Nick Dorman is familiar with Southwest Minnesota State. He grew up in Marshall, and has been on campus many times. He knows the layout.
It's that familiarity that helped the 2011 Marshall High School graduate select SMSU when it came time to choose a college.
Dorman, the son of Rich and JoAnn Dorman, will be among the incoming class of 2015 freshmen who move into the residence halls next Thursday for the start of Mustang Gold Rush Days.
A host of activities is planned to help the new students get acclimated to the campus and college life. There will be games, theater productions, informational presentations, mud volleyball, a comedian, house meetings, football and volleyball scrimmages and other events during the four days.
"For me, it came down to the fact that it's a private-school feel at a public school price," said Dorman on choosing SMSU. "Plus, it's convenient, I'll save on some gas."
Dorman's older sister Janna will be an SMSU senior this fall, and she didn't put too much pressure on him to attend, he said.
"She basically told me that she loved SMSU, that she'd love to have me here, but the decision was up to me," he said.
Dorman graduated from Marshall with a 3.9 grade point average and has been accepted into the Honors Program. He wants to become a doctor, and plans on majoring in chemistry and speech communication.
"It has taken a while to figure out. First, it was a doctor, then a dentist, then back again, then maybe a physical therapist. Now I'm confident this is what I want to do," he said.
Once that decision was made, "all of these different opportunities happened," said Dorman. He was offered a job in the pharmacy at Hy-Vee, and he will also be working in the scheduling office at SMSU.
"I can work there between classes, and in the summer," he said.
He has an idea of what to expect during Gold Rush Days, and the first few weeks of classes.
"For me, the challenge will be meeting new people, going outside of your comfort zone. You have to push yourself to meet others," he said.
As far as the rigors of college courses versus high school, he thinks he knows what to expect.
"The biggest thing is having the self-discipline to get it done," he said. "In high school, you had time to do the work in class. Time management will be important."
He has spoken to forensics coach Mark Fokken already, and plans on participating during his college career.
"In high school, I did serious prose and duo. I'd like to try persuasion (at SMSU)," he said.
He credits high school speech with helping him gain confidence.
"It helped bring myself out. My freshman year, it was like I was afraid to get up and talk. I spoke at graduation, and it didn't scare me at all," he said.
College freshmen share common anxieties over those first few days. Dorman is no exception. He knows he's moving onto the next phase of his life, and he's anxious for the journey to begin.