By Logan Coffee
A few days ago, I began to pack up my freshman dorm room. As I continue to pack boxes and take down picture frames, I find myself pausing often to reflect back on my freshman year at Furman. It seems like just yesterday I was a terrified newbie wondering what I was thinking as I sat in my dorm, looked around, and realized I was doing this whole college thing. More than that, I had decided to attend college in the middle of a global pandemic, and this meant that becoming acclimated to college life, making friends, and joining clubs would likely be more difficult. Looking back now, I realize one of my main fears coming in wasn’t facing challenging academics, learning my way around, or navigating the pandemic, but rather a fear of being alone. Don’t get me wrong, I did face all of the aforementioned challenges, but each is definitely easier when you have great friends and family by your side.
At home, I have my parents, two brothers, and three pets; I wasn’t used to being alone much on any given day. I also had three amazing best friends in my hometown, but they had all decided to attend another college together. So–as many students do–I left my support system, best friends, and lifelong companions miles away. I had also chosen to attend Furman later than most people and so did not know anyone coming in. On top of that, I had been assigned to a single dorm! I have no shame in saying that I broke down once my parents left and I was alone in this foreign space; it was hard. Speaking honestly, and considering all that I’ve mentioned, I thought to myself “I’m not going to have any friends.” I’m sure many incoming students are struggling with the same fears, sadness, and challenges that I was. But, I’m here to say–as cheesy as it sounds–that it does get better and there are plenty of opportunities for friendships here at Furman. So, here’s a simple, tried, and tested guide to putting yourself out there.
(Step 1) Reach out to people. Yes, this sounds obvious, but it’s definitely worth mentioning. I am an introvert through-and-through, but I love surrounding myself with amazing people and enjoy going out on adventures; that being said, I don’t usually find it easy to reach out to new people because I am quick to revert back to my shell. Coming into college, I truly had to push myself to reach out to people–no matter how scared I was. That first night, we had our first Orientation meeting, and I met at least three people in my hall just on the way to the meeting! Don’t be afraid to go up to someone and ask them their name, start a conversation, and connect with them through social media or text messaging. This effort was made even easier because freshmen live in communal halls; so, I would meet people walking in the hall, in the bathroom, whilst doing laundry, or outside in the quad. Going up to new people is usually easier said than done, but I quickly came to realize that everyone else was having just as much difficulty as I was. In many ways, your fellow freshmen will appreciate you making the first move and showing interest in them; you are all in the same boat, and you all are looking for connection!
(Step 2) Get involved on campus! Another surefire way to meet many different kinds of people and make friendships is to join different clubs/organizations at Furman! All of the different opportunities and options here can be overwhelming, but the best advice I can give is to just take the first step; talk to your Freshman Advisor, check SyncDin, and get started. You can join a club at the click of a button on SyncDin, and there really are so many options! There are also usually involvement fairs in the Fall and Spring where different clubs will set up tables outside of Trone and students can learn more about them! I know my FRAD was instrumental in helping me get involved, as well! In addition to all of these different clubs, Greek life is also a wonderful way to get involved. Recruitment for both sororities and fraternities is in the Spring, but many upperclassmen in Greek Life spend their Fall semester getting to know freshman and making connections; I met many amazing upperclassmen women during my first semester here, and I’m still great friends with them now. Greek events are always happening during the fall; if this is your thing, don’t be afraid to attend! Overall, getting involved with different organizations and attending different student life events is a great way to find others with like minded interests, get to know upperclassmen, and make long-lasting friendships your Freshman year!
(Step 3) Show yourself some love. This is the most difficult step by far, but definitely the most important! Making friends–especially best friends–isn’t easy when adjusting to college life. The ones you meet the first week might be your friends for the rest of your college experience, or they might not. Either way, keep an open mind. It takes time to form friendships, and everyone likely feels the same way that you do; we all want to feel comfortable and loved. You are all starting out new, and almost every freshman is leaving their home, friends, and family to join the Furman family. So, friendship is highly sought after and ready for the taking. Overall, don’t forget that you’re a wonderful person worth getting to know; be a friend to yourself as well as others. Give yourself some credit, and give others some credit too! You’ve got this!
A Guide to Freshman Friendship
(Step 1) Reach out to people!
(Step 2) Get involved on campus!
(Step 3) Show yourself some love!