Congratulations on graduating high school! Whether it was an expectation or a big accomplishment, high school is finally over and the rest of your life is about to begin. If you are feeling cocky 😉 and decided to attend the University of South Carolina here are somethings that most freshman will do and every freshman absolutely should do at University of South Carolina.
1. Go to First Night Carolina
So you just moved in and you’re exhausted. You just said bye to your parents for the first time and this is the longest time you have ever spent with your new roommate. After a while, your RM will tell you that they are about to take you out for the First Night of the rest of your life here at Carolina. You go to a hall meeting where everyone is wearing the exact same t-shirt that was given to you on move in day by Housing (shout-out to Housing for being cool like that) and you are waiting to see what happens next. Next thing you know, you and everyone from your dorm is walking to Colonial Life Arena (that is where all of the basketball games will be) and it is full of freshman just like you. Cocky is there, the Cheerleaders are there, a DJ is there. It is packed and it is about as lit as it can be. They typically hire a really awesome comedian to come out and roast Clemson (ClemSUCKS) and they usually bring out some of the sports teams to come hype everyone up about the upcoming seasons. It is a fun time and I am so sad that I am not a freshman anymore.
2. Attend New Student Convocation
I’m not gonna lie, this is a total snooze fest compared to First Night Carolina but it is by no means any less fun. You will want to make sure that you are wearing something nicer for this event because you are finally about to be officially welcomed into the Carolina family. It is really special time for students, staff and families. Convocation opens with an academic procession led by the President of the Student Government Association carrying the Mace, followed by the recipient of 2017 Michael J. Mungo Distinguished Professor of the Year, the Provost of the University; representatives of the University’s schools and colleges, the University’s vice presidents, the secretary of the Board of Trustees and the President of the University.
3. Go to as many Carolina Productions events as possible
Carolina Productions is by far one of the most hardworking organizations on campus but what they are working hard for is to make sure that we are having the best time possible. They put on movies in the Russell House Theater every weekend. Events are planned in the Russell House Ballroom at least once a month. They plan concerts and comedy specials and magic acts every semester that are amazing. You know that Carolina Productions is planning really awesome events because it is an organization ran by the students for the students. They are really awesome and plan top-notch events so make sure to check them out. All you need to bring is your Carolina Card
4. Attend as many Hall Government and RM events as possible
In the same spirit of attending events that are really awesome and are put on by the students, your residence halls put on some really awesome events. The Residence Hall Association, EcoReps and RMs of each residence hall work really hard to plan some really awesome events for their residents. Some of the events from last year were insanely awesome ranging from Thanksgiving Dinner at Top of Carolina (cause who doesn’t love free food) to carnivals, karaoke nights and movies under the stars. Your residence halls put in a lot of work to make sure that you are having the best experience at USC so make sure to show up, support and have a blast!
5. Go to the Games
Whether you like football, basketball, baseball, soccer, volleyball or even horseback riding, USC has some really awesome student athletes and the games are always spectacular. With free tickets to every game and the guarantee of better seats for the more games that you attend, there is really no excuse to not attend the games. Also, it is very cathartic to shout “Go Cocks” at the top of your lungs in a sold out Williams-Brice Stadium. 10/10 would recommend.
6. Watch the sunset on top of the parking garage across from Strom
BEST VIEW IN COLUMBIA!! You cannot miss this view I am telling you. It is so spectacular that people go to watch it from this spot every day. Watching the sunset from this spot is a USC tradition and one that definitely cannot be missed. (if insane heights are not your thing, check out the sunset from the rooftop of the Darla Moore Business School)
7. Chicken Finger Wednesday
I am going to completely honest and tell you that most of the food at USC is not that good, but for some strange reason, the chicken fingers are magical and taste amazing and are actually seasoned (which cannot be said for all the other food). Chicken Finger Wednesday is available at Russell House, Gibbes Court Bistro, Honeycomb Café, Bates Diner, Global Café and more. So go, use that meal swipe and enjoy.
8. Get pictures with Cocky and President Pastides
This one should not be that difficult. In fact, I checked it off my bucket list within the first month of being at USC. While this is not difficult it is one that you absolutely should do because President Pastides is one of the nicest men ever and he is always willing to stop and take a selfie and so is Cocky, so you really have no excuse.
9. Go to Kaminsky’s Dessert Café
This one is honestly the most important thing that you absolutely must do during your time at USC. It is the go-to place for birthdays, V-Day or just a great place to hang out with your friends and get awesome dessert. It is just desserts and the prices are totally within the budget of a college student. Everything is amazing but if I had to recommend something I would say that the Cookie Sundae is the best thing to get… cause you know, cookies and ice cream are the best things ever.
10. Go to the pool at Strom
The pool at Strom is one of the most popular spots on campus and it surprisingly typically easy to get a good swim in. Most everyone is there to work on their tan, study on a nice day or just socialize. The pool is definitely worth the hike for those of you who plan on living in North Campus (RIP). It was named one of the top 10 college pools for a reason.
11. Befriend an International student
This one is an absolute must for many reasons. They are some of the coolest and nicest people that you will ever meet. Most of them are in their 20s and have been in college for a while but like you, it is their first time being really far from home and attending an American university. International students are a fun group of people who are known for throwing the most epic latin parties and hitting up Five Points all the time. If you are planning on travelling or studying abroad, you will always have a friend and a couch to sleep on in another country. (If you are looking for the international students, they typically live on North Campus around Maxcy, Thornwell and the Horseshoe)
12. Go to Five Points (but not all the time)
I know I am not supposed to recommend that you participate in illegal activities but if you are “21” then I am telling you that Five Points is an amazing time. Some of the favorite bars are Breakers Live, Rooftop, Saloon and BirdDog, but with nearly 27 bars downtown there is something for everybody.
13. Look like a fool in the Clapping Circle
If your Orientation Leader doesn’t show you this than you will have to check it out yourself. Right in between Russell House and Davis Field is a circle where if you go into the center and clap, a baby gamecock will be born and you will be able to hear a squeak. I am dead serious. If you don’t believe me, go check it out and you will become a believer.
14. Go to Tiger Burn
ClemSUCKS. Go Cocks! Right before the big game between us and the other SC school, the engineering school constructs a Tiger and we burn it to the ground. Cocky is there. The cheerleaders are there. The football team is there. Some men just like to watch the Tiger burn and we are those men.
15. Hang out on the Horseshoe
Whether you need to study, want to have a picnic or just want to meet some cute pups, the Horseshoe (not the bar) is the best place to chill on campus, so make sure to bring a picnic blanket/tapestry or a hammock and go chill. A lot of clubs like to practice on the horseshoe like the pole dancing and tai chi club. The Horseshoe is the oldest spot on campus and you are bound to see people hanging out there every day.
(Additional Bucket List Item: Find the Hootie & The Blowfish Brick on the brick path. I haven’t found it yet but I know that it is there)