Lines of traffic, piles of personal belongings, nervous moms and dads and paperwork are hallmarks of freshman move-in day at college campuses across the country, and Wake Forest University was no exception Aug. 20 as the 1,009-member incoming class descended upon the university’s Reynolda campus.
Despite the normal pressures associated with settling in at college, students and their parents from far-off places like California, Texas, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Indiana flashed smiles and offered friendly greetings to the upperclassmen and university staff on hand to help move them into residence halls.
“I’m just so excited to be here and out of Florida,” said freshman student Carrie Hobson, who made the more than 10-hour drive from Palm Bay, Fla., with her parents Tuesday. “I became interested in Wake Forest in ninth grade and have always really thought this is where I wanted to go to school. When we visited last year, I just fell in love with the school. The atmosphere is incredible, and the campus is so pretty.”
Hobson, like most of the incoming students at Wake Forest, started moving in at 8 a.m. Aug. 20. During their first day on campus, incoming students pick up their student identification cards, parking stickers and mailbox keys. First-year and transfer students also pick up their IBM ThinkPad computers and HP color printers from the Information Systems department between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. The university offers shuttle service to transport the students to the Information Systems Building.
At 7 p.m., students met with their resident advisors in their residence halls, and an ice cream social for all new students was held at 9:30 p.m. on the south end of campus.
Orientation for incoming students begins Thursday, Aug. 21, and runs through Aug. 26. Freshmen register for classes Aug. 25.
Sophomores, juniors and seniors move into their rooms Aug. 23 and 24, and classes for all undergraduate students start Wednesday, Aug. 27.
Although Hobson exuded excitement about the new experiences awaiting her at Wake Forest, her mother, Pam, expressed some nervousness since Carrie is her youngest child and the last to leave for college.
“People keep asking me if I’m ready for the empty nest, and I tell them that right now I am like Cleopatra, I’m the queen of denial,” she said. “I’m answering that question in September.”
The empty nest theme was common among several parents moving students in Wednesday. Grace and Henning Nielsen said they feel like they have just kind of moved their nest from their home in Chester, N.J., to Wake Forest since their youngest daughter, Bianca, is joining her older sister Christina, who is a senior at the university this year.
“This is our second student at Wake Forest, and we just love it here,” Grace Nielsen said. “I’m sure the empty-nester syndrome will set in on the drive home, but we are really excited for both of them.”
Bianca Nielsen echoed her mother’s sentiment and added that she is looking forward to continuing the high school activities that she enjoyed like drama, music and sports. She did admit that one of the things she is most excited about is the upcoming Wake Forest basketball season.
“I am looking forward to absolutely everything that Wake Forest has to offer,” she said. “It is just such a great place. I’ve come here to see my sister a couple of times and she took me to a basketball game and that was unbelievable. I can’t wait.”
John Engel, a junior student and a resident advisor in Collins Residence Hall, said he spent a good part of the morning fielding questions from eager parents and students. Engel and other RAs moved back to campus two weeks ago and took part in training activities to prepare them for the upcoming year. RAs were positioned in the lobbies of residence halls where they checked in students, handed out keys and answered questions.
“The only real advice I have for the students and parents is to just take it all in stride,” Engel said. “The next few days are going to be extremely busy, but I tell them all to enjoy it and don’t get over anxious.”
In addition to the resident advisors on hand to answer questions, there were employees from the university’s Facilities Management department available to help families unload their cars. Student groups, including Alpha Phi Omega, a service fraternity, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship and Forest Fire Christian Ministry, also helped carry items to students’ rooms. Staff volunteers from a variety of university departments also pitched in to give the families a helping hand.
Space-Savers set up a tent on Magnolia Court and offered several important items for incoming students like storage bins and shelving. The company has offered items for students on move-in day for the past eight years.
This year’s freshman class represents 40 states and 10 foreign countries. Twenty-seven percent are North Carolina residents; the remaining 73 percent are from out-of-state. Forty-one percent of the students graduated within the top 5 percent of their high school classes. The incoming class includes 520 women and 489 men.
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