Nearly total eclipse

Warning: this is a pre-post, friends; I am off today and tomorrow to enjoy the last bit of time with ’27 Deac before he starts 7th grade.  By the time you read this, the near-total eclipse will be over, and I hope it was a good one (and that all your Deacs – and you – viewed it safely).

Important information for students who moved in early (RAs, students here for Pre-Orientation, etc.) If your Deac has a car at Wake this semester, be sure to read this parking notice that relates to where they can park during Move-In.

With Move-In coming on Weds, thought I would offer some advice from past years to help our P’21s.  If you are a new parent or family member and had not caught our Advice page on the New Students website, please consider reviewing it.

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Having witnessed many years of Move-In days, the Daily Deac has some tips to help make Move-In a more enjoyable process for all.  This is by no means a comprehensive list – use only the parts that make sense for your family.

First, a few questions we typically get:

Which entrance should I use to enter campus? In order to best manage traffic, we encourage new students, and those traveling with them, to enter campus via University Parkway or Reynolda Road. As you plan, feel free to refer to the University’s maps page.  Once on campus, you will be directed by a security officer to drive toward your student’s residence hall.  Please be sure you have printed out a Move-In Parking Pass and placed it on your dashboard or visor before coming to campus.

What time should I arrive? In order to best manage traffic and expedite the move-in process for new students and their families, Residence Life and Housing is encouraging students to arrive during the following move-in time frames based on their housing assignment.

  • Babcock, Bostwick, and Collins Halls are encouraged to arrive between 8:00 and 10:30 am
  • Angelou, Johnson, Luter, and South Halls are encouraged to arrive between 10:30 am and 12 noon

There may be a wait in the car line as you approach your student’s residence hall.  One strategy I have seen families use is to “divide and conquer” – in other words, the parent/family member stays in the car and waits in the car line, and at the same time the student walks over to his/her residence hall to get the keys to the room and begin the check in process.  Depending on the wait time in the car line, students may also have time to go to the Benson Center to pick up his/her ID card, etc.  It’s not a bad strategy, and with cellphones it would be easy for the parent/family member in the car to text the student when they are almost at the residence hall and the student should head that way to meet up with the family.

Where do I park? Families will be asked to drive up to the front of their student’s residence hall, and volunteers will help unload the student’s belongings onto the grass or sidewalk.  Once the car is empty, the driver of the car continues to park in one of the large parking lots on the north side of campus, and the student (and any family helpers) will take boxes to his/her room.  There are many student and staff volunteers who will help carry boxes with you.  After you’ve unpacked the car and you are driving toward the north side of campus to park, officers will direct you to the appropriate lots, and you can walk back to your student’s residence hall to help with the unpacking.

What if we need to buy things (rugs, storage bins, etc.)? There will be a large tent on the Manchester Quad set up with all manner of Bed, Bath and Beyond type supplies for purchase.  There will also be vendors selling area rugs and other goods.  Look there first before you decide to go off campus to another local store.

Now some advice:

Be patient – with 1,300+ new students moving in on the same day, there could be times where you have to wait in line.  It might be in the car driving to your student’s residence hall, at the Campus Services and Information Fair in Benson to pick up ID cards and keys, or even to get lunch.  Know that you have all day to accomplish things, and don’t fret about a wait.

Stay hydrated – if it is warm and sunny outside and you are helping move in all your student’s possessions, you might get overheated.  There are drink stations outside all the residence halls.  Please stay hydrated.  Ask for help from any staff member if you feel unwell.

Be diplomatic – normally one student gets to the room first and is well into unpacking before the roommate arrives.  Don’t despair at the amount of boxes and clothes the roommate has; typically everything fits.  I have seen some families get very jumpy at what they perceive is the roommate’s overpacking.  My best advice is to turn a blind eye to the number of boxes, and let the two roommates work out how to fit everything in.  If you think your student’s roommate has too many boxes, it might be a great time for you to head to Starbucks and have a cup of coffee and relax : )

Understand your student may act a little differently – he or she might be excited, or nervous, or trying to put on a brave face with his/her new peers in an unfamiliar situation, or he/she may want to act independently in getting all the business of move in taken care of.  Every student handles the hustle and bustle of Move-In differently.  Be there with a supportive hug when needed, and let the student have his/her distance when needed.

Honor the Orientation schedule. There will be activities for students only, and activities for parents and family members only.  When your students are scheduled to attend an activity with their advising group or their hall, let them do that.  We expect students to attend all required activities.  This is the students’ chance to bond, which will make their transition to college (and your departure) easier.

Have fun whenever you can. Sure, it can be a grind to move in and deal with extra trips to Target or the grocery store and such, but this is the start of what we hope will be four of the best years of your student’s life.  Celebrate.  Be excited.  Recall your own time at college or during other experiences in your late teens and how fun it was.  You are making family memories now that will last a lifetime.

Take pictures.  This is a major milestone in your student’s journey to adulthood.  Your student will want to remember this day, and so will you.  (Hint: a great graduation gift 4 years from now could be a dual picture frame, with one side containing a picture of your family on Move-In day, and the other reserved for a family picture with your Deac in their cap and gown.)

Before you leave, tell your students that you love them, that you are proud of them, that they’ll do well, and that you trust them. This is the most important of all.  Nothing makes it better like your family can make it better, and we all need someone to remind us that we are loved and valued and capable.

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