Great Beginnings activities shift focus to students

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By Taylor Inman, Staff writer

All across the country students leave their homes and families to pursue the calling of higher education; they watch their family’s cars roll away and return home, leaving students to face their new reality: “I’m in college.”

Murray State hosts activities for these incoming newbies and showcases it all in one big two-week-long event called “Great Beginnings.” The goal is to make these incoming freshman and transfer students feel at home in Murray.

By providing a look into campus and into the city of Murray itself, students are annually exposed to the basics of college living. This includes the “go-to” places around the town through group activities and larger events like the hypnotist show and water balloon fight.

While watching the water balloon fight from a safe distance in the stadium bleachers, Brock Hayes, freshman from Benton, Kentucky, mentioned what he considered to be the biggest take away from “Great Beginnings.”

“I’ve made a ton of new friends. It’s been a pretty interesting experience so far,” Hayes said. “It’s pretty tough opening up to everybody – everybody is trying to get used to the college experience, but sometimes you just have to open up.”

Hayes said he’s already learning to adjust to college life.

“Since everyone makes it feel like a community, it just feels like you know everybody,” Hayes said. “You actually see people you know on campus.”

One reason for this could be Murray State’s small campus, an experience that transfer student Enrique Martinez said he prefers to the bigger schools he transferred from.

“It’s a really small campus so that gives you the opportunity to see people you meet at events like this,” Martinez said. “At a school with 20,000-plus students, you get lost in the number of people there are.”

The Transfer Student Association held its first Great Beginnings event this fall: a cookout in the Quad. Logan Stout, coordinator for the Transfer Center, said the decision to form a Transfer Student Association came from a Mississippi State transfer student. He decided there was a need to focus on transfer students as they came into Murray State.

“He wanted to form a club that brings these transfer students together to get to know each other,” Stout said. “Because a lot of times transfer students have the mindset that these ‘Great Beginnings’ events are for freshmen only. And that’s not the case – they’re new student events.”

But the new student events still draw a fair number of current students every year. The event that brings everyone out at the beginning of the school year is the hypnotist show. He begins by calling people up on stage to be hypnotized, where upperclassmen jump at the chance.

Matt Turley, homecoming chair on the Campus Activities Board, welcomed people at the door of Lovett Auditorium to see the hypnotist, but said when it came to his experience with actually being hypnotized, he didn’t fully commit.

“I come every year. I tried to get hypnotized last year, but I got kind of scared I would say too much,” Turley said. “But one of my friends went up there and it was fun to see him get hypnotized.”

For juniors like Turley, going back to see the Great Beginnings events can be kind of monotonous, but he said it just keeps getting better.

“Every year we do different things, they do things to improve it,” Turley said. “They do more things that center more on students now. Now they do the downtown Murray events and do things that are more fun for students.”