Thursday, August 31, 2006

Movin’ In

Freshmen moved into the university last Saturday. Apparently it is tradition for all faculty and staff to show up on freshman move-in day and help out. I convinced Jay that no one would fault him for spending the day with his infant son (and wife) rather than helping, but we did think it would be fun to swing by and view the bedlam from afar.

I had a visceral reaction. I think I actually shuddered.

That is one of those events that I’m glad I will never have to relive. It wasn’t the actual process of moving in at DePauw that was awful—it was the anticipation of it. And as if the weeks leading up to move-in day weren’t bad enough, I then got to stew and fret over the whole business during the five-hour car ride to get there. (Although we may have stayed with my grandparents in Louisville the night before—mom?) There were so many factors to worry about:

Timing is always an issue. Get there too early and you risk looking too eager and totally un-cool. (Like I had anything to worry about. You should see what I was wearing that day. There was very little else that was going to harm my cool factor). Get there too late and you risk missing out on the bonding process with your floormates.

Attitude is serious business, too. If you seem to gregarious, you risk looking un-cool (Unless, of course you’re wearing the outfit I was wearing. Then you save everyone the trouble of having to make a determination about whether or not you are cool). Act too aloof and people think you’re a snob.

The parents are another factor. How long is too long for them to stay? How involved is too involved when it comes to helping you try to get organized? (I don’t remember this being an issue. My parents balanced everything quite well. However, several weeks later my mom saw an episode of Oprah featuring mothers who were paralyzed with grief after leaving their children at college. My mom had some guilt about not being as torn up as Oprah’s moms were. She wanted to make sure I wasn’t bitter that she didn’t break down at the car when we said goodbye).

Of course, in hindsight, none of this made any difference at all. It just happened that those were the only things over which I felt I had some control in an otherwise overwhelming situation. In reality, everyone was way too involved in their own business to take much notice of anyone else. That would take a day or two.

Much to my surprise, I actually survived move-in day, but it wasn’t without its special moments. I had already corresponded with my roommate by letter, so we weren’t total strangers. But I think both sets of parents chuckled inside when I pulled out my “Phantom of the Opera” and “Gone With the Wind” posters while Gwen pulled out her muscle car posters. And when I pulled out my Bible and put it on my desk while Gwen pulled out her empty bottles of SoCo and arranged them on her desk as decoration. Despite our obvious and massive differences we got along swimmingly. So well, in fact, that in my later RA years I had very little sympathy for roommates who couldn’t seem to make things work out.

But moving in? You couldn’t pay me to do that again.


Jennifer said...

I rented an apartment off campus with another girl, so I didn't have to deal with any of it. I've heard the horror stories, though!

darby said...

ahhh the memories! I have to agree with you on the anticipation factor. Plus I seem to remember the heat being a factor.

Kat E said...

1) Please tell me you have a picture of what you were wearing that day.
2) I DO have one (think it's at my folks' house), and am now dying to look at it and remember (and see what I was wearing).
I do remember wearing a very casual outfit on the first day of classes and feeling completely foolish (my first class happened to be with a lot of upperclass women. Who showed up in "pin clothes"!!)

The Thief said...

Ahh, the joys of move-in day... I don't have a clue what I wore, but I know that I had way too much stuff and it filled way too much of the room.

And that on the first day of classes, I overslept and was late for my first class, so I showed up in "straight out of bed" fashion. Nobody blinked.

MontanaDave said...

Oh, yes, I remember that too well. I was the first guy there, and yes, I was the biggest dork. I could not wait for my Mom to leave so I could "get started".

Then, I was a Sophmore Advisor for one year, and an RA for two years, and we were responsible for helping the freshmen move in. I distinctly recall one student who needed to "hit the gym" after his parents left, so he could "work off some of this ... Whoo!"

Jenny said...

Ah, the joys of move-in day. I spent much of it contemplating -- ONLY contemplating, mind you!!! -- how easy it would be to rip people off and steal all the cool stuff, because everyone was leaving their doors open and all that neat stuff completely unattended. And we call my BROTHER the thief.
(I promise, I was only contemplating it as an intellectual pursuit, NOT for any sort of intention. Besides, on a campus the size of mine, it would get out and I'd never have been accepted by all those cool people... Oh, wait a minute...)

anna said...

Yes MB please do share a picture of what you were wearing that day.

I never had that experience but I can imagine the pain.

Jennifer said...

Kat, what are "pin clothes"?

Mary Beth said...

I'll answer in her stead, just in case she's not back for awhile.

Background info: DePauw has/d one of the highest percentages of students participating in social fraternities and sororities in the nation. When we were there, it was something like 80-85%.

Sororities (at DePauw...I can't speak for other campuses) had guidelines for what clothing you could wear while wearing your sorority pin. Actually, they were more like guidelines for what you couldn't wear. You couldn't wear jeans, T-shirts, tennis shoes, other non-dressy shoes, and you couldn't wear your pin while drinking. So pin clothes are just dressy clothes...skirts, pants, nice shoes, nice top, etc.

On the first day of class, since Rush hadn't yet taken place, almost every woman on campus was either wearing her pin (and thus "pin clothes") or her letters. It was quite overwhelming.

Too much info?

Jennifer said...

Ahhhhhhh. Thanks for educating me! :D