My First Semester


English education major at home at KSU

KENNESAW, Ga. (Jan 13, 2020)The first semester of college is a time of tremendous transition for most students as they live on their own for the first time, adapt to more rigorous coursework and learn time management. In recognition of that, we are spotlighting students who have just completed their first semesters at Kennesaw State. Emily Williams, an Honors student pursuing a degree in English education, shares in her own words what made her first semester at KSU so memorable and meaningful.

After living in the same small mountain town in north Georgia for 18 years, moving to one of the busiest cities in the state was both the scariest and most rewarding decision I’ve ever made.

I was extremely involved in campus life, clubs and organizations in high school, which was easy to do with a graduating class of 84 students. I wanted to do the same at KSU, even though I was going from a school of a couple hundred people to one with more than 35,000. I wanted to push myself!

Emily Williams

After I posted on Instagram that I would be attending Kennesaw State, KSU Admissions reached out and offered me a free T-shirt just for declaring! I thought it was so neat that a college took the time to connect with me on an individual level. I was still months away from stepping onto the campus, but the university already was excited to have me. This was the real beginning of KSU being my home away from home.

Admissions reached out a second time over the summer and asked if I’d want to document my move-in experience. Of course, I agreed! When move-in came around, I was experiencing a hundred different emotions at once, like all freshmen do on move-in day. But as soon as Admissions met up with me, things felt like they were falling into place. I had felt welcomed to KSU from the very beginning because of Admissions, and stepping onto campus on that first day, they were there to guide and support me.

Becca Cox, a marketing and communications specialist in Admissions, followed me throughout the day and took pictures and videos for the Admissions Instagram page, all while helping me move in. Becca also asked if I wanted to be a part of a program her team was creating, the KSU Brand Ambassadors. After talking about what the organization would be doing, I – of course – agreed. I’ve been working with her and the other ambassadors ever since in helping future Owls in their transition into college through social media posts that give an authentic view of life as a KSU student.

The Brand Ambassador program helped me find a niche here at KSU and also led to my involvement in Freshman Parliament. Those of us in Parliament wanted to be more involved with student life on campus, as Ignition leaders, RAs, Flight Crew leaders or tour guides. We shadowed tours, attended meetings and helped with open houses throughout the semester.

Through the help, support and experience of Parliament, I recently have been hired as a tour guide for the Kennesaw Campus beginning in the Spring 2020 semester. I could not be more excited to join a team of incredible Owls dedicated to helping students find their home here at KSU, just like I did.

Starting out here, I was truly afraid of not finding a community and a home. But the second I stepped onto this campus, and even before then, I found myself being warmly and openly invited to be involved. Not only did I find my home in organizations like Ambassadors and Parliament, I found it in everyday life here as a KSU student. I’m incredibly lucky to have such amazing friends, and even family, here with me – specifically, my best friend and my sisters.

Living on campus with Claire Piquette, my best friend of five years, most certainly has played a huge part in making KSU my happy place. I’m also very lucky to have my incredible older sisters both living here in Kennesaw. Amber is graduating in May and Alicia is a recent alumna. Just knowing that they were near me to help if I needed it put me at ease. Because of these three, a part of home already was with me coming into the school year.

But here at Kennesaw State, the entire community already feels like friends and family. Stepping into The Commons, a classroom or even onto the Campus Green, there is always an aura of acceptance. It feels like you don’t have to search to find a place to fit in; the university and the people here do that for you. For me, there is a constant atmosphere that can only be described as “home.”

My heart will always be in my hometown, but part of it lives here now at KSU. I can confidently say that this university is my second home now. My first semester was so meaningful because I felt so comfortable, welcomed and at home here as a KSU Owl.

– Emily Williams

Photos by Jason Getz


A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its nearly 43,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit