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Freshmen ready to start journey

Aug. 22, 2012 @ 11:49 PM

HUNTINGTON -- Alex Elkins hopes he has an easier time balancing his classes at Marshall University this semester than he did with his cart full of possessions during freshmen move-in day Wednesday.

"This is the most nervous I've been in my life," the Lincoln County native said after safely maneuvering the dolly across 5th Avenue. "I'm anxious to get things started."

Elkins and his fellow Lincoln County High School graduate, Jerry Fry, joined more than 1,000 incoming freshmen who moved into the residence halls three days ahead of upperclassmen. An estimated 2,000 students will be part of the freshman class.

Move-in day kicks off Marshall's Week of Welcome for freshmen. It includes a family picnic, held Wednesday evening, and a host of other academic and social activities through Saturday. University officials started Week of Welcome a few years ago to help new students get acclimated to campus and give them time to build class unity. They'll get together in the Cam Henderson Center Thursday morning for the freshman convocation, followed by a class photo around the John Marshall statue.

The Week of Welcome also includes the students' first class, UNI 100, which is an introduction to academic structures and expectations of college life. If students follow the curriculum that continues during the first seven weeks of the semester, they will earn one credit hour.

Getting off on the right foot is important, said Matt Button, a junior who took part in helping new students move in.

"Moving in is one of the most stressful times below finals and midterms," Button said. "Everyone out there is helping make the transition easier."

Charles Payne from Martinsburg, W.Va., made a comment similar to most of the new students -- "Overwhelming." He said his goal is to meet as many people as he can and get involved on campus.

"Try my best not to be a loner," said Payne, adding that he'd like to get involved with campus ministries and club sports.

Move-in day also can be stressful for parents who are letting their babies go for the first time. Terry and Janice Blair-Martin arrived Tuesday with their only child, Brittany, from Waynesburg, Pa. They said it's been a little hard.

"But I'm excited," Janice Blair-Martin said. "I know she's ready and that makes a world of difference."

Brittany Blair-Martin plans to major in biology and then go to medical school. Her parents said she was accepted to nine higher education institutions -- big ones like Penn State and Ohio State, and some smaller colleges. But after her visit to Marshall, she told them that's where she wanted to be.

"If she's comfortable, we're comfortable," her mother said.



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