Knoxville — As the 2018 school year begins, senior Carli Long reflects about her time at Johnson.

Growing up in Memphis, Long heard about Johnson from her youth pastors who both attended Johnson. While sharing stories from their time as students, Long’s youth pastors encouraged the students to tour their alma mater.

“I didn’t want to be a preacher,” Long said. “I asked them why I would go to Johnson Bible College.”

After reassuring Long that the school offered a multitude of majors and that the name had been changed to Johnson University, Long’s youth pastors convinced her to tour the school.

“When I came here for Preview Day, it just felt like home,” Long said. After four years, coming back on campus still feels like home. Pursuing a degree in Education, Long hopes to complete the Holistic Education Masters after graduating in the spring.

At the beginning of every year, Long said she looks forward to meeting new people and deepening current relationships.

“I love the personal side that comes with going to Johnson,” Long said. “It is a very strong, tight-knit community.”

Long has been a Freshman Resident Assistant for three years, a job that she is passionate about, mainly because of her Freshman RA’s who invested in her.

“One of the reasons I keep coming back to being a Freshman RA is that I love being able to pour into new girls,” Long said.

In a way, walking with these freshmen is Long’s way of helping raise the next generation of Johnson students. Looking back over her four years at Johnson, Long offered advice to the new freshman, reminding them that “transition takes time.” Coming as a freshman is a drastic change, and is easy to become discouraged when the transition does not come quickly.

As graduation quickly approaches, Long has been praying how she can invest in people with her remaining time.

“My goal right now is focusing on the present, enjoying each day I get here at Johnson,” Long said. “I want to take mentor my new freshman girls and to be there for them because I know how important this season of life is for them.”

There are many stories Long said she will remember from her time at Johnson, especially memories made as an RA.

“Just a few days in as my first year being an RA, one of my girls came to my room saying she had caught her mac and cheese on fire,” Long remembered fondly. Both trying to keep calm while also reframe from la­ughing, Long remembers opening the door to see black smoke coming from the room.

Posted by Bekah Ochs

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