Freshman Year Move-In: Covid Edition

Last year if you told me I would be moving into a college dorm after a remote semester during a pandemic, I wouldn’t have believed you. College move-in was something I looked forward to all of my senior year. Picking out the perfect room decor, meeting my roommate, and setting it all up was the part of my freshman year I was most excited for. Once the pandemic hit, I knew my college move-in experience was going to be anything but normal. 


Coming to college, I had no idea what to expect. I had heard stories from friends about their move-in process, but it was difficult to translate their experiences into a world that is amid  a pandemic. There were so many unknowns and questions that weren’t able to be answered. What was the room going to look like? Did I overpack? Will me and my roommate get along? So much anxiety filled the days leading up to the move-in. Making sure I had all the necessities along with the things that reminded me of home became an overwhelming task. The last few days at home consisted of Target runs, cuddling with my dog, and running through my daily routine to make sure I had everything. 


Move-in day finally came and I was anxious but ultimately excited to begin this new chapter of my life. I said my final goodbyes to my sister and dog and we made our way to Lafayette. On the car ride up I kept thinking about how things would be on campus, I worried about being away from my family, getting lost while making my way to an in-person class, and ultimately how I would acclimate to such a new environment. After an hour and a half long drive up to College Hill, I had finally made it. Seeing campus filled with fluffy white snow I grew excited to call it my new home.


Standing in line at Pfenning Alumni Center waiting to be tested for COVID-19 my heart was racing because of the unknown. I knew I hadn’t seen anyone before coming onto campus and I followed all the rules, but just awaiting the results of the test was nerve-wracking. Once I made my way to Gates Hall, my home for the next four months, my nerves calmed down and I couldn’t wait to get inside and start putting together my room. After five hours of unpacking and organizing, my room was finally complete. I was beyond excited to get out and explore campus while meeting new people, but that couldn’t happen because of the pandemic. 


After spending the entire day in our room, my roommate and I ventured out to get dinner at Upper. Walking into Farinon and I was completely overwhelmed. There were so many people, but no familiar faces. Neither of us knew where to go or what to do, we were completely lost. Not having anyone to tell us where things were or how they worked on campus made everything so much more difficult since most of the people we had talked to were in the same boat as us. After finally figuring out how to get our food we then had to go straight back to our room where we had to eat, just the two of us.


Later that night when we were getting ready for bed, I thought about how different the entire process would have been a year ago. Orientation would have been in person, the fall semester wouldn't have been remote, and we would be able to see the friends we made through social media. My entire move-in experience would have been completely different in a COVID-free world. I know my freshman year move-in will be something I remember for the rest of my life because of the circumstances the world is going through right now, but I can’t help but think that a huge part of my college experience has been taken away from me.