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When my parents moved me into my Green Quad dorm in 2019, I didn鈥檛 think we'd find ourselves lugging the blue Ikea bags up the yellow brick stairs in sweat-soaked clothes again in 2022 鈥 only this time to move my little sister in. But here we are.

But I knew long before I piled my car up with clothing-stuffed trash bags and buckled-in plants that Columbia would soon become my home.聽

As I鈥檓 entering my fourth and final year, I don鈥檛 want the days of eagerly waiting to see the green highway signs read 鈥淐olumbia鈥 to end.聽

To my sister (and all freshmen): don鈥檛 worry. This will be a year of change. You鈥檒l make new friends, and probably lose some, struggle in some classes while others are a breeze, get lost once or twice and trip on the way to class.聽

It鈥檒l all be okay: this is a learning experience. Most of all, just be who you are. Don鈥檛 try to change yourself for any experience or person 鈥 everything is new, so just go with it. I promise you鈥檒l find your place.聽

To our sophomores and juniors: welcome back! You鈥檙e in that sweet spot where you鈥檙e no longer new but still have lots of time left in Columbia.聽

These were the years I focused on school and my career, which I鈥檓 so thankful I did. But don鈥檛 forget to go to the football games, explore the city and grow your relationships.聽

To my fellow seniors: let鈥檚 soak it all in. I know far too much of my experience was clouded by COVID-19 precautions or worrying about what grade I would get on an assignment. But we only have a semester or two left, and I plan to make mine count.聽

I鈥檝e made better friends and mentors than I could have imagined, and I want to spend my final months making memories in their company.聽

And to everyone else in our Carolina community: Aren鈥檛 you so glad your students are home?聽

Whether you were in town or away this summer, this edition has you covered with everything you need to know.聽

From getting a new president and revamping our dining experience to a look ahead at the football and concert seasons, turn the page to get a reminder of what makes this place so special.聽

Welcome home,聽

Kailey Cota聽