Back to class


Makaissa Yarmah (left) and Annamarie Jones talk outside the Hurlburt Student Center on the first day of classes.

Annamarie Jones and Makaissa Yarmah sat at a table outside the Hurlburt Student Center on a picturesque Monday morning smiling and chatting about their experiences during the first day of classes at Radford University.

Jones, a junior fashion merchandising major from Virginia Beach, had already gotten started on the fall semester that morning with her history of fashion design class.

“It was really fun,” she said. “Dr. [John] Jacob is a great professor, and he makes the class really interesting.”

Jones is looking forward to using the upcoming school year to prepare for a summer internship. “I get to pick two locations, research them and then figure out what I want to do,” she said. “It’s exciting.”

For Yarmah, it was her first day taking classes at Radford. The junior from Roanoke – she’s originally from Liberia – transferred to RU from Virginia Western Community College. She already had one class, microeconomics, in the books for the day.

“It was really interesting. It wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be,” she said laughing.

Yarmah, a management major, also was a little nervous about her upcoming statistics class. “I can do algebra and calculus, but for some reason, statistics class scares me,” she said.

However, Yarmah is feeling at home on the RU campus. “Radford is very different,” she said. “It’s very diverse, and I get to meet a lot of different people from different places.”

Just a few tables down sat three nursing majors, laughing and talking about the semester ahead.

“I’m excited, but a little overwhelmed,” said Jessica Akers, a junior from Richmond. “We have a lot going on this semester.” Her friend Toni Bruno, a junior from Warrenton, agreed.

“But nursing is the best major on campus,” chimed in friend Dana Constanzer, a senior from Richmond.

Kathleen Orrick would likely agree.

She sat at a table on the second floor of the College of Business and Economics Building with her laptop open and notes set to the side, eagerly awaiting her next class to begin.

“It’s something I’ve been passionate about for a long time,” Orrick said about studying nursing. “I have a lot of relatives who are in that field who have inspired me.”

Orrick said she transferred to Radford University because of its nursing program’s reputation.

“I know it’s going to be rough, and the program here is really competitive, which is why I wanted to come here,” she said. “The nursing program is very impressive. When I visited last year, I fell in love with it. Everyone here was very friendly and they made me feel at home.”


From left: Nursing majors Jessica Akers, Toni Bruno and Dana Constanzer talk and laugh outside the Hurlburt Student Center Monday morning on the first day of classes.

Logan Salyers has called Radford University home for four years. He has one more semester at the university before his scheduled December graduation. He’s excited, but feels a little “extra pressure” for his last semester on campus.

“It’s an exciting time, but it makes me a little nervous,” said the business management major from Richlands. “I’ll be getting everything going toward a career and then get pushed out into the real world.”

When asked the one thing he wanted to accomplish most this academic year, Andrew Ponn, a senior physical health and education teaching major from Luray, answered. “Learn. I really want to learn more about my major and gain the tools to become a great teacher.”

Ponn was sitting in Peters Hall with friend Cairo Craig, a junior from Martinsville, who also is studying to be a physical education teacher.

Cairo said he still gets a little nervous before classes each year, but he can’t pinpoint the reason.

“It’s just one of those things were you go three months without having a class,” Cairo said. “You get used to having a job over the summer, and then you come back and it’s a change of pace.”

Speaking of pace, Cairo teased Ponn about his walk to his first class Monday morning. “I got there really early,” said Ponn, claiming he misjudged the distance he needed to walk. “I need leave later next time.”

“Or walk a lot slower,” Cairo joked.

Sep 1, 2015