When I first came to the University of South Carolina, the only advice I had to guide me was from my parents. This advice, although full of love, was also based on clueless assumptions, as the the dynamic duo have never been to UofSC before. (Thank you mom and dad! Love you both.) Although I do have to say that there is truly no amount of words that can prepare you for an individualized experience such as college, I am going to try and provide you with some helpful tips to ease some lingering freshman anxiety you may have.
As a senior student (scary and weird), I feel like I have racked up some pretty helpful advice. So, without further ado, here is some tips for new students to the University of South Carolina:
- Take advantage of dining options
There are so many dining options here, and many you probably don’t even know about. Look at this page for reference. I recommend that if you have a meal plan, try them all! It’s easy to get bored of going to Russell for the fifth time in a week (nothing beats that good old fashioned cup of mac and cheese from Panera. But let’s be real, the portion is a little too small for some fiendish college kids like us.) Explore your options and avoid foodie burnout! Beyond restaurant options, try some traditional dining halls like Honeycomb at the honors college! The menu is always changing, and, if you take a to-go box, you can take almost two whole other meals in your bag with just one swipe. We all know you paid for it.
- tackle every opportunity
When I talk to my friends at other schools about all the free events UofSC does over the semester, they always are so jealous. Our school does a pretty dang good job of trying to keep students entertained. This is why I am always so saddened by the amount of nursing majors running past free events on Greene Street throughout the week. Guys, sometimes you just gotta the L and be late to class to indulge in a free pelican’s snow cone. Or on any Thursday evening, Carolina Productions puts on a different activity for you to experience. Hip Hop Wednesday? Lunchbox on the Patio? Free yoga?! I could go on and on. Don’t be the, “there’s nothing going on” guy. There always is! I like to keep the campus events tab pinned to my browser so I know what’s going on, or you can check garnet gate for upcoming events, too. Aside from free events, everyone has free therapy sessions to use throughout the semester. Use them!
- get involved!
You can find some of your future best friends doing the same stuff that you love to do. There are literally HUNDREDS of student organizations on campus, so there’s sure to be something you love to do available here, with anything from dance teams to book clubs to mountaineering.
- do some iconic uofsc things
I don’t like football, or, I don’t understand it. Despite this, I have been to four football games. Take a picture with Cocky. Eat a chicken finger on a Wednesday. It may feel cheesy to you, or maybe not, but these are things you’ll look back on and be glad you experienced.
My first week here, I decided to explore the arts building that held most of my classes. I was just walking around peeking inside some of rooms when I stumbled across the media services desk. For those that aren’t film majors, this is a big room full of cameras, audio recorders, and more for media arts majors. I ended up talking with the director of media services, and he offered me a job. I wasn’t necessarily looking for one, but I got one, and now I have a great handle on what equipment is available to me as a film student.
- just don’t be a hermit!
I know it’s tempting to hide, but the best advice I can give is just to get out of your dorm room and do something. Even if you just walk around, you’ll most likely stumble upon something worth looking at or trying. Try new things you’re scared to do, meet new people, connect with knowledgable professors, and learn more about yourself. You have more time to do that now than in high school, so you may as well take advantage of it.
As a freshman, living on campus away from home for maybe the first time can be a really weird experience. Just know there are a lot of cool things to do, and lots of people that have your back. Welcome home Gamecock!