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Reminisce About "First Days" of College - share a story

abasketabasket 19197 replies854 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
I know, I know, we've done this oodles of times before, probably each year. But I'm seeing this feed and my FB feed full of back to school happiness/sadness/struggles/empty next fears.
Let's share the good, bad, ugly of college drop off with some brief memories - for looking back on our own experiences or for those (many!) here who are doing the drop off for the first or second time.

Great memory:
D2's freshman year and how we didn't have to unload a thing from the car - a team of athletes swooped in and unloaded our trunk(s) in no time and deposited it right in her room! She was the 3rd going to college so it was a MIRACLE after 8 other drop off years with her first two siblings!
Hard memory:
D1 (first child) drop off. HARD. SO MANY TEARS. That first night at home,me lying in bed and just feeling totally empty inside that she was not down the hall but I had left her in a place far away (like 75 minutes, haha) and it was going to be like that for weeks!

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Replies to: Reminisce About "First Days" of College - share a story

  • eyemamomeyemamom 5421 replies79 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    My sons drop off - he really was not ready and I knew it. We’re at a restaurant in town before dropping him off at his dorm to start orientation and we are just talking about going home and he says - you’re leaving already?! We drive the 7 hrs home with me crying most of the way. A few days later I cry at the deli counter when I don’t need to order his favorites.
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  • MaineLonghornMaineLonghorn 38128 replies2089 threadsSuper Moderator Super Moderator
    My "dropoff" of our oldest son was at the Portland airport in 2010. The airline agent was kind and gave me a pass to accompany our son to his gate (that doesn't happen anymore!!). DS looked a little lost, even though he was a seasoned traveler. I can remember the scene EXACTLY. I cried hard after he walked onto the jetway. Probably a good thing I didn't know he would fall ill and end up dropping out of college.
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  • momocarlymomocarly 888 replies11 threadsRegistered User Member
    Dropping my "baby" off at college Freshman year was hard for me. For him no big deal. We drove up the 12 hours to his school. His older sister (w/mental illness no college - 6 hours only) insisted on coming along and rode up in his car. We opted for move in the evening before everyone else came because we didn't want to leave the stuff in the car overnight. We got there, unloaded everything, set up the room, took S shopping for food and to pick up some stuff we had sent to the BBB store there. Took it to the dorm and went out to dinner. Then he was ready to go back to the dorm. We all agreed to meet him for breakfast the next morning and say goodbye. We were going on to see the eclipse. Well, that night D had a melt down and a major depressive incident and HAD to go home. It was not pretty and a HUGE mess. I won't go into everything she did but we had no choice but to leave early the next morning and drive home. I never got to say goodbye to my son or meet his roommate and it still hurts! He however was fine with it and went on to meet his gf a couple of days later!

    Since then he has done all the first days on his own. I will admit to crying some after he pulls away each year. He does humor me by sending pictures of his frat room after he sets it up. I get to go to Mom's day each year too! Today he is in charge of moving 29 new students into his frat house (he is the President). Should be an interesting day but I do miss him.
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  • shellfellshellfell 3304 replies11 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    S1's dropoff was pretty uneventful. Returning students helped unload the car, his RA came by to introduce herself. He didn't want help setting up his room because his roommate wasn't there yet & he wanted to wait for him (nice gesture on his part- see below for S2's experience). His LAC had some workshops for parents (e.g., at student health, welcome from the president, etc). We dropped him off around 8 or 9 am and eventually left campus around 5pm. No teary goodbyes. He was ready.
    S2's dropoff was decidedly different. He lived in a quad and 2 of his roommates were friends, got there first, and took the 2 single beds (there was also a bunkbed), chose their closets, desks, etc. before S2 and the other roommate arrived. No compromising, no consideration for their other roommates. The mother of one of them justified taking the largest closet because he had so much stuff. One of the boys brought a TV, but put it above S2's desk, not his. The impression I got of these 2 boys was not good and had me so concerned about how quiet, unassertive S2 would fare there that I went back to our hotel and cried. Needless to say, before the first semester was over, one of those boys was moved after getting into a drunken fight with his friend. Early in the 2nd semester, S2 changed rooms, altho he's never told us why he made that decision.
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  • HouseChatteHouseChatte 651 replies1 threadsRegistered User Member
    Both sons went to school on the opposite coast. I went along while DH held down the fort at home for various reasons.

    DS1's move-in was car-free. We fit everything he wanted in our luggage, and what odds and ends he ended up needing I was able to pick up and bring back on the bus. It worked out well. Tiring, since I took more trips to divide up the load, but also helped him prioritize -- which he was already good at, anyway. It was sweet having him tell me to be careful, and to text when I got back to hotel.

