Pepperdine’s housing opens its doors after a year-and-a-half of shut down. Students said they were excited to live in a dorm and call it home. Photo by Nicole Wong
Starting college, moving into dorm rooms and saying goodbye to loved ones is a rite of passage for many young adults. After a year-and-a-half of Pepperdine’s campus-wide shutdown, this year’s move-in day holds more sentiment.
Seaver College welcomed students to campus in early August, but on-campus residents officially moved in Aug. 29. The campus returned to full operational status Aug. 30 including residence halls, packed with students eager for the school year.
This year, first-year, sophomore and transfer students will all experience campus life and the Pepperdine community in person for the first time.
Sophomore and Resident Advisor Timothy Jackson lived on campus during the 2021 summer sessions, which he said allowed him to familiarize himself with campus and make this transition a little more smooth.
“I think that helped me a lot, so now I’m in a better position [than] I would have been if I didn’t take a summer class,” Jackson said.
For RAs, move-in day can be hectic. An increased amount of students moving in and technical difficulties made this year’s move-in day particularly challenging.
“It’s really just learning how to adapt within the moment, and trying to get the best solution that you can provide to students and their parents,” Jackson said.
For first-year Lauren Brajavich, she said living on campus has been everything she ever dreamed of.
“I really feel so certain that this is the right school for me now,” Brajavich said. “I really feel at home here.”
Brajavich moved in along with other first-years on Aug. 24 and said she was surprised to see orientation leaders immediately greet her and her dad and help them bring all her boxes to her room in Seaside Hall. This residence hall isn’t typically meant for first-years, but, with an influx of students living on campus, upper-level and even graduate housing opened its doors to underclassmen.
Living in upper-level housing makes meeting fellow first-years harder for her but Brajavich said she’s enjoyed living with her sophomore suitemates to whom Housing and Residence Life randomly paired her. Brajavich is grateful she has become close with her roommates.
“Growing up I just had a brother, so I’ve never gotten that experience of living with a bunch of girls and sharing clothes,” Brajavich said. “We’ve been doing movie nights every night and it feels like a sleepover every night. It’s super fun.”
Sophomore Nathania Au lives in Towers and shares a room—a change from her usual living situation back home. Au said she got lucky with finding a roommate who is similar to her — which made it easier to adapt to living with another person for the first time. Her roommate is a sophomore and a Graphic staff writer, Liza Esquibias.
Before move-in day, the pair brainstormed a cohesive aesthetic for their room. Au said they chose a color palette with pastel pinks, sage green and hues of purple. Decorating her room to her own style was something Au always envisioned.
“I’ve always had the same room in [my] childhood,” Au said. “I never changed anything, so it’s like I’ve gotta have everything I want.”
Au said she and her roommate also agree on taking the necessary precautions to combat COVID-19 while living on campus, which was comforting to Au who has concerns. Their room is filled with disinfecting spray and wipes ready for when they bring in outside items.
Senior Emma Floberg also has COVID-19 concerns in regard to living on campus but said she feels reassured by Pepperdine’s protocols and preparedness.
“COVID-19 was hard for everyone, but I think especially college students just because you have in your mind that expectation of what college is going to look like whether it’s from TV shows, movies or people talking to you about their college experience,” Floberg said.
Floberg came to Pepperdine in the 2021 school year as a junior transfer student. Although she is an upper-level student, the campus is new to her.
Floberg said she thought of living off-campus this year, but the lively community and beautiful views from the residence halls pulled her in. Floberg feels less alone and found a sense of belonging on campus.
“[College is] not supposed to be logging on and logging off and being so isolated,” Floberg said. “Part of college is getting to be around so many people all the time and having that balance. Transitioning back to dorm life has been such a sweet reminder of that.”
Moving all the way from Indiana, Floberg took a road trip down to Malibu, thus she didn’t have room in her car for anything outside of necessities. Floberg made sure that any extra space in her car was meant for room decor that held sentimental value and reminded her of home. One of these items is one of her most prized possessions: her cowboy hat.
“I was packing all my belongings in the car and I had my cowboy hat on top,” Floberg said. “My dad was like, ‘You don’t need your cowboy hat,’ and I was like ‘Yes I do, you don’t understand that part of me.’”
Despite the chaos that comes with move-in day, students from all ends of the campus said they are simply just happy to be here.
“I’ve had the best experience,” Brajevich said. “I feel like I can really be myself here and I don’t need to hide anything.”
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