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Brenau University students prepare for 1st day of class
Brenau University freshman Kayla Daniel, a studio art major from Palm Coast, Fla., organizes her desk inside her dorm room at Crudup Hall Wednesday during move-in day. Classes for Brenau students begin Monday. - photo by SARA GUEVARA

First-year Brenau University students are moved in and settled, arranging their rooms as they get ready for the first day of class.

On Wednesday, students, parents, siblings and boyfriends lugged handfuls of clothes, books and refrigerators into Brenau's dorm rooms. Most arrived in the morning, leaving the afternoon to decorate rooms and stuff clothes into closets.

"It's so hot and a lot of work," said Allison Person, a freshman from Riverdale who wants to study broadcast journalism. "This is where a co-ed school would come in handy so we could have help from guys, but we'll build muscles."

The students unloaded cars and then attended lunch and convocation before saying goodbye to parents.

"It's a little nerve-wracking to move in, and I realized I didn't bring enough clothes," said Ashley Long as she and roommate Jordan Bryant, both from Cumming, moved around items in their Crudup Hall room. "I put all of them in my closet and still have a lot of space."

Bryant, who has known Long since first grade, joked they rearranged furniture "at least 12 times."

"We had to move a desk because apparently it's a fire hazard to block the windows," she said with a laugh. "This afternoon we have info sessions and then will try to comfort our parents before the waterworks start."

Long, who wants to study occupational therapy, and Bryant, who wants to be a physician's assistant, came to Brenau because of the small campus, the close-knit atmosphere and scholarship money.

"We have Spanish together and will both take college algebra but at different times," Long said. "It'll be great to study together."

For Kayla Daniel, starting class at Brenau is like coming back home. She grew up in Gainesville but moved to Palm Coast, Fla., for the past five years. Thanks to scholarship money, she's able to attend her first-choice college to study studio art.

"Today is exciting and stressful because I don't know if I have the right things. But I'm excited about class on Monday, most definitely. I'm a nerd," she said. "I got back in town last Sunday, and it's hard to remember where places are. I don't want to get lost."

Heading back home for college brings both freedom and security, she said. Dad doesn't mind it either.

"We've stayed in touch, and I'm excited and glad," said David Daniel. "I told her that although she's out on her own, I'm still a phone call away if she needs anything."

Other freshman carried their possessions to the top of Bailey Hall, which students have nicknamed "Mt. Bailey."

"It's horrible with so many steps, but moving in is fun and overwhelming," said Jackie Willis, who brought along her parents, boyfriend and brother for help. "There are also mixed emotions. We're going from the top of the totem pole to the bottom."

Willis, a fashion design major, is rooming with Cierra Bigbey, a pre-medicine and biology major, and the two think the diverse majors will balance each other. They attended Lumpkin County High School together and have been friends for years.

"We graduated in a class of 100 people, and you came in knowing everybody," Bigbey said. "We chose Brenau because of the small size. It was my first choice."

As the first-year students moved around the halls Wednesday, resident assistants handed out keys and answered questions.

"I feel old," junior Alicia Pruet said with a smile. "I feel like I was just doing this. I can remember everything, like being sweaty while carrying in my stuff and making several trips to Walmart for things I forgot."