A photograph from this year’s PRE festivities. Photo courtesy of Sewanee: The University of the South’s facebook page.

By Sophie Smith and Elizabeth Anthony
Contributing Writers

Freshman year of college is perhaps the most intimidating time of young adulthood, especially after spending 18 years living at home. In order to make the transition a little less terrifying, Sewanee offers two programs for incoming students before the official start of school.

FYP and PRE allow students to arrive on campus before orientation, creating smaller groups of people that make adjusting to the environment easier and more fluid. However, the question that many incoming freshman must ask themselves remains unanswered: which is better, FYP or PRE? To help answer this question, a few students who did one of the two programs shared their thoughts and experiences.

FYP, which stands for “Finding Your Place,” begins two weeks before orientation, and students spend that time taking classes and going on field trips to explore the University of the South’s beautiful campus and surrounding land. Students spend the two weeks developing a capstone project to be presented at the end of the program. Once classes begin, students continue the course as a weekly study of a specific topic. The course ends sooner than regular classes, allowing students to focus more on their other classes.

Students enrolled in PRE also arrive early and explore the campus, but it is ultimately a very different experience. They arrive three days before classes begin and are split into “families” with upperclassmen serving as the student’s “mom” and “dad.” Each family has seven to nine “siblings” with whom they spend nearly every moment of the coming days.

Families participate in various outdoor activities, including caving, canoeing, low ropes, hiking, and many more, and spend the final night camping with their “families.” Both programs have a lot of benefits, and it seems that students enjoy whichever one they choose.

Sara Brandenburg (C’22), who participated in FYP, “loved the intensive class time and field trips [the students] went on” and appreciated the opportunity to “truly know the Sewanee campus and have it feel like home.” Brandenburg’s experiences on FYP helped her to feel comfortable at Sewanee and get a head start on her studies.

John Godbold (C’22) was a participant of PRE and absolutely loved it: “PRE was a freeing experience that led me to meet people and make new friends.”

Ultimately, neither program is better than the other, and whichever choice an incoming student makes is bound to put them on a path to making lifelong friends and finding a home at Sewanee. As Brandenburg said, “It was an amazing experience and I wouldn’t change it at all.”