During the last few days, Fort Hays State University has been hopping with students excited to begin and continue their college journey.
Wednesday and Thursday were move-in days for incoming freshmen and returning students, and the residence halls filled quickly.
“We are expecting around 200 to 300 students to move in today,” Charlee Samuelson, student office assistant in residential life, said Wednesday. “People want to get in as soon as possible.”
Samuelson said McMindes Hall saw most of the action Wednesday as the dormitory primarily houses incoming freshmen, so staff was busy helping new students find their way to rooms.
“We have people waiting outside to help the new freshmen and parents,” she said. “We also bring out carts to their cars so they can pack things in them so we can take it to the students’ rooms.”
Brittany Hughes, a graduate student who works in the academic advising office, was one of the many assisting.
“I’m handing out Tiger Tags to students and parents,” she said. “They all seem really excited about today, so it’s always fun.”
As an experienced student, Hughes said she had some advice for the new faces around campus.
“Get involved and try new things,” she said. “Do things you never thought you would do.”
With his parents there to help, FHSU freshman Brenton Keesee, Hastings, Neb., was busy organizing his dorm room Wednesday morning.
“I want to hopefully get a degree in education, teach and maybe work my way to principal or something like that,” he said of his future.
Keesee’s parents, Rodney and Patty Keesee, were facing a whole new experience, too, as Brenton is their first child to go to college.
“I’m a little nervous and anxious as a mother seeing your baby go off to college,” Patty said. “You just have to hope they make the right decisions after you set them free.”
Brenton’s father, Rodney, said he also attended FHSU and is a 1991 graduate.
“Things have changed dramatically since I’ve been here, but what a great school this is,” he said. “As a parent, you just hope you did your best and they go out and blaze their own trail successfully.”
Rodney said he was comforted by how welcoming the school seemed and it made him feel better about his son’s college choice.
“It’s been surprisingly painless,” he said. “Everyone is so welcoming and helpful. I heard some of the staff say, ‘Welcome to your new home.’ It’s a comforting thing.”
Brenton talked about his jam-packed schedule that would keep him busy all the way up until he walked through the doorway of his first class Monday.
“There are just a lot of events to get us around campus and meet new people,” he said. “It’s all required.”
All incoming, first-year students are expected to attend events including a new student and family induction ceremony, a new student pep-rally, traditions night and playfair, an open house, a luncheon, a social excellence event and a candle-lighting ceremony, to name a few.
“They have a lot going on over the next few days — almost an overwhelming amount of stuff,” Hughes said. “It’s all to help them out, though, get them involved and help them adjust.”
“I was a freshman three years ago, and I still remember the people I met at playfair,” Samuelson said. “All of the activities really help the students and introduce the freshmen to campus.”
Classes begin Monday.