Family, or Families?

A great philosopher from a faraway land once said, “Ohana means family. Family means no one gets left behind, or forgotten.” 

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Basically Socrates.

I think that philosopher was pretty far off the mark, or at the very least, never saw the Home Alone movies. Going much deeper into this issue than the writers of Lilo and Stitch really intended, I think that trying to define a concept like family is pretty silly. It’s one of those things that defies easy explanation, like true love, or why Adam Sandler keeps getting paid to make movies.

Calling Furman one big family is not really accurate. Calling it a very large family reunion is probably more to the point – there’s a bunch of people I’m supposed to know but don’t, there’s a lot of people who make me wonder how they even got here, and who I pray I’m not that closely connected to.

And sometimes, there’s even pretty good food.

…and now that I think about it, most of the poli sci professors probably fit the bill of the crazy in-laws who won’t stop talking politics. Then you could have fun with the whole humanities/sciences sides of the family….ideas to explore in the next blog.

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And like every family, there’s the occasional fight.

Regardless, statements like that – we’re all one great big family – are the sort of thing everyone wants to hear on an admissions tour, but it’s also the sort of thing that is total filler. It means nothing, because it’s impossible. Even at a school with 2,700 people, there’s going to be people you don’t know. There are lots of familiar faces, for sure – but in my book, there’s still a big jump from familiar face to Family with a capital f.

I think a more accurate, and more meaningful statement, is that Furman is one big network of families.

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live footage of me getting wiped off the Spanish department family tree once my professor finishes grading my most recent essay.

Everyone comes to college trying to find their niche, and just like a nihilist lookalike contest, Furman is full of niches. For me, I found one of my families in improv, a group of people who were as willing to be weird and silly and ridiculous as I was. I found one in the Echo, with a bunch of fellow hipsters who liked poring over poems and short stories in their free time and getting the opportunity to brood with a group. Others find it in athletics, or Greek life, or any given a cappella group we have on campus.

The point being, as Parents Weekend approaches, I’m busy preparing for our Parent’s Weekend improv show, and my bit in the talent show. I’m also busy trying to figure out where I could get mom and dad to buy me dinner at some point. But amidst all the preparing and working, I’m also reflecting on the families I’ve made here. Apartment-mates, cast members, friends, classmates, people I met through midnight adventures or pure serendipity. The idea that everyone at Furman is a happy-go-lucky, Brady Bunch style family is ridiculous, because nowhere is like that.

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slightly more accurate representation. The Megans of Furman know who they are.

But it is a place you will find your family, or even your families, which is what’s more important at the end of the day. You don’t need a first name basis with three thousand people. You need a handful of people who know your preferred Waffle House order and who pick up the phone when you call asking for help. That’s what I found here.

Included are a few pictures of some of the families I’ve made at Furman. I think there are still a few more for me to find before May rolls around – but if not, I think these aren’t too bad.

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In order: my freshman year roommate and I, very cold and waiting for dinner in New York City. You may recall my previous story about making us miss our reservation.

Next, Improv my freshman year and then sophomore year. We are nothing if not Furman’s most photogenic organization.

And finally, a cartoon character themed party my roommates and I attended last year. If I may be so bold, my Dora the Explorer ensemble was turning heads the entire time.

#FurmanBound #BenThereDinThat

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