CONWAY, S.C. (WBTW) — Coastal Carolina University move-in weekend kicked off Friday — welcoming the Conway university’s largest freshman class to date with more than 2,700 new students joining the student body. 

Provost Daniel Ennis said students have a lot to look forward to this year. One of those things being a more normal semester. 

“We don’t really have to worry about masking anymore,” Ennis said. “Students can mask, but they’re not required.”

Students can also expect normalcy in the classroom.

“Social distancing is no longer enforced in classrooms and in public spaces,” Ennis said. “We’re able to have the right mix of indoor and outdoor activities that the students expect.”

CCU is rolling out a new degree program and working on updating campus buildings. 

“Our brand new criminal justice major has been very popular right out of the gate,” Ennis said. “We’re building new buildings, like our brand new library. What the students can see is the things that are going on in this campus are dynamic.”

New students range from locals to out-of-staters. Ennis said there is a lot that draws them to CCU. 

“Our location to our academic programs to student life to the campus feeling,” Ennis said.

Everyone from students starting their first semester to students getting ready to wrap up their college experience said they are ready to take on the year. 

“I’m looking forward to doing this last role right here,” senior Marquez Rouse said. “Crossing the finish line, graduating, hopefully getting a good job.”

“I’m excited to be on my own and to have a little more freedom,” freshman Elizabeth Logue said. 

There are still some trepidations from first-year college students. 

“I don’t really know anyone here, so like I have to make all new friends,” Logue said. 

But the advice from the college pro’s is plentiful. 

“Don’t be afraid to crack your shell,” Rouse said. 

Ennis said it is the time to learn independence. 

“Nobody wakes them up. Nobody forces them out of bed. Nobody picks them up after class,” Ennis said. “There’s a lot of growing up in those first few weeks.”

The beginning of senior year brings bittersweet feelings for students getting ready to close the chapter on college. Rouse said he is sad to leave. 

“This is a good school right here,” Rouse said. “This is one of the best choices I ever made.”

Students will be moving in all weekend ahead of the first day of class on Wednesday.