The Furman Advantage: Finding Your Community

The Furman Advantage proudly boasts its determination to build a thriving community on campus. It strives to cultivate a familial atmosphere, which I think is what sets Furman apart from other schools. It’s this sense of real community that drew me here in the first place and why I can’t picture myself anywhere else.

My senior year of high school, I knew I wanted (1) a small school, with (2) a liberal arts curriculum and (3) a good theatre program, set in (4) an exciting city. I had narrowed it down to a couple of schools, and even though I told everyone “I’m keeping my options open,” I knew Furman just kept creeping back up to the top of my list. But other schools were offering me scholarships and had good programs and so on and so on. I was definitely feeling the stress.

What really sealed my love for this school was the day I auditioned for the Theatre Arts scholarship. I had just done an audition at another school, and I was really nervous. That audition had been very nerve-wracking; I never got to chat with professors or with students, and the whole experience felt very isolated to me. Arriving at Furman that morning, I was terrified that I would have the same experience.

Boy, was I wrong.

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My audition day, November 2015

The majors and professors were all so unbelievably welcoming. We spent all day with them, learning about Furman life from the perspective of the people who know it best. I got to have conversations with them about their lives and their art, and they asked me about mine. They told me about study away programs and classes and how nervous they were at their own audition days. When I finally went in to audition, I felt so much more relaxed. I hadn’t even gotten an acceptance letter yet and I already felt like I was a part the community.

By the end of the day, I got into my mom’s car and looked at her and said, “This is where I want to be. I feel like I belong here.”

To me, the Furman Advantage is about making your peers your family. A top notch education is good, but we need genuine human connections in order to thrive. I made connections before I even got accepted, and those connections were what drove me here. Without a sense of community, we’re just a bunch of stressed twenty-somethings who spend four years together for nothing. By finding people who know and accept the real you, you can open so many doors to jobs and opportunities and life-long friendships.

“The Furman Advantage” isn’t just some slogan for a t-shirt or a cute hashtag, it’s what makes this place a home instead of just a school. All students, current or prospective, deserve to find professors that know when your birthday is, make sure you’re eating enough, and care about your hopes and fears. We all deserve friends who will help us through our life problems over a cup of coffee, or will study late with us so we don’t have to walk all the way home alone. This campus is beautiful and contains some of the brightest minds I’ve ever met, but what really makes Furman different is the community you’ll find here.

Remember to follow my adventures, #CamOnCampus!

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