Posted on: August 8, 2022
After years of dreaming about attending the University of South Carolina, Tyler Heath stepped on campus in 2018 and began his journey as a Gamecock. Tyler was excited to get started, but he was also nervous. Coming from Pennsylvania, he did not know anyone at USC and was overwhelmed at the idea of attending a large university far from home. Though Tyler was apprehensive, his father, Jason Heath, had no lack of confidence that things would work out well. His faith in his son’s future stemmed in large part from his knowledge of University 101. He was, in fact, a USC alumni and had taken U101 30 years prior.
Tyler’s father credits his 1988 section of University 101 with helping him get engaged quickly, connect with faculty and staff, and understand and use the opportunities and resources on campus. “That gave me some extra confidence that Tyler was going to be successful, knowing that he would be in a U101 class and get a lot of the same benefits I did,” says Jason. Although he and his son took U101 thirty years apart, the course helped both of them to develop a support system and connect with resources on campus.
At the very beginning of the semester, I thought that every other freshman had it all figured out, but through U101, I learned that was not the case, that everyone was having struggles and that we’re all in this together.
- Tyler Heath
Both Tyler and Jason found that University 101’s small class size and emphasis on discussion helped them to develop community and to feel like they were not alone when confronting the challenges of transitioning to college. The emphasis on discussion in U101 helped them both learn from other students, share challenges, and see that their peers had many of the same concerns.
“At the very beginning of the semester, I thought that every other freshman had it all figured out,” says Tyler, “but through U101, I learned that was not the case, that everyone was having struggles and that we’re all in this together.” Both Jason and Tyler Heath credit University 101 with helping them to normalize the challenges of their first year and bond with classmates. As Jason explains, “Having that experience and being able to talk about it in a smaller class environment and understand that other people had similar challenges just gives you more comfort in reaching out, trying new things, meeting new people.”
University 101 was also key in helping connect with resources at the University of South Carolina. Jason said that taking University 101 gave him “the confidence and the understanding of the resources to take advantage of all the amazing things the University has to offer”. Tyler added that one of the biggest benefits of the course was, “Learning about the history and resources available on campus,” including specific resources like “the Student Health Center, the Student Success Center, Tutoring, and the Writing Center.” For both Jason and Tyler, U101 helped to make a big school seem less overwhelming and more accessible.
University 101 was created fifty years ago, in 1972, and while the content has evolved to meet the changing needs of students, the emphasis on human connection and support has remained. Whether students like Jason enrolled in the course in the 1980s, in the 2010s like Tyler, or this coming fall, the course has continued to help students develop a community and connection to Carolina.