Why Furman’s FYWs are INCREDIBLE

I’ll never forget opening my class schedule the summer before my freshman year. I was an intended vocal performance major, so, I was expecting to open the email sent to me by the registrar and see solely music classes. Simultaneously nervous and excited, I was shocked and almost scared to see the class name “Medicine & Morality” glaring on my iPhone screen.

Panicked, I reached out to my summer advisor and asked if somewhere along the line a mistake had been made. She informed me over the phone that this class was not a mistake, and was rather my First Year Writing seminar- or, as we call it at Furman, my FYW. Calmed down, I took a step back and told myself it would all be okay- I would just have to work extra hard and I was up for the challenge.

Full disclosure, I am HORRIBLE at science. Chemistry, physics, biology? I shouldn’t be near any of it. When I read the phrase “medicine” in the class title, I immediately assumed Furman thought I was planning on a one way ticket straight to medical school. I wish I could hug panicked, freshman Alex and tell her to take a deep breath because her FYW was going to be one of her favorite classes she’d take at Furman and she would grow so, so much as both a writer and a human.  

As a testament to the liberal arts experience Furman so proudly advertises, each freshman will be enrolled in a FYW in the fall or spring semester of their freshman year. This allows students to dip their toes into the different departments on campus and foster relationships with different classmates and professors they may not come around in their personalized academic journey. 

When committing to Furman you will select three different categories of FYW classes you may be interested in taking: you can check out those categories here (https://www.furman.edu/writing-program/first-year-writing-seminars/seminar-topics/) When you submit your topic preferences, you will be placed in a class that is similar to one of those categories! 

Although I was terrified of my FYW, the professor of my class has turned into one of the most meaningful relationships I’ve had throughout my time at Furman. Dr. Carmela Epright in the philosophy department is one of the most kind, intentional, smart, and passionate professors I have ever come across. She carried me through one of the hardest times of my life and I don’t know what I would’ve done without her support. More often than not she would invite me in her office and tell me to just rant about whatever was on my mind. She would listen, offer advice and comfort, and my day would instantly be better. 

In addition to the times Dr. Epright was there for me outside of the classroom, she helped me excel in the classroom just as much. Dr. Epright made me feel comfortable yet challenged. I knew I could be wrong in her class and she would never make me feel silly or dumb. I knew that she would challenge me to write the best papers I could– even if I did get a bad grade on the first one. I knew she would encourage me out of my comfort zone to engage in classroom debates and conversations. I knew she would support me in all facets of life, and that was more than I could’ve asked for as a first semester freshman. I am so thankful for her and I cannot express how much her class meant to me.

I hope that you too will feel supported and appreciated by your professors wherever you decide to spend your next four years. Although I certainly cannot speak for everywhere, I can confidently assure you that if you attend Furman you will make these connections with different faculty and staff members across campus.

If you have any questions or concerns about Furman please reach out to me! My insta is @alexandra_rick ! And as always, Roll Dins!

Have a happy week!

Alex

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