Phaidra Knight’s first class doesn’t start until nine in the morning on Monday, but the new Pacific Union College freshman is already making PUC home. Like the rest of her peers in the PUC Class of 2018, Knight arrived on campus with a car full of boxes on September 17 for new student orientation ready to join the PUC community.
“It’s happy and sad all at the same time,” shared Phaidra’s mother Sheilvina Knight as she left the Family Orientation session. “With college, once you start it’s like you’re an adult. It’s a big difference between high school and college, so I’m teary-eyed.”
Though the moment can be bittersweet for families like the Knights, the PUC faculty and staff were excited to have the new students on campus. Many faculty members welcomed the new students by helping them move in to the residence halls, making multiple trips back and forth to the parking lot and travelling up and down many sets of stairs as part of Porter Power.
Lary Taylor, professor of business administration, experienced a few special moments while moving in children of his former students. “The surprised looks and comments from parents and their children when seven or eight people (with matching t-shirts) show up around their car is a priceless moment that never gets old!” Taylor said.
“It is also very meaningful to pray with the family after we have moved everything in. I pray that we—faculty, staff and administration—will take care of their children,” Taylor continued. “Many times I have had the parents break down in tears as they realize that they are leaving their children in our care. Yet, a prayer expressing our desire to take care of their children is important to them. It is a very moving experience!”
A Family Orientation program helped make students and their parents feel further at ease with the transition. PUC President Heather J. Knight welcomed the families and introduced important campus figures, including Academic Dean Nancy Lecourt and Vice President for Student Services Lisa Paulson. PUC Chaplains Jonathan Henderson and Shantel Smith also greeted families before a question and answer session with the directors of important campus services.
Knight, a mother herself, empathized with the experience of the parents. “I share your feelings of joy as well as a small amount of sadness,” she explained before Henderson came forward to offer a special prayer of blessing on the students, their families, and the campus community. Henderson was at the orientation as both chaplain and a parent; his daughter Jessica is also a new freshman at PUC. Following the orientation, the new students and their parents were welcomed to the PUC family with a special meal in the Dining Commons.
The arrival of the new students is an especially rewarding moment for PUC’s enrollment services team. "The enrollment team and I feel blessed to have gotten the chance to work with each new PUC student over this past year, and we couldn’t be more proud," commented J.R. Rogers, director of recruitment. “The best part of our job, and what makes our crazy travel schedules worth it, is getting to know the students, and we're excited to see the difference they’ll make to our PUC community these next four years." Rogers and his coworkers are already on the road again, visiting high schools and attending college fairs to meet next year’s freshmen.
With the last boxes are unpacked and goodbyes are said, the newest members of the PUC community have a few more days of orientation meetings and the spiritual and social experience of the Fusion Retreat to look forward to before classes start on September 22. While Phaidra Knight is looking forward to the start of her college experience, there’s one thing she’s not looking forward to: “I’ll have to transition from the summer of sleeping in!”