By: Stephanie Trame
Furman is known to be academically rigorous and can be challenging for many people. I thought my high school was challenging but when I arrived at Furman, I realized so many people attended private schools and took many AP classes. I’m originally from central Illinois and I went to a smaller public high school that didn’t have many AP classes. However, my small high school is part of the reason I chose a small liberal arts school for college, specifically Furman. I was extremely excited to come to South Carolina and begin a new journey, but I was also extremely nervous. I had never been away from my family for more than a couple weeks at a time and there I was getting ready to move states for months at a time. The first semester was definitely harder than I thought it would be, but over the year, I’ve established many tips that I hope will make your transition so much easier.
First, do not be afraid to put yourself out there. I was over nine hours away from my family and I knew nobody at Furman. I was extremely nervous about making friends and fitting in. However, it turned out to be so much easier than I originally thought. Most people that come to Furman are from out of state as well and also do not know many people. Basically, everyone is trying to make friends at the same time. The first week of classes I met so many people simply because I started introducing myself to them and asking if they wanted to get dinner. Everyone will most likely say yes if you ask! I also highly recommend getting involved in clubs and activities right away. Definitely go to the activities/involvement fairs to start getting involved in clubs and other organizations on campus. I joined the club volleyball team and met some of my best friends there. A lot of friends, especially from the upperclassmen years, will come from the clubs and activities you join.
Furman can also be challenging academically so it is important to know the resources available for all students. When classes started, I wasn’t doing as well as I wanted to and knew I needed help to improve my grades. I needed to figure out what study techniques worked best for me. One thing I recommend is emailing your professors. They are the first people you should ask for help because they will schedule times for you to meet with them and help you figure out what else you could be doing for their class. They also have office hours that are extremely helpful for extra practice and help. The professors at Furman are always willing to work with their students because they genuinely care about them succeeding.
Furman also has a writing and media lab and a peer assisted learning that I recommend utilizing. The writing lab will help you with any part of the writing process and unquestionably improve your writing. Personally, I used it for all of the papers I had no matter the subject. The peer assisted learning is peer tutoring that is helpful if you want help from another student who succeeded in the class and/or someone the professor recommended. They helped me so much in many of my classes, especially my Spanish and Sociology classes.
Freshman year can be full of many challenges, especially if you go out of state, but there are many resources available to all students. Putting yourself out there is a great way to start because friends are a great support system and can help you de-stress. In addition, there are many academic resources – including professors, advisors, the writing and media lab, and peer assisted tutoring – that can improve your grades and help you figure out the study techniques that work best for you. Transitioning from high school to college can be difficult but it doesn’t have to be if you utilize the resources provided to you.