog.  Seriously, do not be shy about it.  I would enjoy getting to know you and hearing about your Furman experience.

If you questions, please email me at laura.woodside@furman.edu

Thank you for coming on this freshman journey with me,

Laura

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