1. Be open to all opportunities.
Go to the Tigerprowl fair, join clubs; try anything because college is new and you want to experience it all. Whether that means joining a social or academic fraternity, trying out for a club sport, or even creating your own club, do it because this is your chance to find your place.
2. Leave your dorm door open.
When you’re home, leave your door open and people will come to you. Whether you live in Byrnes, McCabe, or the Shoeboxes, everyone is looking to make friends, and an open door means open opportunity. Utilize your dorm as its own personal networking site with the comforts of your own futon and pajamas.
3. Be yourself.
College is a time to explore who you are and to grow as a person, so don’t ruin that chance by pretending to be someone you’re not. With the diversity of the Clemson students, be yourself and you will find your home amongst what might seem an intimidating place.
4. Your roommate is not your enemy.
So you might not be “obsessed” with your roommate. Don’t count them out. Your roommate is like your sibling; you live together whether you like it or not, and the sooner you accept this person is part of the package of your freshman year, the better. You don’t have to be best friends – or you can be – just try to be civil and gracious; it will make for a much easier time when you want to borrow that top or wake them up at 3 a.m. one night coming back to the room.
5. Shop around for your textbooks.
The school bookstore might be right there and have most of your required materials, but the prices can be sky high. Check out online retailers such as Amazon and Chegg, or even the Clemson “class of” Facebook pages for students selling their older copies. Even if it’s an earlier edition, most of the time the books will have helpful highlights and notes.
6. Invest in a good planner and use it.
Between schoolwork, football games, and constant events, your fall semester will be overwhelming. A planner will save you from overbooking – and therefore over stressing – yourself.
7. Don’t neglect your stomach.
Being away from home and living away from mom and dad for the first time means no more daily reminders to eat three healthy meals a day. As hard as it, try to reject the temptation of Chick-fil-A and Wendy’s on campus too often, and try to be creative with the healthy options at Harcombe and Schlitter, no matter how good the fries and ice cream is.
8. Even if you think you’re a morning person, a class on Friday at 8 a.m. is maybe not the way to go.
Just trust me on this one.
9. Go meet your professors.
Do this sooner rather than later. In a big lecture hall, the typical class set up for general education requirements and intro classes, you can show the professor your personality and interest in the class instead of just being another face in the sea of nervous underclassman.
10. Understand and accept that Parking Services is not your friend.
If you have a car, you will get a ticket and you will have to pay it. Getting angry will not make it go away, and neither will ignoring it.
11. Enjoy what Clemson has to offer for a foodie.
Go to the Esso Club and get a Meat & Three, enjoy some BBQ at Smoking Pig, or check out the rice bowls at Yolk. There are more than just on-campus fast food chain options in Clemson.
12. Enjoy the landscape of the area.
Spend a day to relax at Y beach, hike the Issaqueena Trail to see some waterfalls, and explore the Clemson experimental forest. With such an abundance of natural beauty around you, you would be silly to not take advantage of it.
13. Take a day trip to Greenville and Asheville.
Along with being two hours away from big cities – Atlanta and Charlotte – Greenville and Asheville are two closer urban spaces. Greenville has southern charm with a small city feel, while Asheville adopted a quirky atmosphere. Both have a wide variety of interesting restaurants and activities that could keep you busy for more than just a single day.
14. Travel to at least one away game.
While nothing beats a Clemson home game, away games give you a chance to experience another school’s environment (and remember that Clemson is the best).
15. Go to EVERY home game.
Trust me. Game days are the best days. Even if you think it’s going to be a blowout, enjoy the day and bask in the Clemson pride.
16. Utilize what you – or your parents – pay for.
Whether it be the dining halls, library services, or Fike, after college you’ll never experience so many free amenities, so close in your grasp.
17. Ask the seniors or upperclassman in your class, club, or organization for help.
There’s no shame in asking a helpful upperclassman for advice concerning what classes to take, which professors to avoid, where to study on campus, or which events are worth going to. They experienced the confusion of freshman year, and should be more than willing to lend their opinions in order to help you out.
18. Try to sleep as much as you can.
You want to try to get eight to nine hours of sleep per night. Realistically, at least six or seven hours will keep you functioning, while that all-nighter for that chemistry exam will do nothing but hurt you for days to come. Realize sleep is just as important as your social or academic life, and prioritize.
19. That being said, go out on that Tuesday.
College is too short and Clemson is too fun not to make as many memories as you can. Looking back, how many years later will you remember that solo Netflix binge or extra calculus studying as opposed to a spontaneous night out with some of your newest, closest friends?
20. Be excited!
Clemson is a magical place filled with constant fun and opportunity. Coming into a school as close knit and welcoming as it is here is a privilege that you’re all lucky to receive. I hope you make the most of your four (or five or six) years here and enjoy being part of the greatest group – the Clemson family.