4 Things Every Freshman Should Take Advantage of at Clemson

College students sitting at a pool

Starting college is one of the most exciting times of your life. Between new friends, a new campus, and adjusting to your new social life, there’s plenty of things to sink your teeth into. However, you might be nervous and ready for a few tips for freshmen year.

Clemson has one of the most unique campuses in South Carolina. With mountains, the lakes, and down-home southern culture right on your doorstep, it’s full of new experiences. 

So, where should you get started? From hiking trips and hangouts to Zoom office hours and part-time jobs, we’ve got you covered when it comes to TigerTown. Take a look at our best tips for freshmen below.

1. Social Activities

Clemson has plenty to offer when it comes to social activities. From hikes to lake time to just hanging by the pool, here’s a bunch of ideas for socializing (even with a social distancing twist).


Clemson is in the foothills of the Appalachian mountains, and there are plenty of places nearby to go hiking, no matter your skill level. Our best insider tips for freshman when it comes to hikes include:

  • Waldrop Stone Falls: Located in nearby Central SC, a twenty-minute hike through Clemson’s Experimental Forest will take you to some of the most beautiful views around. Access is relatively easy, but wear good shoes if you’re going to the main falls as the way down is pretty steep. 
  • Raven Rock Loop Trail: Beaches, lakes, waterfall, forest – what doesn’t this trail have? This 4.2-mile loop gives excellent views of Lake Jocassee and is located in Sunset, SC. It’s a great way to spend an easy morning (or afternoon) with friends, enjoying Clemson’s beautiful scenery.
  • Table Rock: If you’re looking for something truly challenging, you’ve got to try Table Rock. Located just under an hour from downtown Clemson, it’s all uphill to get to the top of this 3,100-foot mountain, and you’ll go up 2,000-feet in just over three miles. It’s worth it, though: you’ll get beautiful views of the Table Rock Reservoir, Caesar’s Head, and Pinnacle Lake. This isn’t for the faint of heart: give yourself about five hours to get up and down the mountain.

Lake Hartwell

Lake Hartwell is one of the closest and most beautiful lakes in the Clemson area. Simply drive over the bridge north of campus to access the beach, or grab a friend with a boat and spend all day catching bass, crappie, and catfish. At EPOCH, we have our own dock, complete with boat slips, and a swim dock. It’s the perfect place to take a break from studying. We’ve even got a hammock farm, so you can take in all the beautiful nature in your own backyard. 

Other Outdoor Options

If nature isn’t exactly your style, there are still plenty of places to hang out in Clemson while keeping your distance and staying safe. EPOCH residents can enjoy a beautiful pool that’s perfect when you’re looking for a fish-free place to swim, along with a pool house, patio, and access to a rooftop terrace—perfection!

2. Eateries

While eating out in Clemson might look slightly different this year, southern comfort food is definitely an important part of the Clemson experience. Check out these  staples:

  • ESSO Club: The Esso Club is Clemson’s original sports bar and the perfect place to go if you’re looking for a place to watch the game. Dine-in and takeout options are available—make sure to try the fried pickles!
  • 356 Sushi: A Clemson classic, 356 Sushi is a must-try. Dine-in and takeout options are available, and be sure to check out their unlimited sushi nights. 
  • Smokin’ Pig: From mac and cheese to sweet potato casserole, baked beans, and world-famous barbecue, The Smokin’ Pig is a one-stop-shop for an authentic southern barbecue experience. Go early to make sure they haven’t run out of their delicious sides!

3. Academic Activities

Though classes have started online, that doesn’t mean you’ll miss out on face-time with your professors or study opportunities. Take a look below for the skinny on office hours and the library. 

  • Virtual office hours: Most professors will offer virtual office hours weekly via Zoom. These office hours are class-specific, so speak to your professor about the best ways that they can help you. 
  • Libraries: All six of Clemson’s libraries will be open this autumn, but the most famous is Cooper Library. Though social distancing will make studying a bit different this year, you can still book a space to study and bring your laptop.

One of the lesser known tips for freshmen is that you shouldn’t be intimidated to ask for help. There are no stupid questions and your professors are there to assist you whether it be via zoom, email, or a quick call.

4. Employment Opportunities

Bank account in the red? The best way to handle a low-fund situation is a part-time job. No matter your interests, there are plenty of part-time jobs available in the Clemson area. These are the best places to start:

  • Clemson Part-Time Job Program: The Clemson part-time job program helps students find part-time jobs both on and off-campus. Via ClemsonJobLink, the program is regularly updated with employment opportunities from local businesses and on-campus part-time jobs posted by various departments at Clemson University. It’s a great place to get started on your job search. 
  • Contact University Departments: Fike Recreation Center and the Bookstore often have jobs and internships available—definitely worth looking into. 

Tips for Freshmen to Make this an Awesome Year

We know 2020 is a much different year than the previous, but you can still have an amazing first-time college experience. 

What’s one of our best tips for freshmen at Clemson? Don’t stress, have fun, and remember to relax and enjoy the ride! (It goes by really fast, trust us.)