By Curt Yeomans
Stephanie and Fred White had different opinions on Thursday about when they would begin to miss daughter, Porshia Rigaud, after dropping her off at Laker Hall, Clayton State University's new student housing complex.
The Whites recently moved from Hampton to Albany, which is about a three- hour drive from Morrow.
Rigaud, 18, a graduate of Dutchtown High School in Hampton, is their oldest child. She will study business management at Clayton State.
Rigaud's mother was expecting to break down into tears on the elevator as it descended to the first floor of the housing complex. Her father said it would not hit him until he was driving down the on-ramp merging into Interstate 75 traffic. When asked who would be calling their daughter everyday, the proud parents pointed at each other and laughed.
"It's probably going to be her father, because they are so close, but I'm going to be calling a lot too -- Asking if everything is going OK; if she is being well taken care of, or if she needs me to come up and decorate her room," Stephanie White said. "She's probably going to be like, 'Geez mom, I'm all right, you don't need to worry so much.'"
Thursday was the first day Clayton State students could move into the student housing complex. It is the first year the school has made on-campus housing available.
University Spokesman John Shiffert said at least 70 percent of the 415 students who signed up to live in the facility arrived on the first day. Students will continue to move in until Saturday. Classes begin at the university on Monday.
In another wing of the student housing, Riverdale resident, Elaine Edwards, whose first born son, Allen, is starting college this year, said it won't be too hard dealing with him going off to college.
Allen Edwards, 18, and a graduate of North Clayton High School, moved into Laker Hall on Thursday, with assistance from his mother; his grandmother, Imogene Edwards, and his younger brother, Joshua.
"I expect him to send me an e-mail and a call at least once a week, letting me know how he's doing, as well as a copy of his class schedule and all of the syllabuses from his classes," said his mother as they walked down the third-floor hallway toward her son's room. "I want to be kept abreast of how he's doing."
Several freshmen were excited about starting college, and exploring their newfound independence.
Edwards said he's been looking forward to college since he heard his mother talking about it when he was a young boy. "I am excited about meeting a lot of new friends, and making new connections," he said. "College is where you make friendships that will last a long time."
Elsewhere, Leslie Morrison, 18, and a pre-nursing major from Decatur, said she wanted to join a sorority while she was at Clayton State. "I'm looking forward to meeting new people, learning new stuff and having fun," she said.
Morrison wasted no time making new friends after she moved into Laker Hall on Thursday. By the afternoon, she had made a new friend in Sheila Sua, 19, and also a pre-nursing major. She graduated from Eagle's Landing High School in Stockbridge. Sua said she doubts she will get homesick since the college is less than 30 minutes from her home.
Even though Sua now has some independence, she still has to obey her parents. As her parents were getting ready to leave the housing complex on Thursday, they laid down a few ground rules about what she could and could not do in college.
"They just said simple stuff, like don't let any boys in my room," Sua said.