HUNTINGTON - Though they came via opposite sides of the state, moms Veronica Smith, of Maryland, and Piper Morgan, of Cleveland, had the same thing on their minds Tuesday - move their daughters into their shared room in the Freshman South dorm at Marshall University.

Their daughters Carly Smith and Julia Morgan met on social media and decided to live together. They will spend their first year at Marshall sharing a bathroom and trying not to wake the other up when they come back from a late-night study session.

Echoing the feelings of probably every mother on campus Tuesday, Smith and Morgan said they hope their daughters have wonderful experiences.

"I hope she takes every day as a gift," Veronica Smith said, "and does the best she can do."

The two were among more than 1,450 freshman students who moved into their new homes Tuesday with the help of about 300 upperclassman volunteers, family and friends.

After moving in, Week of Welcome officially began with registration and a family picnic on Harless Field, followed by a viewing of "Traditions: The Rise of Marshall," an original musical that tells the story of the university.

Students will begin their first class at Marshall during Week of Welcome. UNI 100, "Freshman First Class," is an introduction to the academic structures and expectations of college life. Those who successfully complete the course will earn one hour of elective credit.

The rest of the week will have events to get students acclimated to campus and the city of Huntington, along with introducing them to student organizations and getting them involved on campus.

The week rounds out Friday with the President's Convocation to officially welcome the new sons and daughters of Marshall.

Joseph Dearien, of Clendenin, West Virginia, a health care management major, said he chose Marshall because it was just far enough away from home and it's where his sister and some friends are going.

He said he is most excited about being on his own and studying something that interests him. He was most nervous about time management.

"I have to keep from blowing too much time," he said.

Rachel Carter, a nursing major from Charleston, similarly said she chose Marshall because it's where her sister went, but also because it's a small campus. She said she was pretty nervous about getting to class, but she was excited to be away from home.

Sophomores Brittany Webb and Caitlyn Wilkenson and junior Katerina Coon were part of the move-in crew Tuesday. They gave some pieces of advice for the new students.

Coon advised joining a student organization.

"Which one depends on your major," she said. "Get involved. And do an internship. Internships are really important."

Webb said not to be afraid to make new friends.

"And pet all the puppies," Webb said.

Wilkenson said to find what calms you and to take advantage of all the things included in tuition - from Marshall Health to counseling to tutoring. Webb added football and basketball games, which are also free to students.

"And if there is free food, go eat it," Coon said.

While official numbers won't be available until later this fall, the university expects to see a significant increase in the number of freshmen, as well as an uptick in the number of students living in residence halls.

The rest of the university will move into the dorms Saturday, with classes beginning Monday, Aug. 26.

Follow reporter Taylor Stuck on Twitter and Facebook @TaylorStuckHD.

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