(Editor’s note: Camille Carr graduated from Clinton High School in 2011. She is a sophomore at Furman University and is one of the first recipients of the Simple Gifts scholarship in Sampson County.)
Furman University is a small, liberal arts university in Greenville, South Carolina. As a Simple Gifts Scholarship recipient, I have the opportunity to attend Furman University and enjoy many of the unique experiences that it offers. With approximately 2800 undergraduates, Furman is able to provide an intimate and personalized approach to college. One event which incoming freshmen experience is Orientation Week (O-week).
O-week is Furman’s introduction to college life and is held during the first week, prior to the return of upperclassmen. Many larger universities have orientation sessions consisting mainly of campus tours, rooming assignments, and academic briefings. Furman’s orientation staff and faculty work together to not only prepare incoming students for college life, but also to provide an enjoyable and exciting experience while welcoming the new students to their Furman family.
After arriving to campus, students quickly move in and begin to get ready for what the Orientation staff has prepared for them. Like most universities, a significant part of Furman’s orientation is devoted to adapting to the campus, adjusting to college life, meeting new friends, and even addressing questions regarding academics, but that is where most similarities end. Because athletes and O-staff members are the only upperclassmen on campus during these first four days, the freshmen class is given the undivided attention of faculty and staff and truly feel welcomed to their new home. While O-week helps students adapt to their new life, it is also filled with exciting and interactive activities.
Throughout the week, the freshmen participate in various games and field activities as they team with members of their new hall in fierce but friendly competition to win O-week. Other daily activities include the president’s picnic where students have the opportunity to meet Furman’s president and tour his home, nightly movies in the outside amphitheater, and various bonding activities with each hall. The week culminates in our own personal carnival, complete with Ferris wheel, other carnival rides and games, and lots of nutritious carnival junk food.
The O-staff and faculty plan several months in advanced to provide the best week that Furman can offer. For each student, there is a different favorite memory and all feel a little more comfortable as they enter their new lives as college students. The activities, meetings, and opportunities that O-week offers truly bring the new class together as one. This year I have been selected as a member of the O-staff for the class of 2017. I look forward to planning and organizing orientation week and hope to provide an equally enjoyable and beneficial experience for my incoming fellow students.