After a long summer of being away from the normal South Carolina environment, coming back to campus for fall semester is one of the best feelings. Whether you’re reuniting with friends as an upperclassman or just moving in to your residence hall as a first-year student, fall semester is something we all look forward to because there are a ton of exciting moments packed into those first four months!
The week between residence hall move-in and the first day of class is dedicated to welcoming students back to campus. As a freshman, Welcome Week was a great time to hang out with my roommate and suite mates and get to know other freshmen on campus. This is a great time to reconnect with friends that you haven’t seen all summer. If you’re a new student, it’s a great time to start getting used to campus before classes start. Even though I’m going to be a senior this year, I’ll still be checking out these events and enjoying the free food!
First football game
Ask pretty much any student at South Carolina why fall semester is so great, and the answer is easy: football. Being back in Willy B for the first home game of the season never disappoints (even if we lose). Although I’m admittedly not an avid football fan, I still love going to the games. Being in Williams-Brice Stadium surrounded by thousands of other loyal Gamecocks is incredible. The anticipation leading up to the first game is no joke – I’ve already started planning my outfit!
Family Weekend is great for students whose parents don’t live close enough to come to Columbia whenever they want. A month into the semester is probably that point where the excitement of being back at school (or just starting college) starts to wear off and you start missing your family. UofSC hosts plenty of events for families to get to know the campus, and they even reserve football game tickets for family members to purchase. My parents and younger brother came to family weekend my freshman year and it was so fun to show them around my new home. They haven’t made it back down to Columbia since then, so it will be cool for them to come to family weekend again this year now that I’m a senior.
Homecoming week: Cockstock, parade, step show
Something I love about Homecoming Week is seeing different generations of Gamecocks come back to campus for a weekend. It’s tangible proof that what they say is true – you’re a student for a short time, but a Gamecock for a lifetime! The weekend is a great opportunity for alumni to come back to campus for a few days and reminisce on their time spent at South Carolina. For current students, the week leading up to the football game is full of awesome events like Cockstock, which is a concert held on campus. There is also a parade, a dance competition and a step show!
Fall break comes halfway through the semester just when you need a break from school. Whether you spend it staycationing right here in Columbia or use the four-day weekend as a chance to take a road trip with friends, you’ll definitely appreciate the days off. Over fall break my freshman year, my roommate and I stayed in a cabin near Asheville, North Carolina, and went hiking in the Blue Ridge Mountains. That was definitely one of my highlights of freshman year!
Tiger Burn/Clemson game
The anticipation leading up to the first football game of the season is intense, but it’s nothing compared to the hype surrounding the Clemson game. The week before the game, which is over Thanksgiving weekend, everyone gathers to watch a giant wooden tiger go up in flames. The Carolina-Clemson rivalry dates all the way back to 1896, and the history is pretty interesting! A brawl that broke out after South Carolina’s 12-6 victory in 1902 caused the rivalry game to take a seven-year hiatus, but the game has been played every year since 1909. Go Gamecocks!
After all the excitement of fall semester, the last thing students have to look forward to is winter break. The moment when you walk out of your last final in December is amazing. However, it only takes a week of being at home for me to start looking forward to getting back to school! For me, the end of finals this fall semester will be exciting as well as bittersweet. I’m graduating in December, so I can only hope that I can squeeze in as many exciting moments as possible into these next few months.