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Everything Freshman Girls Need to Know for the Fall Semester at Clemson

You’ve been waiting all summer long for this moment to arrive. You’re finally going to be attending Clemson University! You know which dorm you’re living in, you’ve registered for classes, and you’ve marked your calendars with the football schedule (hopefully!)- but, what else do you need to know?

That’s where Her Campus Clemson comes in. All summer long we’ve been waiting your arrival, too! And we’ve prepared our list of things that all incoming freshman girls absolutely need to know to make the most of their freshman year at Clemson. As current students, we have literally walked in your shoes and know how it feels to enter college, whether you know a lot of people already, or you know absolutely no one. Heed advice from students who have been in your place and you are sure to have a successful transition into life at Clemson University!

Pack Your Rain Gear!
If you aren’t from the South, you might find yourself surprised by how much it rains in sunny Clemson! Be sure and pack some rain boots and a jacket to make that trek to and from class a whole lot easier on those rainy days.

Don’t Forget the Essentials!
We know it sounds redundant, but make sure you bring everything you need with you when you come to school! From your toothbrush to that favorite eyeliner you can only find at Sephora, make a list and check it twice! When your parents drop you off, for most of you this means kissing your car and mode of transportation goodbye. And although you will love living on our beautiful campus, it has its limitations. It’s a long hike to CVS in 85 degree weather, so make a checklist when you pack! [Freshman year I forgot to bring my cell phone charger with me when I moved in…Less than ideal!]

Leave High School in High School!
I know it’s tempting to want to bring 500 picture frames and bulletin boards full of pictures of you and your besties from high school to decorate your new dorm room, but try not to go too crazy. It’s important to keep in mind that you will shortly have loads of pictures of you and your new Clemson friends that will more than likely replace your prom photos, so with the exception of a few great high school pictures, leave some room on your walls. (Not to mention if you decide to join a sorority, before you know it you will have more decor than you know what to do with!) So when deciding what to bring to decorate your room, make sure you don’t go too overboard!

…Including Your High School Boyfriend
On the topic of High School, while I know this won’t be popular advice with some of you, this brings up the HS boyfriend dilemma. Freshman year is a time to meet new people, get involved on campus and soak up college life for all it’s worth…NOT the time to sit at home and Skype your High School boyfriend while your friends are out on a Thursday night or feel guilty about doing anything because your boyfriend isn’t there with you. If you and your beau are going to different schools, unless you literally see yourself marrying this guy, sometimes it’s better to make a clean break before you get to school. Adjusting to college life is hard enough without having to also juggle a long distance relationship. And if your guy is still in High School…RUN, do not walk, away from that situation. Although you can’t see it now, being in college is so completely different than being in High School and it will be difficult to relate to each other after a few months of being at school.

Leave your Door Open

In a dorm, you’re not only living with your roommate, you’re living with 20 or so other girls (or boys, depending which dorm you’re in) on your hall. These people could become some of your best friends throughout the year if you take to opportunity to get to know them. Leaving your door open is inviting, and your hall mates will want to step in and say hi!

Make Friends with Your Hall Mates!
Since dorm life means living in close quarters, you definitely want to get to know the other girls on the hall. After all, it’s much more pleasant sharing a bathroom with friends than strangers! Plan a movie night in your room or invite some of the girls to go to lunch together at the dining hall. Having a hall full of friends will make your freshman year a blast.

Map out your classes
A day or two before classes start grab your room mate or a friend and go check out campus. After orientation, you will have been given a few tours of campus and will probably have a general idea of how to get around, but class buildings are a whole different story. Figuring out where your classes are beforehand will save you a lot of stress on the first day, and you will avoid being that panic-stricken freshman wandering around in circles with a map in your hand.

Books on books on books.
Sometimes it’s better to wait and order your books after your first week of class. Unlike high school, teachers don’t always require the suggested reading material so it’s often times smart to go to the first day of classes to find out what exactly the teacher will require. This will help you avoid ending up with books you don’t need!

Tiger Prowl- DO IT.
Tiger Prowl has booths set up on Bowman with different student groups and organizations (like Her Campus Clemson!) looking to meet incoming freshman! This is a great way to meet older students and find ways to get involved on campus! [Hopefully you saw us out there!]

Explore Downtown

Downtown Clemson has tons of delicious restaurants and cute stores for anything you might need. Grab a sandwich at Groucho’s or a burrito at Moe’s (or Chipotle) when you need a break from campus dining hall food, have a girls night and get some fro-yo at Blueberry Frog, or go pick out a new game day dress at Entourage or Tickled Orange. And of course there are always places to buy your Clemson fan gear. Downtown is within walking distance of campus, so make sure to check it out on the weekends or when you have some free time outside of class.

