Unlike a lot of Freshman students, I did not live in the South Housing compartments. I actually signed up for one of the four/five First Year Writing, or FYW, Seminar writing class. There are four or five options available depending on the popularity of the programs. Students who end up in the specific class FYW class for engaged living end up in the suite style dorms in Lakeside.
I applied for the Engaged Living FYW class called Healthcare Today. My living arrangement was a bit different from majority of the Freshman’s because the place where I lived we were all girls residing in one hall from the same seminar classes. Because of our interest in Health, majority of us were in the same classes. It was absolutely an amazing experience for me because I was able to have a close knit circle, and our Residential Assistant (RA) and First Year Residential Advisor (FRAD) were also able to give us time and become our friends.
Late at nights, we would be able to get help whenever we needed with our academics and adjustment to college life. A lot of things change during the transition of living with family to living with new people. It is really an adjustment that our RAs and FRADs are trained to help you pass through a tender moment of life. Because of the small community, I found in Townes 400 allowed me to have deep relations with each of the students individually. The twelve or fourteen girls in the group were able to get individual attention from the RAs and FRADs when needed.
In relation to the FYW seminar class, we were able to meet new students from different engaged living halls and create great friends. In the class, we discussed physical and mental health problems that are addressed today and were dated back in the day. My Healthcare Today class was focused on Psychic Disorder, and we were able to read books and diagnose each character based on our victorian era physicians data and knowledge. The book was obviously not updated and made several comments that took us a bit back and made us compare to the books we were reading alongside. The readings created enriching discussions in class, writing techniques as well as debates to defend our position. One of the main things about this past projected physicians note reading allowed my class to talk about how physicians-patient interaction is during present day and how it is outside of the United States. Majority of the students in our Engaged Living came from diverse backgrounds, i.e, outside of the state or the country, which made the conversations even more interesting.
My Engaged Living FYW was absolutely my favorite class in Furman. My professor Dr. Braun was such an influential and affectionate human being. She definitely was there for us when we needed to talk and she would stay after the daily 9-5 job timing for everyone to reach out to her if they needed help. She would also bring her dog, Audrey, over and it was really comforting for many of the students to have her around. Dr. Braun helped us ease into the expectations of what Furman exemplifies.
A lot of my friends were also part of different Engaged Livings. Even if people were interested in something else, they still were able to take different Engaged living FYW classes. The options were Poverty Studies, Finding Life’s Purpose, Politics of Today as well as Environmental community (or Ecological Systems). So as a student, you will be able to learn new things and build a community with your classes.
As I am finishing off, just note that you do not have to get into the Engaged Living FYW Seminar classes for a really close knit community with people just like you. You will be able to find that anywhere. I know a lot of my friends who were living in South Housing had amazing FYW classes, however, they did not live in the same hall. With that said, it is always fun to go from one building to another and staying close to the classes. You will still make friends outside of the Engaged Living program with other Freshman students living elsewhere. Your hall becomes your home and will support you throughout your first year journey.
Do not forget!! Everyone is new to this experience and adjusting. They are all as nervous as you are and genuinely want the best for each other.