Are we what we used to be?

Since I’m graduating (if all goes well) in May, I’ve been thinking a lot about my experiences at FMU. This school has been a large part of my life and my family’s for so many years. My parents went to FMU (back when it was Francis Marion College) in the 70s and 80s, three of my siblings went to FMU and have already graduated, and my younger brother started attending FMU last year.

Looking back at old yearbooks, when they still made yearbooks, it’s amazing what used to happen on campus. Despite being primarily a commuter school, FMU had an amazing community that came together for all sorts of things. From dances to Christmas parties, there was so much happening on campus that it must have been impossible to attend everything.

My parents had an amazing experience on campus, whether it was playing spades every day in the UC or participating in intramural sports, which used to be a much bigger deal. The campus was mostly a commuter school, but students still found time in their busy schedules to come together as a community.

So, why talk about what life used to be like at FMU? Because I think its important that the campus, as well as its students, come together as a community more often. Having been here since 2015, I’ve seen a lot of changes at FMU, and I think the campus needs to go back to its roots and create a new identity that brings everyone together.

From my own personal experiences, there are so many opportunities to improve oneself academically, whether it’s going to New York for the National Model United Nations (which got cancelled due to COVID-19, but it was still a cool experience writing a position paper) or going to San Antonio for a conference during New Year’s. But I’ve missed having a non-academic community that I can be a part of and grow with.

This is not to say that FMU has been a bad experience. Far from it, I’ve gotten to grow in ways I couldn’t have imagined when I first arrived. I’m thankful to have gone to a school where I can get to create meaningful relationships with my peers.

Everyone who I knew when I came to FMU as a dual-enrollment student in 2015 has already graduated. There’s a lot to be said for starting early, but I miss graduating with everyone I used to know. That isn’t to say I won’t be happy to walk across the stage with my friends, but it won’t be the same.

I hope that I leave FMU in a better state than when I first came here, a bright-eyed, rather naïve, 17-year old homeschooler who had no idea what I was doing.

With my time as an undergraduate coming to a close, I’ll leave you with this: do well in school, find a group of people who push you, and you’ll always be enough. Be the change you want to see, whether it’s at FMU or in your own life. There’s so much that I wish I had done or learned, but that’s all in the past. There’s always tomorrow, and who knows, maybe in the end you’ll learn a thing or two. Peace.