September 13, 2010
Ah, move-in day. There’s nothing like a tall order of manual labor with a cool glass of sweat on the side to remind you that you’re alive, right?
Move-in felt to me like a roller coaster slide show on crack: cheerleader Orientation Aides with enough energy to power a small country, frantic parents on the verge of nervous breakdowns (either because their babies were leaving them or because their babies were not leaving fast enough), traffic jams and limited parking and, finally, my entire life and identity, packed neatly into just a few suitcases and boxes. If I were looking at the move-in experience from a psychological standpoint I might say, “The stark contrast between the precious freedom of childhood and the inevitable responsibility of independence is never highlighted more than when a young adult is on the precipice of his or her daunting college career.” But since that had too many long words, I will say this instead: Between stuffing my closet to the point of explosion and trying to memorize 10 billion names, I forgot all about how scared I was — and began my foray into the wilderness. And by wilderness I mean the mosquito-infested woods of the College of William and Mary campus, not “the wilderness of college,” or some metaphorical nonsense like that.
In a recently published New York Times article, the University of New Haven and the University of Michigan were featured for their different takes on move-in; for additional fees, both universities offer early move-in dates. Early move-in is not such a bad idea for harried out-of-staters, or for those with extenuating circumstances. In fact, early move-in might be quite beneficial to those poor, gentle, misunderstood introverts who need to dip their toes into the social pool before they can jump right in. Futhermore, the College could raise a lot of money for worthy causes, such as dorm upkeep, by charging students who would like to move in early.
But when it comes down to it, I came to college to have an adventure. The barrage of faces, the sweat and stress, and the insanity was unifying. Moving in is a part of the college experience — it’s crazy and it has your name on it. Life, like move-in day, should not be cut up into dainty, convenient pieces; it’s meant to be eaten messily, and with gusto.
Move-in day was chaos— I met a kindred spirit in the line for my room key, had random conversations that I’ll never forget, and felt so welcomed to school that I already loved. I found that homesickness is a little less intimidating, and that sleeping in a strange and creaky bed is a little easier when you’ve been thrown into a whirlwind of activities at 100 miles per hour with people who are simultaneously, diverse yet on the same brain wave, as you are.
Congratulations to all the survivors of move-in day, especially the freshmen.