This fall, Regent welcomed 400 freshmen and transfer students from 38 states and seven different countries. When these new students arrived, they encountered the various struggles and opportunities of college life. Yet,
freshmen shared that Regent’s community encourages them in the transition and makes the new experience worthwhile.
Freshmen experience a wide range of challenges. Some feel they’ve forgotten everything they learned in their high school English class and don’t know where to place a comma. Others think it’s easier to cross the Atlantic than make the long walk to the Classroom Building. They face the classic work/school/social balance dilemma. They try adjusting to the unique college learning structure. They miss home. While college is exciting, it can be daunting to say goodbye to high school friends and start fresh. “It’s been a learning curve to put myself out there [again] and establish a friend group,” Chloe Warren commented. But despite the challenge, our freshmen came in with some great ideas about how to cultivate community.
“One of the best ways I’ve found is to take a genuine interest in other people,” shared Mark Tomlet. “You’d be surprised how rare it is to find someone who sincerely asks how you are. The surest way to people’s hearts is to show them you recognize their importance. I also strive to never forget a single name. Remembering a person’s name is the sweetest and most important sound to them in any language.”
Commenting on the value of being interested in and friendly to others, Gabriel Brown remarked that one of his good friends initiated their relationship by randomly striking up a conversation with him in the student lounge. This open approach is something many of the freshmen mentioned doing; “I started getting out of my comfort zone by introducing myself to people I don’t know and people in my classes,” Kiersten Johnson stated.
Many freshmen also noted the benefit of shared activities like classes or events. “Classes are a good jumping-off point because you’re already going the same direction with somebody, so it’s easy to fall in step with them,” shared Christina Brooks. Similarly, Cassie Tesselaar noted that her animation class always hangs out together: “We’ll go to the dorms or Moka to chill and work on assignments.”
Beyond purposefully meeting people, many freshmen have been struck simply by Regent’s culture of friendship. Navy ROTC student Berenice Blanton shared, “Every time I set foot on this campus, I feel an unexplainable peace. I am miles away from my family, but I have found a new family: my Regent family.”
Bryant Loftis noted that the upperclassmen have a role in Regent’s culture of inclusion, saying they’ve been “very kind” in a range of ways, from “helping with random little things like Turabian format” to personally investing in him. He shared that he and his dorm mate have been invited with their RA and small group leaders “at least three or four times to just get food and talk.”
As upperclassmen, it can be tempting to stay within the comfort zone of an established friend group and not extend an invitation to the “freshies.” However, it is essential to build connections among our entire student body. Upperclassmen have the unique opportunity to offer advice to those just starting out. In return, new students offer a fresh perspective on campus life and can push upperclassmen out of their apathy. Including freshmen, especially in organizations and clubs, ensures that the campus life and culture everyone loves will continue to thrive, even after all the seniors graduate.
The freshmen class of 2026 has already started getting connected and making their mark at Regent University. We are so excited to watch this class grow, influence Regent culture and make a difference in the world.