The first day of class (FDOC) is always exciting – kindergarten, high school, you name it. It’s the prospect of change, with new teachers and ideas, that always kept me up the night before. There is no bigger change that I have experienced than moving away to college. I’m an out-of-state student, walking into a new place, with few familiar faces to ground myself. What am I supposed to do?
Relax, is what I would tell myself now. I’d reassure myself that the dorm room you’re just getting accustomed to will soon become your safe haven, the walk to the dining hall will soon become a daily routine of seeing friends and petting dogs, and the unfamiliar faces in your classes will soon become your greatest friends.
To alleviate some of that stress of the first day, walk your schedule on the day before! The Orientation Staff does a fantastic job of preparing you for life at Furman, but it always helps to make sure you can find your classes by yourself. My FDOC was a gloomy, rainy mess. I’ll never forget the excitement of lacing up my brand new converse only to step into a mud puddle as I walked to my 8:30am class. I still have the shoes, stains and all, and laugh whenever someone asks how they got so dirty.
Speaking of classes, do not be afraid to introduce yourself to your professor and classmates. Getting into a good relationship with your professor can only help you. The professors at Furman truly want the best for you inside and outside the classroom.
Honestly, I was probably most worried about making friends. It can be gut-wrenching to feel like everyone else has a person to eat with on the first day, but remember one thing: you are not the only one who feels like this. With few exceptions, all of your fellow freshmen won’t know many people and are desperately trying to find friends and a place on campus. Use this time to meet new friends. I spent hours in the dining hall my first couple of weeks just chatting and trying to meet people. It’s a draining time and you will have more names to remember than ever, but the excitement is so unique. Try to make a connection with just one person everyday. A professor, student, or even Grandma (trust me, you will meet Grandma) in the dining hall. The people are the reason I love Furman, and I can’t wait for you to have the same experience as me.
FDOC and change is intimidating: I won’t lie. It’s uncomfortable being in a new place, having to craft a new identity for yourself after years of school with the same friends. Furman, I truly believe, offers you a blank canvas to build something better than before. FDOC is the first time you get to look at everything Furman can offer you. When that alarm rings to wake you for your first college class, get excited. You only get one chance to have your first day.
By Mark Calvin, Class of 2023