Explore the Surrounding Area
Your four years at Clemson will fly by, so don’t wait until you’re a senior to start exploring Clemson’s beautiful campus and the surrounding area. Grab your friends and spend a day by the lake, wander the Botanical Gardens, take a drive to Greenville for some shopping, or get into the Southern spirit and check out the rodeo on Friday nights! Be sure to also take advantage of the gorgeous campus and beautiful weather. Gotta study? Grab your books and head over to Bowman or Lever Beach. You can’t beat getting your homework done and getting a tan at the same time!

Throughout the Fall Semester

Go to EVERY Football Game

Football games are some of the biggest events at Clemson in the fall. Saturdays revolve around football, so you won’t want to miss out. Who doesn’t love being packed into a stadium with 83,000 other fans, cheering for your Tigers? And of course, football is an excuse to dress up, so put on your orange or purple dress and head to Death Valley! Also, if you get an opportunity to go to an away game, TAKE IT. Traveling with your team is such a rewarding experience and makes for some of the best road trip memories with your friends.

Get Involved
At this point, the phrase “get involved” probably sounds like a cliché you’ve heard a million times before. But those two words are more important to you now in college than ever before. Clemson has a huge number of clubs, organizations, and activities for you to be a part of, like creating an intermural sports team with your friends, joining Greek Life, taking part in clubs pertaining to your major, or becoming a writer for Her Campus! The point is, college is the place to try new things and meet new people, so join something you enjoy, and you absolutely won’t regret it.

Balancing your time is Key
College classes are definitely more challenging than the ones you took in high school, so learning good study habits is essential. Learn to balance your time between your school work, activities, and friends. If you set aside time to work hard for class during the day, you’ll still have plenty of free time to do fun things. And most importantly, you won’t have to miss out on time with your friends, or stay up all night cramming for a test or trying to finish a paper.

Take advantage of Fike
There is absolutely no reason to fear the dreaded Freshman 15 when you have a gym as great as Fike. You have any kind of workout available to you, cardio and weight machines, an indoor track, and the pool. There’s even a girls workout room, so you’ll never have to worry about being sweaty in front of all the boys. Fike also offers awesome workout classes that are scheduled all day, from anything as relaxing as yoga classes to as physically intense as the new “Body Pump” class. You can have a super fun and upbeat dance class during “Zumba” or tone up in classes like “Abs and Glutes” or “Tone and Trim”. And ladies, this gym is free and within walking distance from your dorms, so you have no excuse not to go.

Use Your Professors
If you’re stuck on an assignment, go see your professor! They have office hours for you to come in and meet with them, or you can shoot them an email to set up an appointment at a different time. Your professor is the best person you can talk to if you have questions, after all they are the one that assigned the work and will be grading it. Even just 15 minutes in your professor’s office to run an idea by them or just see what they are looking for on an assignment can be the difference between an A and a B. They are always happy to talk to a student, so don’t be a stranger.

Professors aren’t scary… well, most of them aren’t!
I should know; my dad’s an economics professor. Professors and advisors at Clemson are here to help you. They are great resources, not just for better understanding your coursework, but also for opportunities within different professional organizations, research opportunities, and even jobs. (I am Vice President of an organization I only knew about because a professor suggested it, and I am currently a summer research assistant for another one of my professors!) When meeting with a professor, I suggest first asking about their life experiences before expressing your goals and needs. Not only are the answers usually really interesting, your inquiries will flatter them making them more interested in you and your ambitions. So yes, seriously: go to office hours!

“On Fridays, we wear orange”

Don’t be surprised when you step outside your dorm on Fridays and find yourself walking to class in a sea of “Solid Orange”. This Clemson tradition, especially prevalent during football season, is a great way for students and faculty to show their Clemson spirit! And let’s not forget about Gameday! Make sure to stock up on orange dresses and gameday outfits over the summer, because football season is right around the corner!

Did we forget anything from the list? Let us know!

Paige is a senior at Clemson University majoring in communication studies and minoring in business and technical writing. Hailing from Northern Virginia, she is the campus correspondent and founder of Her Campus Clemson, as well as VP of membership programming for her sorority, Alpha Chi Omega, and a contributing writer for The Tiger. She loves writing and photography, and after studying abroad in France this summer, she hopes to someday be a photographer and writer for a travel magazine. She has a strong passion (obsession) for social media, and when she's not tweeting or Facebook stalking, you can find her watching Criminal Minds and Glee, inhaling Chipotle burritos, jamming out to swing music, or shopping for new gameday outfits. GO TIGERS!
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