Admissions Blog Posts

My Transition from Homeschool to Furman

Hi! I’m Katelyn Wong,

The transition to college has been a roller coaster. I spent the summer getting ready for college. 

I picked the bedding for my dorm room and some really cute things to hang on my wall. I read blogs and watched Tik Toks of people giving advice about what to pack for college and looked up college packing lists. I searched through the Furman website and Instagram posts and looked for organizations that I would want to join. I read through course descriptions and compared course requirements for several majors that I am still considering. I prepared for classes and got a new backpack, notebooks, highlighters and sticky notes. My roommate and I messaged each other, got to know each other, and compared our packing lists. By the first of August, I was ready for college. 


Move-in and Orientation was exciting and a great introduction to college life, but after the first few days of class, reality set in. I was in the third week of school when I realized I may not have been as prepared as I had thought.  


I had spent the past summer and my four years of high school preparing for college. I was homeschooled and although my educational path was a little different from others, I felt that I was prepared. I had taken rigorous courses, learned good study habits and test taking strategies and homeschooling had prepared me with some pretty good organizational skills. I had attended a once a week-long co-op where I took classes and made lots of friends. I was involved in dance and theater, I was on the student council, I was a member of Beta Club, and I had a part time job. However, the transition to college was still a challenge. 


About the third week of school, the dramatically faster pace of college life first caught up with me. I was exhausted from walking all over campus and my multiple daily climbs up to the third floor of my dorm. I am a people person and am energized by being with people, but I found that I started to look for quiet places where I could be completely alone for even just a few minutes. Once the newness of moving in had worn off, I found that college life could be more challenging than I thought. 


In college, life never slows down. After the first week, the assignments flood in continuously. This is where I tell you that your time management skills will come into play quickly. I find that I do better when I start assignments as soon as I get out of class. The information from class is still fresh in my brain, and I am still in the rhythm of class. It would be very easy to procrastinate and think that I could start an assignment that was due next week later, but due dates seem to come faster than you think. I also find that later in the day, it is much harder to motivate myself to start working on assignments, and I can easily become distracted. I have included in my schedule specific study times, and I keep to those times as if they are a class time or required appointment. I have found my favorite study room on the lower level of the library and spend some time every day in that study space. I sit at a table with my books, computer, and a snack and focus solely on my work without too many distractions. I make a checklist with all my assignments listed in order of due date and time to help me prioritize what assignments to work on first.  


One of my favorite resources that I have found is the writing lab. I make an appointment every single time I have any kind of paper due and they make me feel way more confident in my writing. It is a confidence booster to have someone to look over your paper before turning it in. It is also an effective tool against procrastination, as I must make an appointment at least a few days before the paper is due so I can have time to meet with a writing center staff member and still rewrite my paper before the due date.  


I was nervous to go to my professor’s office the first time and was unsure what to expect. Being homeschooled, meetings with my teacher had been pretty easy so I felt pretty intimated about “office hours”. Looking back, I don’t know what I was afraid of. Perhaps it was looking foolish or making a mistake in front of my professor. I now look forward to meeting with all of my professors, and I seek out times to talk with them after class and during their office hours. During orientation everyone talked about having great relationships with their professors and how it was easy to meet with them, but I was still intimidated. I decided to face my fear straight on, and I emailed my professors and made appointments with each of them before the first big assignment was due. They were all enthusiastic and supportive when meeting with me. These occasional check-ins with my professors have made me feel more confident and helped keep me on track. It makes me think about assignments early instead of realizing the night before an assignment is due that I don’t really know what is expected. Furman professors want to see you succeed and will always try their best to help you when you ask for it. 


As for the social aspect, it’s the same for almost everyone. We are all in a new environment and just wanting to fit in. I promise that you are not the only one with that sick feeling in your stomach on that first day of school. You may feel like you will throw up but I bet you that someone else already has. Put yourself out there, be yourself, and don’t be afraid of being labeled. You will find your niche. It may be your hallmates, but don’t worry if those that live closest to you are not your closest friends. There are lots of opportunities to find your people. Go to interest meetings, sign up for organizations, and apply for a variety of positions. You won’t get accepted to everything, but don’t be disappointed or let a rejection keep you from trying something else.  


The ups and downs of college life are going to come at you really fast. Your preparedness and hard work that got you to college was just the first step to launch you into college life, but there will be lots of help to keep you on track when you need it. Enjoy the ride!