    DS2's was, again, a flight away, which went very smoothly for us but not for those on the ground -- we were in the air during the August 2011 earthquake. Fewer transit options at his location so I rented a car. Smooth move-in, pleasant start with roommate. But that's also the August that Hurricane Irene hit, and my travel back home got canceled. No flights out for days, scrambling to change hotel stay and car rental, finally ended up driving to a more distant airport and limping eastward via an overnight at O'Hare.

    And, oh, how I wish there were things I knew then, ways we could have steered them towards various options for help when they needed it. But they both rose to their circumstances with humor and courage, and can look back on their college experiences with pride.
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  • CountingDownCountingDown 13403 replies110 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I was doing Ancestry things yesterday and I got a clue...about me. Opened the link and it was my college yearbook, sophomore year (1980-1981). The first picture I saw belonged to my college boyfriend, and next to him, in alpha order was this girl. With hair. And cheekbones. Took me a moment to realize who it was. I have no recollection of getting this picture taken, but clearly it was intentional, as I was wearing makeup and my hair was perfect.

    And for the umpteenth time, wondered how and why the heck I put up with the nasty comments from said boyfriend about my appearance.
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  • FallGirlFallGirl 8030 replies27 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I was the third of my parents kids to go to college so I joke that they just slowed the car down in the dorm parking lot and threw me out!
    In reality, they helped me move in, then took me to lunch. Little did I know that was the best meal I was to have for a long time as my college was wonderful, except for the dorm food. I met my new roommate when I returned. She was a very sweet girl, but we had zero in common and while we got along just fine, we mutually agreed to switch roommates at semester.
    Two guy friends of mine were in the dorm next door so the three of us went out that night to the parties on fraternity row and had a blast. Each of us knew a few people and we found ourselves meeting many more. I had a feeling I was going to like that place and I did.
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  • abasketabasket 19197 replies854 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Did you go into the roommate game knowing your freshman roommate or going in blind?

    There were four of us in our suite - I knew one of the other three. She and I were friends but not super close friends in high school. She never should have come to our school - she was lovesick over a boyfriend - even though his school was only like an hour a way she could not stand to be without him and moped around most of the time. I guess the good thing about that was I was much more active with my other two roommates - one in particular and met lots of people on my floor. The girl I knew left our school after freshman year and transferred to her BF's school - they did up marrying and are still!

    I really have fond memories of the first two years especially of college. Junior year was a shift in friends as my best friend and roommate ALSO went back home for a boy. I would love to know what a few friends from college are up to now - can't remember their last names to look them up!!!

    By senior year I was ready to move on and in fact took a class in the summer before senior year so I could graduate a semester early. Yep, I had a BF then too - actually had him largely all four years (our schools were an hour apart) and I was just done with the college scene.
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  • maya54maya54 2124 replies88 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited August 20
    I went to college with my best friend but our parents didn’t want us to live together and we went in blind. My roommate was always using our room to have sex with her boyfriend and locking me out. Hers tried to kill herself. Fun times. After that we lived together. ( and still talk every single day...usually multiple times) .
    edited August 20
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  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 7000 replies50 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Went in blind. Was assigned a quad. One roommate sucked. She was a slob and brought different guys home constantly. We had no idea who we’d be seeing in our room in the am. Very disconcerting. Others were great and one has become a life long friend.
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  • LizardlyLizardly 2506 replies11 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    S1 drop off at Big State U an hour and a half away. He roomed with a good HS friend, a first gen kid. (S1 is half first gen.) I remember the parents were reluctant to leave and the kids were dying for us to go. The other father and I saw what was going on and proposed a farewell meal at a popular brunch spot that would signal the end of the drop off. I made my H stay away for four weeks---he had a worse time than me with S1's leaving. Then we drove up and took S1 out to eat.

    S2 drop off at small college a plane ride away. We stopped at Target on the way from the airport to buy him a few things, a very few things. His roommate was chosen for him, a wonderful guy who became a close friend. Roommate was the first kid to leave home and his mom had shipped him all kinds of things, the whole Bed Bath menu of things. I felt like a negligent mother having picked up so few items! This school had a clear drop off agenda, so parents knew when they were supposed to leave.
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  • dcolosidcolosi 527 replies23 threadsRegistered User Member
    I went to school OOS and 10 hours away from home. I didn't know anyone on campus and my roommate was older than me. He was a transfer student and technically going into his junior year. My drop off was pretty simple and a few weeks into the school year I rushed and joined a fraternity so I moved into the house spring semester. Best move I could have made and loved my time.

    As for my D1, her move was really simple. Freshman year she moved in a little earlier than most since she was in a Learning Living Community so we avoided all the crowds of regular freshman move in. I pulled up to the front door of the dorm, grabbed a cart and in about 3 trips we had all of her stuff into her first floor room.

    Last year her move was pretty easy as well. She lived in the sorority house so again, we moved in early to avoid the crowds and the only real pain was her room was on the third floor and there isn't an elevator. This year she moves in on Friday and will have a first floor room so she is going down earlier that morning and I am going down after work with what she can't get in her car and her bike since she has a group ride the next day.

