Gillian Scharf Furman University

Class of 2015
Hometown: Louisville, KY.

When I studied abroad in South Africa, I talked to another American Sociology major there and the things they were talking about in class made me really appreciate the classes we take here at Furman.

Life as a Sociology Major

  • Why did you decide to come to Furman?

      I decided to come to Furman because of the atmosphere. I was choosing between two schools, and I liked them both for different reasons. But the atmosphere and campus community at Furman were perfect for me.

  • Why did you decide to be a Sociology major?

      Originally, I came to Furman to be a psychology major. I took a psychology class and thought it was really interesting, but my advisor recommended sociology after learning what appealed to me. Psychology is more focused on the individual. And sociology is more focused on how people interact with each other and their behaviors within the group. I ended up liking that more.

  • Best experience in the department:

      When I studied abroad in South Africa, I talked to a sociology major there from a different school. The things they were talking about in class made me really appreciate the classes we take here at Furman.

  • Favorite class:

      Youth and Adolescence. Dr. Longest is a really good professor and it was a small class with only 11 students. The course is discussion based, and it's all stuff I'm interested in: why kids grow up, and why people do so many extracurricular activities. A lot of it is relevant to Furman students.

  • Favorite professor:

      Dr. Kooistra. He taught my introductory class and he was really great and engaging. Then, he taught my criminology class, which turned out to be one of my favorite classes. He's also my advisor and a really awesome person.

Helpful Tips

  • Choosing a major:

      Take a lot of general classes first. Pay attention to your professors because those are the people that really make up the major. If you don't like your professors, you won't like doing work for them and you won't like your major. And it needs to be something you're interested in.

  • Studying:

      Work ahead. Don't procrastinate. And don't be afraid to ask for help. Furman students generally believe they can do anything by themselves, but the more you ask for help, the more the professor gets to know you and the more accommodating they'll be.

  • Getting involved on campus:

      Don't do too much too quickly. Take time to get to know everyone and every organization, and be as involved as you can be without being overwhelmed. 

  • Making friends:

      Embrace your awkward. Coming to Furman and being in a new environment is scary and everyone is scared. I don't think I realized that when I was a freshmanthat everyone around me was nervous too. But once you get over that and realize that this is where you'll be spending a good amount of time, you need to get out of your shell and not be nervous.

  • Living on campus:

      As you get older, you have more options at Furman. During your freshman year, you're thrown in with a bunch of strangers and that's where you can meet a core group of friends. Then, as a sophomore, you can pick who you live with. Once you find a core group of friends to live with, it becomes more enjoyable.

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