FAIRMONT, W.Va. — Fairmont State University kicked off its “Welcome Weekend’ Thursday with freshman move-in, doing its best to help incoming students get acquainted with their new home and classmates.

“I’m very excited. We have had an incredible day. We started at about 7 o’clock in the morning,” Fairmont State President Dr. Mirta Martin said. “We have student volunteers, we have the football team out, we’ve got faculty, we have staff. The Fairmont State University family is out welcoming our new cast members.”

This is Dr. Martin’s first Welcome Weekend, and she’s having a blast meeting each of the new students, their families and helping them unpack their belongings.

“The students are just mesmerized. They’re excited to start the year,” she said. “The parents are excited to drop their kids off at Fairmont State University, and I am just thrilled to be able to welcome everyone home.”

One would expect freshman move-in day to be a little teary-eyed, filled with bittersweet moments of parents not yet ready for their children to leave the nest.

But Martin said that wasn’t the case Thursday.

“I think they have been overwhelmed by the showing and by the presence of this university,” she said. “All of the parents are coming expecting to have to move things, expecting to have unload cars, expecting to have to take them to their rooms, and I tell them, ‘Sit tight. Look pretty. We’re going to do this for you.'”

Rebecca Cunningham can attest to that. The Berkeley County woman spent Thursday moving her youngest daughter into her new dorm at University Terrace.

“You know, we’ve already done it once with one child. She’ll be a junior at Wesleyan, so we’ve already been through the process,” Cunningham said. “As a parent, it’s what we’ve raised them to do, and this is the next step in their life. She’s ready and so are we.”

Having a chance to see her daughter’s new home and her peers, as well as taking time to tour the campus, Cunningham feels prepared to leave Fairmont without her daughter when the weekend comes to a close.

“We feel very at home here, people are extremely nice, it seems very safe. We’re very happy with her choice to come here,” she said.

Now that Cunningham has emptied her nest, she says the best thing a first-time parent can do is “just take a breath and just relax.

“You come with too much stuff. You’ll have to take some stuff home, it’s all good,” she said. “We have a tendency to come in here and take over, at least I know I do with putting things where I think they should go. It’s there time. Let them do their thing, and just be here to help them and support them.”

Incoming freshman Ely Osborne got to beat the rush by moving into his dorm Wednesday as an honors student.

“My first night away, I thought I’d be scared and I’d thought I’d be nervous, but I felt like I was sleeping in my own bedroom. It just all worked out for me perfect,” Osborne said.

The Clay native is now two hours away from his home, but felt that Fairmont State was the right pick for his college career.

“I’ve toured all over the state at different colleges, and once I came to Fairmont, I just quit touring. I just knew this was my home,” he said. “It was small enough, but it was big enough. It gave enough opportunities, but it was small enough that I was a name and not a number.”

And he wasn’t wrong.

Osborne, a political science and national security major, is already settling in nicely.

“I’m making some friends, brought some old friends with me,” he said. “I got to tour campus a little bit more, I’ve got to see a lot of things I haven’t yet. It’s great.”

He’s looking forward to the rest of Welcome Weekend and all of the activities that Fairmont State has planned for its students.

“I’m excited to go to the baseball game on Sunday,” he said. “I played baseball all throughout — teeball, little league, high school — so I’m excited to go to that.”

As for the Cunninghams, they’re not in any hurry.

“I think the whole weekend’s probably a little overwhelming for freshman and for parents who haven’t been through this process yet,” Cunningham said. “I just think you have to play it by ear, see what they’re feeling and just kind of go with the flow.”

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