Freshman Machaela Murrell has a passion for growth, education and the Meredith community. She spoke to The Meredith Herald to give insight on her experience as a first year student during an unprecedented time on campus.
From her first visit to Meredith for a tour around the college grounds, Murrell says she was “attracted to the small, quiet campus.” She comments that she also “liked how personable and genuine the faculty were,” and says that “the fact that Meredith has my major, accounting, was a huge draw as well.” Murrell is a declared accounting major and intends to minor in music and perhaps marketing. “I was confident that I was going to get a quality education at Meredith and that going here would prepare me well for the professional world,” Murrell says. Within her first year of college, she has joined Meredith Hues and the Student Government Association as the Freshman Member-At-Large. Murrell adds, “I hope to continue to diligently pursue my studies and continue to be involved on campus. I also hope to study abroad in Spain in the next year or so.”
When Murrell was asked to share a treasured experience, she recalled the beginning of a friendship with a student on campus. She explains, “I wasn’t sure I would meet new people easily, but I became friends with another student on campus which led to me meeting two other people through them.” Murrell suggests that students “take advantage of the support that Meredith offers. Your student and faculty advisors, professors, tutors and many other people are here to help you when you need it so that you have the absolute best college experience you can have.” Murrell says that an experience that demonstrated that took place in Spanish class: “When I first began [the] class I was a bit discouraged… [my professor] gave me really good pointers throughout the semester and honestly, if it wasn’t [for] her, I probably wouldn’t have improved as much as I have.”
When asked if there was a popular college myth that was dismissed once she came to Meredith, she answered that many people believe college is about focusing on packing one’s mind with knowledge to earn degrees and find jobs, and is for that purpose alone. “Your time at college is a chance to form friendships, acquire valuable skills, and try new things,” Murrell says. “Doing things such as joining an organization or just simply spending time with friends are experiences that make college worthwhile...it is [also] important to focus on academics and your future,” she adds, acknowledging that there is a balance between academics, extracurriculars and social experiences.
With one semester completed and another coming to an end in a few months, it seemed fitting to inquire about the advice Murrell would share with the incoming freshman class. Murrell advises to “first, have an open mind.” She expands, “You may be coming into college knowing exactly what you want to study, or you may not know and be uncertain of what you want to pursue. Either way, just be open to learning and doing new things.” Murrell also encourages the Class of 2025 to “take advantage of the support” and resources available at Meredith. Murrell says she appreciates the strong, supportive community surrounding her at Meredith College: “It is a community of people who have your back and are here to help you succeed.”
Machaela Murrell has strived for success and growth at Meredith, remaining optimistic and staying strong during the COVID-19 pandemic. She has been able to see the positive in times of uncertainty and has celebrated the joys of college life. Murrell remarks, “I have learned that even in unexpected circumstances, it is possible to have a good college experience.” Reflecting on her first year at Meredith, Murrell concludes, “At the beginning of my first semester, I was a bit anxious about attending college during the COVID-19 pandemic and I also wasn’t sure how I would like Zoom classes. Despite my fears, my college experience has been better than I expected, and I’ve actually been enjoying my classes for the most part. I am thankful that I didn’t let the current circumstances bring my spirits down and that I’ve been thriving at Meredith.”
By Caroline Garland, Contributing Writer