Because I'm Curious....Share Your 2020 College Drop Off Experiences

Usually this time of year even the parent cafe has at least a few threads about what to purchase or not purchase for freshman, what to pack or not pack, what to expect or not expect - for any age of college student move in.

Just curious…since we have had none of those threads this year…IF you did college drop off recently, what worked well, didn’t work well, was different than any previous college drop off’s. What make you feel comfortable about dropping off your student - and what didn’t make you comfortable?

I realize many colleges are not having students on campus or students had an option. This thread is for those that DID have a drop off experience.

Dropping off stepkid at Oglethorpe next week. One student in a room this year due to COVID so it will be different. Masks required, of course, and the usual help unloading will be limited. They have asked that family members be limited (i.e. no siblings etc) and that the move in happen expeditiously and the parents hit the road. I am a little anxious, but stepkid is a sophomore, and it sounds like the residential life staff is prepared to help smooth the way. Focus seems to be more on freshmen since they will have to adjust without suitemates or roommates.

The first difference was that S19 was only allowed one helper. So Little S and I said our goodbyes to S19 at home. That was really hard. It seems dumb, but I was a little upset not getting to help set up his dorm room.

Before he left there was a bit of a dust-up. S was adamant that he was “taking too much” b/c they were told to pack light. There was some arguing back and forth but S finally saw that he was being ridiculous. Everything he took fit into my Rogue w/ room to spare, for crying out loud!! We were even able to pack his winter clothes when we were originally going to send those along in a few weeks.

S had to go straight to the athletic center for testing and paperwork. He was 7th in line so he had his dorm keys in hand in about an hour. Not bad at all! Only issue was they decided about 3 kids in that parents had to come inside and register as well as the kids. I guess parents were walking into dorms w/o any sort of ID. Kids were given bright yellow stickers so security knew who had tested. I guess security wanted the parents to get some sort of visitor pass as well. That held the line up a little as DH had to get inside. He felt pretty bad walking past the long line of people waiting.

Unloading took maybe 20-30 min and DH spent maybe another 10-15min helping rearrange furniture. Everyone got a single, but all the furniture stays so there was some extra stuff to move around. Other than that, DH left unpacking to S. They were just leaving S’s room to say goodbyes when a friend came out of the room next door… vociferous hellos were exchanged which made DH & I feel alot better about S not being the most social person ever.

Then DH drove home. And we miss S just as much as we missed him last year!!
Now as for timely testing results… don’t get me started.

Thankfully Purdue allowed two people to come for move in so H and I drove with D. We both wanted to see her dorm since it will be our only opportunity to be on campus.

What was different: Key pick up was at the outskirts of campus and we had to go through a police check point for temp checks and covid result verification. Then someone from campus verified that D had completed her covid presentation and quiz, signed the protect Purdue pledge, and was cleared to be on campus. There was a contactless key pick up and then we were able to unload at the dorm.

We passed only one other family in the dorm. They spaced out move in well. Everyone was mask wearing.

D is in a single with private bath this year and since she’s not supposed to leave, nor have visitors, I feel like she brought more than usual. Clothing for the entire semester covering multiple seasons, and no roommate to split common items like fridge/microwave/coffeemaker/rug. Felt like she had a ton of stuff.

Our move in experience for my sophomore sounds similar. Son had an assigned move in time and first stop was a health check in, for both of us. He also had to wear his lanyard all day as a symbol that he had done the health check in (where presumably they verify negative test results of the test everyone did before move in). That process was very smooth and quick. He then got his key alone at his dorm office, parents were asked to wait outside, there were just like 3 of us on the patio. Moved into the single without really seeing a single soul on the floor!! Son says it is still that way LOL! Introvert floor!

So overall it was very quiet, and we didn’t see or interact with people, which, of course, was the goal. And, being sophomore move in, I’m sure that’s always way more low-key, and there was no roommate or roommate family to deal with. There were students walking around of course, and out playing volleyball in the yard with masks on. We did the usual trip to Target and just got drive through food and ate it in his room while setting some stuff up. He met up with friends after I left. I felt fine. It was very easy and low key. Emotions were so much lower than last year, although the Convocation Ceremony for all first years was a huge wonderful part of that.

The biggest difference, besides just interacting with no one, was, when driving around, seeing the groups of what I imagine were the freshmen, sitting outdoors, in masks, very spread apart, probably having an orientation session. I felt bad for them…I’m glad that they get to be on campus, but the whole orientation process was probably much less “fun” all spread apart and in masks, even though everyone we saw (from afar LOL) was super friendly and enthusiastic. And the fact that the freshmen and their families didn’t get to experience the super-special ceremony in person that really had all of us feeling great and excited as we said our goodbyes.

