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For Freshmen, It's a Brave New World : Cal Lutheran: Undergraduates' first assignment is to adjust to roommates and independence. Their classes begin today.

September 01, 1993|CONSTANCE SOMMER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Classes hadn't even started Tuesday afternoon, but already Cal Lutheran University freshman Jennifer Christian felt right at home as she savored her newfound freedom.

"My mom's all worried I'd be depressed and homesick," said Christian, 18, who moved last weekend from her parents' home in Port Hueneme to a dorm on the Thousand Oaks campus. "But it's like, not really."

As Cal Lutheran geared up for the start of its fall semester, students queued up to buy books, greeted classmates and anticipated the start of undergraduate classes, which for most will begin this morning.

University officials are expecting an undergraduate enrollment of about 1,850, up about 15 students from last year. The fall semester for graduate students will begin next Tuesday. Graduate enrollment figures for the fall are not in yet, but last year 1,136 students enrolled in the university's graduate programs, officials said.

Cal Lutheran's Class of 1997 arrived on campus Saturday for orientation. Many freshmen were easily spotted across campus as they clung to each other in small groups.

Freshman Tina Nemling, 18, moved into a double dorm room last weekend from the comfort of her own bedroom at her parents' house in Valencia. Looking around at her room--already decorated with plants, bookshelves and a framed prom picture--Nemling said she liked having a roommate, but wondered if she would ever have time to herself again.

"Having a roommate is like having a sister," she said. "The only problem is I don't have much privacy."

Nemling said she chose Cal Lutheran partially to be close to her boyfriend, Trent Boser, 18, who still has a year of high school left in Valencia.

"I wish I had another week" until school started, she said. "I'm kind of nervous. I don't know how hard my classes are going to be, and how much work I have."

In the cafeteria at noon, Jennifer Roberts, 18, and Emily Aurich, 17, both freshmen, ate lunch in the middle of a long, otherwise empty, picnic table. They are roommates and, since Saturday, friends.

Aurich moved to Thousand Oaks from Vacaville, a suburb of Sacramento. Roberts came to Cal Lutheran from Ventura. College loomed ahead of them as a big unknown, they said.

Aurich wondered what it would be like to have independence. "It's so different from high school, the way it's set up," she said. "You have to go to class on your own and it's more of a responsibility."

Roberts worried that she would never be able to remember all the information and rules that orientation counselors tried to explain over the weekend. "Yeah, it's a lot," Aurich agreed, "and classes haven't even started yet."

The biggest surprise Roberts faced so far, though, may have been her textbook bill--a whopping $210. "I thought it was a lot until I found out what she paid," she said, gesturing to her friend. Aurich's bill for the semester came to $338.

Upperclassmen were just beginning to return to campus Tuesday, but those already strolling about the campus looked considerably more relaxed than their younger counterparts.

Erik Kennedy, 20, a junior, said he was glad to be back after a summer working at a dry cleaners. "I just want to concentrate on studying," he said.

His friend, Glenn Hoxie, 19, said college would be a welcome respite from an indulgent summer of traveling through Europe and moving his brother to an Army base in North Dakota. "In summer, you get into kind of an idle mode," he said. "I'm ready to settle down and hit the books again."

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