Brianna Duncan and her parents drove 200 miles in the pouring rain last night to arrive in time for her first day at Stephens College this morning.
She had already tamped down one case of nervous hives on the long ride and was hoping her excitement about moving in would override her nerves.
“I’m so happy to be here!” Duncan said.
The Cape Girardeau, Mo., native is the first among her family’s four children to attend college. Her parents couldn’t be more proud or more certain that Stephens is the right fit for their daughter.
“We come from a very rural area, and we didn’t want her jumping into a major university where she might feel overwhelmed,” Amanda Duncan said. “Stephens is just the right size and has everything she needs.”
Duncan, a pre-med major, is one of about 200 new students moving into their residence halls today. They will enjoy four days of orientation before classes begin next week. Faculty, staff and student volunteers were on hand to help unload cars and carry belongings to dorm rooms.
Amanda Debevec and her parents traveled 850 miles from their home in the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. Stephens was one of the few schools that offered a major in event and convention management. But the icing on the cake was the beauty of the campus and the people she met when she came to visit.
“I fell in love with Stephens,” she said.
It was Madelaine Manyx’s mom who first discovered Stephens online and thought a women’s college would be the perfect fit for her daughter. Once Manyx, a psychology major from St. Louis, toured the campus and learned more about the college, she was convinced her mom was right.
“I’m pretty excited to be here,” she said.
In Pillsbury Hall, Brittany Adams of Charleston, Mo., sat on her bed, clutching her Chihuahua/terrier mix named Lucky close to her chest. Her mom and grandma busied themselves, unloading boxes and putting away clothes.
“I’m pretty nervous about fitting in,” Adams said. “But I’m rooming with my best friends, and I have Lucky who will help me make friends.”
Adams said it was Stephens’ pet program that first attracted her to the college. Then, when she learned she could major in pre-vet, the decision to attend was easy.
Her mom, Traci Jaynes, is still getting used to the idea of her first child leaving home.
“I’m a bundle of nerves,” she said. “I’m feeling all kinds of emotions.”
Natalie Irlmeier of O’Fallon, Mo., was auditioning at the International Thespian Conference in St. Louis, when Rob Doyen, a theatre professor at Stephens, saw her and recommended the college.
Her parents are thrilled with their daughter’s choice. She’ll be majoring in musical theatre. Plus, Natalie’s older twin sisters will be starting their senior year at the University of Missouri and can keep an eye on her.
“We’re so excited to have her here,” Sharon Irlmeier said. “This is a great fit for Natalie.”
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