Terry Causey was trying to be strong Thursday as he helped move his oldest daughter, a 17-year-old freshman, into her new dorm room at LSU’s Herget Hall.
Across Baton Rouge, thousands of parents are grappling with the same emotions, as thousands of students poured into town for Monday’s start of the fall semester at Southern University, Baton Rouge Community College and LSU.
The weekend leading up to the start of classes was filled with activities. Students took part in community service projects, met with their teachers and learned where their classes would be.
“I haven’t cried yet, but I might,” said Causey, a New Orleans native. “My daughter told me to wait until December before I start calling. She was offered a chance to go to Tulane, but she chose LSU. She wanted her independence.”
Angela Causey was handling things much better. The pre-med student joined about 5,600 other LSU undergraduates who moved into LSU’s 20 residence halls and two apartment complexes last week.
Although she’s “not at all familiar with Baton Rouge,” Angela Causey said she has a few friends from back home who will be on campus with her to help her adjust.
Down the hall, Carlie Hutti, 18, a freshman from Covington, said she was going through the same thing.
Her excitement about entering a new phase in her life was tempered somewhat in knowing her mother and grandparents were a little sad to leave campus without her.
Hutti’s mom, Erin Gonzales, said she cried “here and there” in the week leading up to her oldest child’s move.
“I’ll be calling daily. With technology the way it is today, she’d better at least text me,” Gonzales said.
Hutti’s grandfather, Allen Hutti, had a more practical approach toward his granddaughter’s new college career.
“I think she’ll be fine. If you can survive the first year, the rest will go much easier,” he said.
Across town, at Southern, about 1,900 students had moved into on-campus housing as of Friday.
Sophomore nursing student Tiara Syria, 19, of Houston, was running some last-minute errands in Southern’s administration building last week, away from the hurried pace of the residence halls.
In starting her second year away from home, Syria said both she and her mom are handling the experience well.
“I’m more familiar with everything, so I’m a little more relaxed this year,” she said.
Syria said she expects her mother, Olivia Winbush, also to be more laid back this school year.
“I’m the oldest of three, so she was really nervous for me last year. She was calling me every day. I don’t think it will be like that this year,” Syria said.
Jasmine Matthews, 20, of New Iberia, is another student who was able to look at the start of the school year with the serene outlook of an upperclassman.
The junior criminal justice major, with an eye toward attending law school in the future, said she’s seen Southern progress from having a frenetic registration experience when she first enrolled to the orderly process in place now.
“I’m always looking for big things with Southern,” Matthews said. “They always surprise me in a good way.”
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