In August of 2020, I was packing my suitcase for college. Leaving behind a community complete with my family, friends, and high school, I prepared to start anew. To put it simply, I was absolutely terrified. Don’t get me wrong, I was SO excited to attend Furman, meet new people, and start my undergraduate education. But I felt first-day jitters like I had never felt before. Once my parents moved me into my dorm, I had to take a few deep breaths. I thought, “Ok Logan, you’re really doing this.” It took a few moments for it to set in, but I realized I was in a new place–be that, a single dorm–with a bunch of strangers! So, I asked myself a key question: how could I make the Furman community feel like my community? What was my answer, you ask? Well, I decided that I would take a leap, try my luck, and get involved. This leap is what I want to talk about today! I’ll tell you all a little about how I got involved with the Furman community, some of the experiences I’ve had with organizations and clubs thus far, and some tips on how you can get involved too! After reading, I hope you all feel a little less terrified–and a little more eager–to get involved in your future college community!
(STEP 1) Find clubs you’d be interested in
Once I began trying to get involved, I realized that Furman actually makes it pretty easy! For one thing, there is an online database called “SyncDIN” open to all FU students. This database has information on every club and organization on Furman’s campus. SyncDIN is a great starting point, but there’s another real-life person there to help you with getting involved! This is your Freshman Advisor (your FRAD as we like to call them), and this individual lives on your hall! They’re there to advise you on anything a freshman might need help with, such as navigating academics, getting around campus, making friends, and getting involved! My freshman advisor’s name was Katherine, and she was wonderful. After grabbing lunch with her on move-in day, I already knew about a few clubs on campus! Throughout the rest of the semester, she sent out weekly emails detailing new opportunities on the horizon, would hang fliers for clubs in the hallways, and was always willing to text or meet to talk about any organization you’d be interested in! I don’t know what I would have done without Katherine in my corner, and Furman makes sure that every student has a FRAD at their fingertips! Many freshmen also learn about different organizations after meeting upperclassmen. Because we’re 100% residential, it’s easy to get advice from those who have gone through the same things (I guess that’s what I’m doing now)! So, you can learn about different clubs at Furman through SyncDin, by talking to your FRAD, and by getting to know upperclassmen. And, of course, there are activities fairs held every Fall and Spring semester; going to these is a great way to get connected and get more information about clubs! Resources such as this are unique to Furman and tailored to your needs. So, make sure to utilize them!
(STEP 2) Join, join, join!
At Furman, there are over 155 different clubs! These organizations are focused on anything and everything from diversity and inclusion, community service, Greek life, leadership, sports, spirituality, religion, and more! You can join most of these by clicking a simple JOIN button on SyncDin; then, you’ll be added to the club’s email list and can attend their meetings and events. Other clubs require an application and/or interview to join. If you’re interested in a particular organization, make sure to keep tabs on it–maybe follow its Instagram page–to see when the next application period is! Many clubs look for new members each year, and you can apply for most organizations no matter what class you’re in.
(STEP 3) Try again!
When I mentioned the applications and interviews, you might have gotten a little freaked out. This seems a little scary, right? I’ll admit, I was nervous to apply and interview too. I feared that I’d be turned down. And you know what? I did get turned down a few times. I distinctly remember calling my mom one night; I had gotten turned down by a club I really wanted to join. I thought that I was lacking in some way, and I wanted to give up on this whole “getting involved” idea. But then I realized that I had met numerous people throughout the interview process, and I had set my mind to something I was passionate about. It was ok that I didn’t make it into this club because there would be more opportunities around the corner. Not every club is meant for everyone, and this doesn’t mean that you are lacking anything; you will find your place, and you will find new opportunities if you keep trying. The point is: don’t give up!
(STEP 4) Be proud of yourself
If you don’t give up, you’ll find some clubs and organizations to belong to. You’ll find opportunities that will help you reach your goals, meet new people, and make the Furman community your home. After I failed a few times, I was terrified to apply to any new organizations. But, I gave it my all anyways. And I’m so glad I did, otherwise, I wouldn’t have found the people in the following pictures. So, overall, be proud of yourself no matter what. You are worth it, and you will find a way to make the Furman community YOUR community!
My Furman Family
At Furman, I found many groups of people to make up my Furman Family. I’m involved with Admissions, Student Alumni Council, Greek Life, Heller Service Corps, Alpha Phi Omega, and the Psychology club! And I’m always looking to expand my involvement and add to my family. I’ll mention a few of the organizations that mean the most to me below!
This summer, I interned with Furman’s Office of Admissions. When I received word that I got this opportunity, I was ecstatic. I now realize that I had every reason to be as excited as I was. Through this experience, I gained numerous friends and mentors, grew as an individual, and truly felt part of something bigger than myself. I get to spend each week connecting with prospective students as an Admissions Ambassador and Social Media Intern. And, I get to see the wonderful people in Furman Admissions all the time. I cannot express everyone in Admissions, and each of you reading this, means to me!
I am also involved with the Student Alumni Council at Furman, and I’m the director of the Homecoming Court this year! SAC plans the themed activities for homecoming, the float-making, and the voting for the Homecoming representatives. This year, I get to act as a liaison between the Court and the Council, and I couldn’t be more thrilled. There are twelve amazing people on the court and an entire group of amazing individuals on the council!
Of course, I have to mention Greek Life because it’s brought so many amazing women into my life. Here’s a picture of my Big; this is an amazing woman that I look up to, and I know she always has my back. I also have an entire sisterhood beside me at all times, and I couldn’t be more grateful!
Another organization that has greatly impacted my Furman experience is the Cothran Center for Vocational Reflection. The Cothran center works to help students find their true purpose and calling in life, provides spaces and experiences that encourage intergroup dialogue, and works to encourage each and every individual to lead their most meaningful life! This past year, I was part of the FOCUS’21 program, and we learned tactics for conflict resolution. I have truly enjoyed my experiences with the Cothran Center, and I can’t wait for what’s to come!
Overall, I would encourage any prospective student to believe in themselves and get involved at Furman–just do it! You might realize that you’ve met many wonderful people, learned about yourself, and gained a little confidence along the way.
Steps to getting involved:
- Find Clubs you’d be interested in.
- Take the leap – Join!
- Try again!
- Be proud of yourself
Until next time,