University move-in day: It’s an annual fall rite of passage complete with long lines, piles of suitcases, boxes of Easy Mac and more than a few tears from proud parents.
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This year, Longwood Dean of Admissions Sallie McMullin expects the largest freshman class ever, slightly more than the record-setting 1,111 freshmen who enrolled last fall. On Thursday, the cars started lining up early—many families left when it was still dark outside—and continued into the early evening.
Below is a snapshot of move-in day from the perspective of several students.
Freshman Maddy Seay was all smiles standing next to her older sister, Meredith, who’s also a Longwood student, though both rolled their eyes about the pile of plastic bags in front of them.
"Mom said it’s easier to move with bags, so you can just throw them away once you unpack," said Maddy. Mom quickly came to her own defense: "It’s a good idea," she said. "Moms know about things like this!"Freshman Maddy Seay was all smiles standing next to her older sister, Meredith, who’s also a Longwood student, though both rolled their eyes about the pile of plastic bags in front of them.
Maddy and Meredith are cousins by marriage to Longwood Provost Ken Perkins, who met them outside their building to help with some of the heavy lifting. It turns out, Maddy is living in the same suite her older sister had last year, something Perkins swears he had nothing to do with. "I can pull a few strings around here, but I didn’t set that up," he said with a laugh.
For Maddy, the year promises to be exciting—her roommate is an old middle school friend she had lost touch with when they attended different high schools, and a suitemate is coming to Farmville from Ireland. "Maybe she’ll invite me back with her," said Maddy.
Jake Hull, a freshman from Chester, is following in his family’s Lancer footsteps.
Both of Hull’s parents are Longwood alumni—Rudy Hull ’86 and Mary Beth Hart Hull ’85—and his brother, Sam, is a senior. Both parents helped him move into Cox, where Sam lived during his sophomore year.
Mary Beth, a longtime math teacher at DuPont Elementary in Hopewell, was asked if she or Rudy encouraged Jake to attend Longwood. "We encouraged his older brother to go here but not Jake. Longwood is the only school Jake applied to."
Jake applied to Longwood after visiting the campus in July 2013 and was accepted that day through the immediate decision program.
Mary Beth said neither she nor Rudy ever lived in Cox. "No, but we partied there," she said, her face lighting up with a smile.
Mariah Robinson and Kayla Hogues
Mariah Robinson and Kayla Hogues, freshmen from Stafford, were classmates the last two years at North Stafford High School. At Longwood, the freshmen will be both classmates and roommates.
They decided together to attend Longwood, then decided together to be roommates. Do they anticipate any problems living together? "No, we know how to deal with each other," said Hogues.
They met and became close friends at the beginning of their junior year when Hogues, whose home school was Colonial Forge High School, started taking an early childhood education class at North Stafford in which Robinson was enrolled. Both also took the same class their senior year.
On move-in day, Robinson arrived on campus only 10 minutes after Hogues. "Everything’s good so far," said Robinson about 10:30 on Thursday morning as she and Hogues moved in. Said Hogues, "We’ve moved in and just have to unpack." How long will that take? "A while," Robinson said, laughing.
It was an early start to the day for Sarah Holayal, a freshman from Ashburn.
"We left the house before dawn, at about 5 a.m.," said Sarah. The family traveled south with Sarah’s brother, Omar, a student at Christopher Newport. Big brother, though, was holding out on college advice until everyone was unpacked. "He’s helping me move in, but he didn’t tell me what I should pack," said Sarah.
At 9:30 a.m., only one trip remained to her freshman suite for Sarah, who plans to study psychology. She’s looking forward to meeting her suitemates in person, after speaking with them on Facebook.
Lindsey Byers, a freshman from Portsmouth, is one of the lucky freshmen.
Byers arrived early on move-in day—at 11:30 even though she couldn’t begin moving in until 2 that afternoon—because she was among the 200 freshmen who won a parking spot through an annual lottery. "My car [a ’97 Jeep Wrangler] is already sitting in the freshman parking lot by Lancer Park," Byers said.
"Longwood is the only school I applied to and the only school I wanted to attend," said Byers, who was accepted through the immediate decision program after a campus tour in October 2013. She will be a candidate for the athletic training program.
For some, move-in day is about finding their bearings on campus—locating parking services and IT, and finding solutions for inevitable obstacles. And in the rush of moving in, important items sometimes get misplaced or left behind.
Before Christopher Allen, of Virginia Beach, could move his belongings into his new room, some troubleshooting was in order. "As soon as I find my key, it’ll be smooth sailing," he said.
Minutes later, key in hand, Allen was swiftly unpacking in his residence hall room.
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