The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

First-time Freshman Convocation program held for MSU class of 2018: official welcome

Mississippi State University’s Freshman Convocation program provided the class of 2018 with an official welcome to college life. Fresh out of high-school, most 17, 18 and19-year-olds are already unnerved by the thought of leaving home and starting college, but the most intimidating, nerve-wracking statement most incoming freshmen hear from the people in their lives is, “this will be the beginning of the rest of your life.” 

It may be daunting for some to think of the first day of freshman year as the start of a whole new chapter in one’s life, but it does not change the fact that college can shape and mold a person giving them the ability to discover their niche.

The Freshman Convocation began with a formal welcome from Provost Gilbert, President Keenum, Student Association Vice President Haley Grantham and SA President Brett Harris. Maroon Edition author, Sarah Thebarge, followed the administration and SA speakers.

Peter Ryan, Associate Provost of Academic Affairs, said Thebarge delivered an excellent presentation through speaking about her inspirational book, “The Invisible Girls.”

“Speaking about her own personal experiences, she was able to remind students that you have good days and bad days and not to wallow over the bad days,” Ryan said. “I’m hoping it will resonate with them when they receive a C and were hoping to receive a B in a class or when they have a tiff in their relationships—small things like that which they’re going to come across as students.”

Keenum said the program is an assertion of the unity of the university as a whole as well as a means of ensuring the students begin their academic endeavors on a great note.

“Research proves that few factors influence the degree of success enjoyed by college students than that of getting off to a good start. The grades earned by students in their first two semesters set the tone for the balance of their college experience,” he said. “So I see the Freshman Convocation as a formal acknowledgment of the fact that as a university, we’re committed to helping our freshmen understand the need to pursue excellence from the moment they leave the starting line here at Mississippi State. In addition, I see the convocation as a challenge to those students not merely to compete, but to lead as they take their place in the Bulldog family.”

Ryan said the whole idea behind the Freshman Convocation was to instill a sense of togetherness within the students and to let them know that they are all moving together towards one common goal.

“College is really the beginning of your adult life, and the convocation was the beginning of a journey—the beginning of a new chapter,” he said. “Each freshman student in attendance was given a coin as a memento with an inscription ‘forever maroon and white.’” 

Keenum said he is convinced that this program will continue in years to come as an outstanding tradition for MSU.

“We are always looking for ways to enhance the college experience, and I am confident this event will become a great tradition here at MSU,” he said. “It enables the university to formally welcome new Bulldogs to the Bulldog family as freshman and to recognize in a very public and meaningful way the significance of the journey they are beginning.”

Keenum said his advice to students would be to go to class. He explained the importance of attendance and participation in class as a vital aspect of the college experience.

“Nothing accelerates academic success like not merely attending class, but engaging fully in the classroom process,” he said. “I advise students to embrace the totality of their college experience, but to remember that the purpose here is to be successful in earning a quality education and that is much more difficult to achieve without going to class.”

Harris said the Freshman Convocation was a success and students appreciated the program.

“Our hope is that it will shape the mold of another cherished tradition here at MSU,” Harris said. “Most freshman that I had the opportunity to speak with enjoyed the event and loved Ms. Thebarge.”

Keenum said the program will grow to become an integral part of our university’s welcoming of freshman to the campus and college life.

“Our freshmen gathered in the Humphrey Coliseum in their first days on campus and in a few years those who commit to excellence will return to the hump to complete their MSU experience at the commencement,” he said. “I believe demonstrating the connection between the start and finish of the quest for an education at a great research university like MSU is vitally important to each student who took part in this very special event.”


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The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University
First-time Freshman Convocation program held for MSU class of 2018: official welcome