Move-In Day

This is one of my favorite times of the year. No, not because a sliver of Autumn’s breath is in the still-hot August air (though I love that, too) but because all across the country it’s time for Freshman Move-In Day. I live in a college town, so no calendar is needed to tell me it’s that time of year. I know it has come the day our heretofore relatively calm streets are jammed with cars nearly bursting with boxes and bags. It always puts me in mind of my own first move-in day. Excitement and trepidation competed for space in my overstimulated brain. Everything—absolutely everything—was new. I had no idea what the future, even the future of the next day, held.

All the anticipation and anxiety from so many years ago came flooding back last week as the Gnome and I had the privilege of participating in our second granddaughter’s freshman move-in. As we drove onto campus we joined another couple of thousand cars filled, like ours, with student belongings. Before we saw the dorm, we heard the sound of the band playing high-spirited music on the lawn to match the day’s mood.

Then we spotted burgundy-and-gold-clad upperclassmen, staff, and administrators swarming on the grounds and around the cars. Like busy bees, students emptied vehicles’ contents into giant blue bins, rolled them to the dorm, and emptied them again, carrying containers right to dorm room doors. Five minutes and it was a done deal. In spite of the muggy ninety-degree weather, they were all smiles and energy. During our couple of minutes’ wait for an available bin, a dean sauntered to our car to engage us in conversation, playfully inviting us Silvers to join the student body. So welcoming.

Every aspect of move-in day was equally seamless, speedy, and gleeful.

Big Blue Bin
If all the zippered blue bags we spotted are any indication, Ikea makes a fortune off of move-in day alone.

We’d never been on campus before, but we were already charmed. The more we learned the more charmed we became. The school is filled with traditions that instantly create a feeling of belonging. As new students processed to their first convocation on a big lawn shaded by old oaks, they passed by—and touched—the pedestaled bell which survived the 1923 campus fire that came darned close to closing the school for good.

The Bell from Main has a few dings and bruises, but it survives.

Not surprisingly the school mascot is the Phoenix, ancient symbol of rebirth. These particular students have lived through their own catastrophe with the Covid-19 worldwide pandemic defining much of their last two years of high school and still on the rampage as they begin their college careers, so they already know a little about survival. How appropriate that during their college tenure, the school will commemorate its one-hundredth anniversary of the fire that nearly destroyed it, but did not. Like the Phoenix, it rose from the ashes. Like the Phoenix, these freshmen have already been through their own fire and proved their resilience.

Getting into the spirit of thing with the Phoenix.

As students left convocation they participated in another tradition. The school’s name, Elon, translates from the Hebrew word for oak, and each student was presented with an acorn, the first bookend of their four-year experience. At graduation, they get their second bookend, an oak sapling. What fitting symbols for a period defined by so much promise and growth.

Basket of acorns ready for distribution.

Even though I can’t help feeling a little nervous on ‘our’ student’s behalf, I also feel excited for what the next few days and weeks and years will bring her. If her experience is anything like mine, she will explore new things and discover new passions as she grows into her adult self. She may face grave disappointments as well as great joys. She will survive and she will learn that she can. She will find out what she is made of. And years from now, she will look back on these yet-to-be-experienced years with sweet nostalgia, a time of foundation-building for all that will have come after.

Convocation was for parents too. The university president took the opportunity to calm their nerves, reminding them that they have raised competent children whom the school believes in as much as do the parents. “They are prepared,” she assured them. “They are ready.”

You’ve got this, Kiddo! Embrace every moment.

The smile says it all: I’m ready. Ready to see my dorm room. Ready to meet my roommate. Ready to succeed.
Key in hand for first home away from home.
She helped Big Sis move in three years ago. Now the favor is returned.

6 thoughts on “Move-In Day

  1. Great writing! Once again you made me feel like I was right there with you. I really appreciate delicious details like the acorns. You brought back vivid memories of my move in day at Georgia Tech.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Carole, you are amazing in so many ways. Your passion for life and your desire to share and talent for writing is wonderful! I enjoy reading your work. Please continue to share. I love it!!

    On Thu, Aug 26, 2021, 9:07 AM Living on the Diagonal wrote:

    > LivingOnTheDiagonal posted: ” This is one of my favorite times of the > year. No, not because a sliver of Autumn’s breath is in the still-hot > August air (though I love that, too) but because all across the country > it’s time for Freshman Move-In Day. I live in a college town, so no cale” >

    Liked by 1 person

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