First-year University of Southern Mississippi student Ashley Hite characterized her emotions as both “excited, but a little nervous” while waiting for class to begin Wednesday morning on the opening day of the fall 2016 semester.
Hite, a Soso, Miss., native, is a transfer student from Jones County Junior College in Ellisville who plans to major in Elementary Education. She joined hundreds of students crisscrossing the Hattiesburg campus for the first official day of classes. Classes also began Wednesday on the Gulf Park campus in Long Beach.
“I chose Southern Miss because it’s close to home, and I know they have good teaching programs here,” said Hite, a West Jones High School graduate. “I like living on campus and meeting new people. I look forward to seeing how the semester goes.”
Atlanta native John Singleton credits his godparents, Craig and Pamela Williams of Hattiesburg, for his introduction to Southern Miss and his decision to attend the University.
“I had been to the campus a few times while visiting my godparents here and really liked it,” said Singleton, a freshman majoring in nursing. “I have family and friends in the medical field and wanted to get into the nursing program. Southern Miss has one of the best around, and I’m excited about starting my college career here.”
The new semester’s first day also found Southern Miss students, faculty, and staff stationed throughout the Hattiesburg campus as participants in an “Ask Me” initiative. Representatives from various departments and programs greeted students, answered questions, and offered other forms of assistance as part of the two-day initiative.
Southern Miss students Chris Huffman, a senior from New Orleans; Kayla Prince, a senior from Jackson, Miss., and Kaylee Phillips, a sophomore from Laurel, Miss., manned an information table just outside Cook Library as representatives from the Office of New Student and Retention Programs. Each also served as Golden Eagles Welcome Week leaders in the run-up to the new semester.
“I just love the first day of classes,” said Huffman. “I see this as a great opportunity to give back to the University after so much has been given to me. I remember my first day like it was yesterday.”