D20 was not allowed any helpers. Our whole experience was 15 minutes. We pulled up to the main entrance, they verified a negative Covid result from a test by mail the week before, and we were directed to an EZ Up in a field with her dorm name. We pulled up, as we took items from the car workers from the school loaded them onto a truck to be driven to her building, a hug and kiss goodbye, and we drove off while she walked to the next tent to get her ID, keys, and a bag lunch. Watching her walk away all alone wearing a mask and her backpack was extremely difficult and since she is an only child, that will be our only experience dropping a student off at college for the first time. While I am sad about the nature of everything, I respect the school’s desire to keep people away.

D is at Purdue so, as noted above, I couldn’t go this year - had to stay home with her younger sister.

Wife said they had to check-in at the airport, as described above, but everything else was normal. She’s in the same room as last year, so I didn’t miss anything and she didn’t need anything new.

S had a two stage move in, only one helper at each. First was dropping off all his stuff, which coincided with orientation (student and parent). I did that with him, but since we returned from vacation late the evening prior, we only managed to get about half his stuff there. Brutally hot and his key card to get in his room didn’t work. Finally got help with that but didn’t stay long, basically just got his bed set up and everything else unpacked. Second was his actual drop off, about four days later, which H handled. He had about as much stuff. That went super smoothly, and H was able to meet the roommate. Had to check in, as may have noted, to confirm they received his negative test. I’m very comfortable with the regulations. Everyone was wearing masks (they are required inside and outside at all times). His desk chair is small and plastic, so we purchased a nice “office” type chair and will drop that off soon. He’s only about 45 minutes away. He also waited until he was in the room to purchase any decorative stuff. Ordered some LED lights and a banner after a few days and has already received them and put them up. So far so good. He is very happy, likes his classes, and has made a group of friends already. No COVID cases on campus as of yet. Crossing fingers he can stay until November.

@helpingmom40 Wow, that would’ve been incredibly hard for me! Big Hugs

@ChaosParent23 It was really hard, I was tearing up just typing about it. The biggest plus was she didn’t get to see DH and I looking sad as we left her and she proved a lot to herself about what she was capable of.

We are on the front end of an extended move in process this weekend. When the pandemic began, we decided that DD20 would drive rather than fly to her campus city. We rented a lake house 30 minutes from campus to manage the uncertainty about exactly which day her move in would be and add a coupe of vacation days. The move in appointment was not booked until 8/1 and, of course, has now been pushed back from 8/29-9/3 to 9/26-9/29. Classes still start (online) 9/7 though and will pause to allow for move in—unless there is no move in— which ruins the vacation plans. So we chose to keep the vacation plans, pick up her books on campus, and just hope that we get to spend 14 hours making the round trip drive again in a few weeks. Wish us luck!

HS friend took her son to Gonzaga for jr year this weekend. He’s in an apartment style dorm with fewer kids/ unit than usual. Has a bedroom and half bath most.y to himself and shares the full bath with the other two. Mom sent more cookware/dishes that she expects him to keep just for himself…?
Hoping this works.

My S (UofChicago) does not move back until end of September. Hopefully, he will get to go back, and hopefully, it will not be Bedlam!

Wow, I’m a little choked up just reading some of these situations. While they seem to be orchestrated well, the situation is just sometimes still hard to comprehend.

I would say you parents need to also have an extra dose of patience, listening and supporting with and of your students as they juggle new challenges - and temptations - in the next few weeks.

We totally ignored the pack light advice. My thought was with remote classes, and social distancing rules, she was going to spend more time than usual in her room. We tried to make it as comfortable as possible. She’s another with a double room that was converted to a single, but furniture was left. She put the beds together to make a giant king and has approximately 500 pillows. I’m so glad both my husband and I could go to move in, it would have been so hard to miss that too.

Agree @Darcy123 Maybe fewer clothes for our kid, but more “nice to haves” for the dorm room. That’s a great idea about putting the beds together. I will pass that on.

We were of the same mindset, @Darcy123. Although we tried to make some minimalist choices, we wanted our D20 to be as comfortable as possible being 2000 miles away in a dorm where she was going to spending more time than in a normal year and attending all of her remote classes. I was the only one there to help her move-in – even though she was allowed two helpers. My H stayed home with my younger D who is asthmatic. The school spaced out the move-in dates and times very well – it was never crowded and all those we observed moving in around the same time wore masks and socially distanced. D got her covid test an hour prior to move in right on campus. We were able to move all of her stuff into her room with only two trips from the car and unpacked/organized everything in a couple of hours. She and her roommate lucked out with a triple room, complete with the extra furniture. Her roommate’s parents took apart the third bed and stowed it underneath her bed before we got into the room. The girls have what could almost be a dance floor in the middle of their room now, lol. The third closet and extra refrigerator are much appreciated. So, all in all, a different kind of move-in, but not bad. The biggest disappointment was not having our whole family there. I took lots of photos.