10 Things I Wish I Knew Before Coming to Clemson

The first semester is in full swing. My transition to Clemson was fairly easy; however, here are a few things that I wish I had known before coming to Clemson and some things I've learned along the way:

  1. 1. Student parking barely exists.

    Everyone can relate to having to get up early before a class and race to find the nearest commuter parking space or circle the parking lots near your residence hall for twenty minutes. The parking spots available outweigh the number of students enrolled with a vehicle, so bringing your car to college isn’t the most convenient luxury. It’s important to know, however, that students are allowed to park in employee parking spaces 4:30 pm on Friday to 6:00 am on Monday. Clemson offers other parking lots that are around campus, although the walk to your hall or academic building can be a struggle. So, if you don’t need to drive a lot, it’s best to simply not bring your car or get a bike or moped.  

  2. 2. Clemson is a resource wonderland.

    Clemson offers a variety of resources that I had no idea about when I first arrived on campus. For example, if you need help writing an English paper, Clemson offers the Writing Center, a fully staffed center where students can come and get their assignments evaluated by fellow students and additional staff. Being an English major has been difficult, yet this center provides a bit of relief for my bigger assignments. Additionally, you have an academic advisor assigned to you who is available for academic advising, career guidance and more. Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) is also an available resource on campus to Clemson students. This organization provides counseling and other services for students who want it.

  3. 3. Getting involved is easy.

    Clemson has over 500 organizations on campus for students of all academic years, including but not limited to: Greek organizations, team and club sports, academic clubs, political clubs, and religious organizations. An event known as Tiger Prowl takes place during the first couple of weeks of the fall semester. Here, you’re able to browse different tables hosted by various organizations and learn more about them. By attending this event, I was able to come across a pre-law society, a chocolate milk club and an avocado toast club! Whatever you are interested in, Clemson has a place for you. If you don’t find something you like, you can start your own organization.

  4. 4. Naps are important.

    When we were little kids, we dreaded taking naps. In college, it’s a different story. Maintaining a healthy physical and mental state is essential to a great college experience. College piles on a ton of stress, especially as we are exploring career options or applying to graduate schools. So, whether it’s between your classes or on the weekend, make sure you rest your mind and body. Not only will you perform better, but you’ll also feel better.

  5. 5. Organization is key.

    Before coming to college, I never used a planner. I was always able to manage everything I had to do thanks to constant reminders from my parents and teachers. In college, you’re on your own. Taking on college means taking on responsibilities. I find myself quite busy with many events such as interviews, sorority events, academic appointments, and homework. Having a planner on my cell phone and on paper has helped me manage my time more efficiently and plan my week. Clemson has a wide selection of planners available in the bookstore as well. Whether or not you are involved on campus, having a planner will leave you feeling more prepared for the weeks ahead and allow you to organize ideas and events.

  6. 6. Prioritize.

    As a freshman and maybe even an upperclassman, you’ll be faced with the decision of going out or staying at home to complete homework. While it may be tempting to go out with your friends, Saturdays are never a bad day to get your work done. During my first month at Clemson, I went out instead of doing my homework and had to wake up at 4:00 am to complete it by 8:00 am. Not only did this interfere with my sleep, but the assignment was also rushed and could’ve been executed better. So, drop the crop top and pick up a pencil, Tigers. Your degree will thank you.

  7. 7. Be proactive.

    I used to not ask questions when I didn’t understand something. I figured I could look it up later on or wing it on the test. Honestly, this worked quite often…in high school. College is a different breed. The courses you take in college will be difficult and require a more in-depth analysis of the subject at hand. Go to office hours and ask questions! The professors at Clemson are very knowledgeable and personable. I was always nervous to ask questions because I didn’t want my teachers to think I couldn't catch on quickly. However, I soon lost that ego when I enrolled in my first college class. Your professors are here to help you, and they want to help you.

  8. 8. Network.

    This may be the most important one. Many have heard the phrase, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” This is partially true. Building connections can be very beneficial to college students. Your English professor could have a brother working at a law firm that you are interested in interning at. Utilizing my resources has landed me a job at The Office of Community and Ethical Standards, the student conduct office on campus. I hope to attend law school, and at this office, I can read case reports and work alongside individuals who have attended law school.

  9. 9. Wear what you want.

    I didn’t know what to expect for college when I first arrived. As I was walking to class in my jeans and nice blouse, I realized that most people around me were in sweatpants or gym shorts. I quickly realized how much more laid back college is when it comes to the dress code. Do you want to wear slippers to class? Do it! Do pajamas fit the mood for today? Wear them! Fortunately, we are all just college kids trying to make it by with a degree. So, wear whatever you feel like wearing – we don’t judge.

  10. 10. Manage your finances!

    Clemson has a lot to offer in terms of shopping, restaurants and fun social activities. Outside of the dining halls and student activities, I found myself spending quite a bit of money. In downtown Clemson, Entourage Boutique will drain your pockets as well as frequent visits to Chipotle. Have a budget and follow it accordingly.