Finding YOU at FU!

Hi Friends and Future Paladins!

This past week, we focused on Resources on Furman’s campus. These resources, such as the Furman University Police Department and the Health Center, are here to fulfill students’ physical and safety needs. Another resource–that I hold very dear to my heart–is the Cothran Center for Vocational Reflection. This resource  is here to help students with their vocation and future career path!

Vo·ca·tion /vōˈkāSH(ə)n/ a strong feeling of suitability for a particular career or occupation. Or, in other words, what one feels they’re called to do in life!

What is the Cothran Center?

As you grow up, it can be difficult to decide what you want to do and who you want to be. This is especially true in college because you’re making BIG decisions about your future! At Furman, The Cothran Center for Vocational Reflection offers workshops, events, and retreats that help students connect with their inner selves and the world around themselves. The team at the Cothran Center is here to help you reflect and grow into your best self! In pursuit of this goal, the Cothran Center builds its programs around three very important questions:

  1. Who am I – most authentically?
  2. What do I believe – most deeply?
  3. What does the world need from me?

As we think about these questions and learn more about ourselves, it becomes clearer what makes us who we are and what makes us happiest. Overall, the Cothran Center is here to help you explore new perspectives, find your unique interests–through CliftonStrengths, Enneagram, and Vocational workshops–and believe in who you are.

For more general information about the Cothran Center, follow THIS LINK to the FU website! Anyone is welcome at the Cothran Center, and many Furman students find a home with the amazing students, friends, and mentors that they have the opportunity to know and love here!

GERs are GREAT

Coming into college, I still wasn’t sure what I wanted to do in life (to be honest, I’m still not totally sure haha)! I had this idea in my head that I was behind and should’ve had my entire life planned out at that point. But, boy was I wrong! It was okay that I didn’t know what I wanted to do, and Furman offered unique resources that helped me find my way. 

At Furman, you have many opportunities to explore different interests and figure out what you enjoy. Because FU is a liberal arts school, you will have general education requirements (GERs) in a lot of different subjects. And, GERs are a great way to venture out of your academic comfort zone, find new ideas, and figure out what you like studying. Additionally, you’re not required to declare your major(s) until the end of your sophomore year; so, you have plenty of time to decide! But, even with GERs to explore and time to spend, the idea of figuring out your vocation can be terrifying–at least it was for me!

What’s my Cothran Center Story?

Now, I’ve talked a little about how amazing the Cothran Center is, but you haven’t heard about anything first-hand. I’d love to share a little bit about my experiences with the Cothran Center thus far (as a sophomore) and how much each of their programs and faces mean to me!

At the beginning of my second semester of freshman year, I was feeling quite discouraged. I felt like everyone around me had their life figured out–what they wanted to major in, what they wanted to do for a career, and who they were. But, when people would ask me the big questions, such as “what do you want to do?,” “what makes you unique?,” and “what do you believe in?,” I found myself at a loss for words. I would often respond with something general that limited further questions because I was terrified of not knowing. So, needless to say, those questions made me uncomfortable, and I was happy in my comfort zone!

Joining the FOCUS Program!

Then, one day I decided to take a leap and apply for the Cothran Center’s FOCUS program. According to the application, this program was designed to help students explore topics such as vocation, self-awareness, resilience, and understanding. At the time, I was lacking in confidence and very unsure of myself, so I was surprised and overjoyed when I was accepted to the program. I genuinely thought, “they’re taking a chance on me,” and I was grateful. 

So, over the course of the Spring semester, I met biweekly with the team at the Cothran Center and a group of about 20 of my peers. The Cothran Center’s three big questions are: who am I most authentically? what do I believe most deeply? and what does the world need from me? When our group met, we would think about each of these questions as we interacted and learned. We would spend hours discussing anything and everything from what made us happy to how to better understand and listen to others.

I took tests to figure out that I’m an Enneagram Type 1, my five CliftonStrengths, and my vocational interests. We also worked on teambuilding and discussed strategies for truly listening to new perspectives. For example, we practiced just listening to our peers in small groups. We weren’t allowed to say anything for five minutes, and we were supposed to limit our inner responses. Often, as we learned, you’re thinking of the next thing you’re going to say in a conversation rather than truly just sitting back and taking in what the other person is saying. This practice also proved to help us solve disagreements more amicably! Each of the practices and activities that I participated in has colored my experiences in groupwork and understanding, allowed me to explore ideas and perspectives, and taught me what makes me who I am.

Being Uncomfy is OK!

More than that, though, my experience with FOCUS taught me that being uncomfortable is actually one of the best things that you can experience. Why? Because being uncomfortable inspires courage and growth. It’s alright that I don’t know exactly what I want to do with my life, and it’s alright that I may not know exactly who I am. Not knowing leaves me with endless possibilities and prevents me from limiting myself. In not knowing, I’m always seeking out new perspectives and engaging with new people, and this has been the highlight of my experience.

Up Next: Northern Ireland!

Now, I spend every other week meeting up with my Cothran Center friends and mentors. Right now, we are preparing for the most exciting experience yet… We are traveling to Northern Ireland for Spring Break! Throughout this week, we will work at Corrymeela, a camp that works to bring people together by supporting survivors of discrimination and conflict and working to tackle these issues. Whether these individuals were impacted by racism, homophobia, or sectarianism, they are welcomed. And, I couldn’t possibly be more excited to meet the survivors, hear their stories, and help them fight against oppression. Just as I help them, they will undoubtedly help me to better understand myself, the world, and how I fit into the world.

With less than three weeks to go, I am overjoyed to be heading to Northern Ireland with the Cothran Center! This experience is just one of many that the Cothran Center offers to Furman students, and I am ready to explore, grow, and give it my all!

If you all have any questions about the Cothran Center–or other resources on Furman’s campus–please reach out! Also, if you’re feeling overwhelmed about your potential major or career path, I’d love to talk and ease some of your worries. I am always happy to answer questions and make new friends!

Lots of Love!

My best, 

Logan Coffee 🙂

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