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By Melissa McCutchan
CIU Student Writer
Representing a record number of first-time freshmen, Columbia International University’s Class of 2018 arrived with their personal belongings crammed in cars, mini-vans, and U-Haul trailers. With the help of family and volunteer upperclassmen, the new students unloaded suitcases, while others carried bags of groceries and beloved stuffed animals into the students’ new home away from home in the CIU residence halls.
Within a few hours, most of the new students had settled in and made a few friends. That afternoon, they would begin Connect: CIU, an orientation program that assists freshmen adjusting to life at CIU.
“Connect: CIU was a lot of fun,” freshman Emily Greve said. “The [staff] are really creative with everything they do, like a silent auction and a scavenger hunt.”
Connect: CIU continued for four days, and included sessions on time management, financial aid, and spiritual formation, along with some fun events. Between sessions, students had a chance to bond with their new classmates.
“Everyone is friendly here,” freshman Jalisa Sheriod said. “I’m already making lots of new friends.”
Connect: CIU closed with a session titled “Are You Ready?,” which included a panel of upperclassmen who shared wisdom regarding the first year at CIU.
“This is going to be a crazy four years,” senior Lexi Woodward told the new students. “God is going to do a lot in your life. Use the resources you have here.”
As Connect: CIU came to a close, returning students were moving back into the residence halls. Most of them spent the day unpacking, reuniting with friends, and meeting the incoming freshmen.
“It’s fun coming into the year as an upperclassman,” junior Kayla Swails said. “I can look at the freshmen, and think, ‘Wow, that was me a few years ago.’”
Classes began with students looking forward to another year of fun and growth at CIU.
“I’m excited for this year,” junior Bethany Stewart said. “I’m excited to see what the Lord is going to do, and what adventures this year is going to hold.”