First-year Ray Morris rocks a Pepperdine T-shirt in Mount Laurel, Ala., after enrolling as a student in April. Morris said she visited and fell in love with the Malibu campus during her first year of high school when her dad took her family on a trip to Los Angeles and San Diego.
Photos courtesy of Ray Morris
First-year Ray Morris moved to Los Angeles in September and began pursuing her passion for business and creating a name for herself in the fashion industry. Morris began juggling a modeling career, an internship with Summit One Source and a full-time class schedule — all while adjusting to living in a new environment 2,000 miles from her home state.
Before moving, Morris lived in Vestavia Hills, a small, southern town in Birmingham, Ala., but she said she dreamed of experiencing something new and different, outside of her home state.
“I really had a strong desire to get out and learn more — I just wanted to experience other things and cultures and more people, and I love the beach,” Morris said. “The beach is my happy place, so to be so close to it makes me so happy.”
Morris is an International Business major and she said she dreams of working in the fashion industry. Growing up, Morris watched her parents navigate the business world, which inspired her to follow in their footsteps and delve into that field.
Morris said she’s gained firsthand experience working in fashion through modeling with No Ties Model Management. Morris began her modeling career five years ago and she said she’s picked up many useful skills along the way.
“I picked up photography and hair and makeup and some of the business side of it, so I’m really interested to keep developing my passion in that and I could see myself going into high fashion branding,” Morris said.
After moving to Los Angeles, Morris said she began an internship with Summit One Source focusing on development in international and domestic partnerships. She’s currently working on a project that provides COVID-19 testing for the NCAA basketball bubbles.
While Morris successfully took advantage of the numerous business opportunities Los Angeles has to offer, she’s also learned to balance her workload and social life. Although Morris has not yet walked on campus as a student, she said she’s been able to meet a lot of new people through messaging other students in her Zoom classes.
“I have loved meeting everyone, even though it’s kind of weird messaging people on Zoom,” Morris said. “But just the friendships I’ve made in different classes, like my first-year seminar, it’s been really cool to just hear where everyone’s from in the introductions and see people are in China, Ireland, England or I’ve also had people in my classes from India. It’s just been insane to just know that all these people are going to one school.”
Morris joined a sorority, Kappa Kappa Gamma, and she said she’s loved being able to connect with her sorority sisters over Zoom and in her pledge class group chat.
Through attending Pepperdine and moving to Los Angeles, Morris said she’s learned invaluable life lessons. While she was nervous to move, she’s been able to build close friendships by staying true to herself.
“I think the biggest lesson I learned is just to be your genuine self. Be nice to everyone. There are so many incredible people here,” Morris said. “You never know who you’re going to meet. Don’t be nervous. There are so many people and so many friendships and so many opportunities. You just have to be open to them and be ready to experience California life.”
Follow the Graphic on Twitter: @PeppGraphic
Contact Kayla Kahrl: email@example.com