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GGC students begin classes

Amid celebratory balloon arches and raindrops, nearly 10,000 students began their first day of fall semester classes today at Georgia Gwinnett College. (Photo: GGC)

Amid celebratory balloon arches and raindrops, nearly 10,000 students began their first day of fall semester classes today at Georgia Gwinnett College. (Photo: GGC)

LAWRENCEVILLE — More than 9,000 students began the 2013-14 academic year Monday during the first day of classes at Georgia Gwinnett College.

The school, which is Georgia’s newest four-year university, saw an influx of traffic and activity as students (new and returning) were buzzing about the first day.

“It’s exciting,” said junior business major Greg Antoine. “It’s a little wet outside, but the first day of classes are always exciting.”

For second-semester freshman business major Alex Whitledge, who attended high school at Mill Creek, getting back into the swing of things is a major adjustment.

“I took off spring semester of last year because I had to work,” she said. “Coming back to school means I have to get back used to studying, going to bed early and just preparing myself for classes.”

Parking is an issue both Antoine and Whitledge discussed.

“It is what it is,” Antoine, a Dacula High graduate, said. “After a while you get used to it. The new students will learn that over the first few weeks and learn how to deal with it.”

Whitledge added that having early classes is a big advantage when it comes to parking.

“When you’re here early, you don’t have to fight the traffic and don’t have to search around for a good parking place,” she said. “I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t have early classes.”

For faculty member Mark Iken, who is the vice president of educational technology, the first week is also exciting for he and the rest of the school’s staff.

“It’s the most exciting day of the year for us,” he said. “We’re excited to bring all of the students in and help them work towards their goals.”

With a huge influx in students on campus, Iken said he and his team worked throughout the summer to get ready for the school year.

“We worked hard to make sure everything was in working order,” Iken said. “As far as I know, we haven’t had any glitches.”

Antoine said he’s seen the work that has gone into the campus, recalling back to when there were less than 1,000 students on campus.

“This school has done a lot of things and it’s only going to serve us better in the future,” he said. “I see GGC being on par with schools like Georgia and Georgia Tech one day. There’s a lot going for them, including sports, activities, class schedules, majors and more.

“This is a great place to get an education. There are so many resources available.”