    Move in seems a lot different now a day then during my time. A lot more organized with better traffic flow. During my day it literally show up and hope for the best.
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  • EconPopEconPop 119 replies2 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    edited August 21
    My college had blind roommate assignments. I was an introvert, quiet and bookish, and from the fourth largest city in our state. My roommate was an extrovert country kid who loved guns, country music, and chaw. He welcomed every morning with endless series of farts, a cigarette (this was back when smoking was allowed indoors) and a pinch of tobacco between the gums and teeth. His alarm was a clock radio that played country music at its loudest setting, which he never turned off because he was always hungover and could hardly hear it. He was loud and rude. The friends he regularly invited to our room were somewhat less loud and rude versions of himself. I was apprehensive of him from the beginning, and later we actively disliked each other. I resented that he was a slob who left smelly dirty clothes and reeking spit cans all over the room -- he resented that I liked to read and study.

    One of his best friends was a boy halfway down our hall. I actually liked him, though he was not the kind of kid I would hang out with. I was more friendly with the friend's roommate, who was a Physics major. I was in engineering at the time and we clicked immediately. Halfway through that first semester, we swapped roommates, with me moving to the other room. My new roommate was a great match for me. Studious and a reader, but infinitely more outgoing and "normal" than I was. Mostly he was extremely well-rounded, where I was unrounded. We chose to continue being roommates beyond our freshman year.

    He was the perfect college roommate for me. I hope my son gets so lucky next fall. Yet, I'm very happy I had my first horrible roommate. Without going through that terrible experience, I might not have appreciated my new roommate as much as I should have. And I might not have met my good roommate, had not my bad roommate been friends with the good roommate's roommate.
    edited August 21
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  • VeryapparentVeryapparent 879 replies16 threadsRegistered User Member
    My father drove me on the 7 hour drive to Syracuse. He smoked cigars the entire ride. When we drove into campus one of the fraternities had a sign that said :Fathers your daughters will lose their virginity here". I remember him laughing...pretty sure that would not happen today..either the sign or the amusement. My dorm was a small triple and we were the last to arrive. I was on crutches with a broken ankle and neither roommate was willing to give up their bed so I ended up on the only top bunk. Boy that was fun. He took me to lunch after and then looked really uncomfortable when I started to cry as the weight of it all caught up with me. I recovered quickly. Had a blast after that.
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  • JHSJHS 18382 replies71 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    About a month before orientation began, I got a postcard with my freshman roommates' names and addresses. One lived in a wealthy suburb of a south-Midwestern city slightly larger than mine. One lived in a mid-size city in the western, non-coastal Northeast (or perhaps the easternmost Midwest), and had an obviously Jewish name. That was I. One lived in a dying southeastern Pennsylvania steel town. And one lived in a neighborhood in Washington DC that was 99% African-American and desperately poor.

    A day or so later, a letter arrived from the Pennsylvania kid that was so outrageously nerdy that I can quote it verbatim 45 years later: "September rears its ugly head, and we will soon be together at Yale (salaam, salaam). If we are to believe Doonesbury, circa 1970, our room should consist of one freak, one jock, one prep, and one molecular biophysicist. I claim the latter position. . . ." (He did, too. His life goal -- which he shared enthusiastically, and which he missed, but not by so terribly much -- was to win a Nobel Prize in medicine.)

    The big surprise was that our room really did have a freak, a jock, and a prep -- and they were all the kid from DC. He really was from the ghetto; his brother was in prison and he had never met his father. But he had effectively been shanghaied in eighth grade by A Better Chance and sent to Groton, where he had been the football team captain and a house proctor. He was into the Grateful Dead and Yes; he did black-and-white landscape photography; his friends had fathers who were household names. (He was also addicted -- literally, physically addicted -- to marijuana. But this is the funny stories, so I won't dwell on that.)

    The fourth roommate had gone to a school much like mine -- the best private day school in a provincial city -- but unlike me he was tall, blond, beautiful, and wearing his high school football jersey. He was enthusiastically, good-naturedly offensive, in a manner not unlike a certain President, except that in his case the show masked what turned out to be a heart of gold and real attention to the needs of other people, if not always their feelings.

    Anyway, I had been in the room about 20 minutes, and I had said my awkward goodbyes to my awkward father, who had driven me there but had no idea what to do with himself once we arrived (nor did I). I was standing in the middle of our small common room looking out at the ant-colony move-in day activity on the Old Campus. Blond, jocky guy came and stood next to me, looking out, too, silent for a while. Then he casually draped his arm around my shoulders, and without looking at me, my new roommate (my future lifelong friend) said, "They told me back home this was Jew Haven, but I had no idea it could be this bad."

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  • stradmomstradmom 5010 replies50 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    DH flew with S1 to Chicago for freshman year dropoff while I physically restrained his younger sisters from taking over his room until the car left the driveway.
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