Student Spotlight: Noel Dotson


Photo by: Abigail

Noel Dotson, a pre-nursing major, enjoys to write and sing her original songs in her spare time.

Noel Dotson, a Lake City native, might be classified as an FMU freshman pre-nursing major, but she is far from the average student.

“All my life I had said I wasn’t going to Francis Marion,” Dotson said. “I was supposed to go to Anderson actually, I had paid my deposit. Then I got accepted into Clemson’s nursing program, so that put things up in the air because I was really confused. But before I even got into Clemson, I was looking at FMU. Then I just decided to go to FMU, and I’m content with that decision.”

She exited high school with 72 dual-enrollment credit hours, the maximum amount of credits one can earn and still enroll at FMU. She attended a private school until her junior year of high school, when she transferred to Hannah Pamplico High School.

In 2018, Dotson was crowned Miss Florence Teen. She went on to compete in the Miss South Carolina Teen pageant where she won the pageant spirit award. She also attended Palmetto Girl’s State and was a delegate in Caughman City.

Dotson intends to major in nursing no matter what, but she is considering applying to the physician’s assistant (PA) program after graduation. If she does not decide to attend PA school, she hopes to become a nurse practitioner in psychiatric mental health.

Dotson will finish FMU’s nursing prerequisites and will be able to apply to nursing school in the spring. She has not decided if she will do so and begin nursing school next fall, or if she will take an extra semester and enroll in some extra sciences.

She believes college has been a simple transition because of her previous credits and being a commuter student.

“It wasn’t really that difficult,” Dotson said. “Had I went to Anderson or Clemson, like three hours away, I probably would have had a harder time. Chemistry was kind of tough at first, but it’s under control now. I pretty much just go to class and go home.”

When she’s not focusing on her work in the classroom, Dotson enjoys various hobbies.

“I like to sing,” Dotson said. “I’m all about music. I play the piano and stuff like that, I even write and record songs sometimes. I love to read. I play tennis. I like to do makeup. My favorite band is The Band Camino. I’ve seen them five times. I love key lime pie and all things chocolate. Oh, and Taylor Swift. That’s about it.”

Noel explained that her full name is Mary Claire Noel Dotson, but she goes by Noel because she was born on Christmas day.

While Dotson commutes from Lake City right now, she plans to move on campus next semester.

“I don’t have any crazy roommate stories yet,” Dotson said. “I’m moving on campus next semester, so I’m sure that will change.”

Dotson is content with her decision to stay home and attend FMU, but sometimes she feels like she’s missing out on the “college experience.”

“Sometimes I still wish I would have gone off,” Dotson said. “I’ll go visit my friends that are off at school for the weekend and I’m like, ‘Wow, I’m really missing out on the proper college experience.’ But I am saving money, and I feel like my first semester has been enjoyable because of where I’m at.”

On campus, Dotson is a member of Alpha Delta Pi sorority and attends the Baptist Collegiate Ministry weekly. Her advice to incoming freshmen is be ready to adapt.

“College is nothing like high school,” Dotson said. “Just because you made As in high school without studying doesn’t mean you’ll do the same in college.”