On August 29 and 30, the Class of 2018 will arrive to the Hill to begin their four years here. It’s an exciting and overwhelming first few days. Brandon Cash ’16 offers some tips and insights on how to ace Drop Off, Drop By and Move-In Day.
Off, By, and In: three prepositions and then BOOM. College.
Welcome to your first lesson as a student at St. Olaf College. Now, who can tell me what a preposition is? If you had a high school English teacher like I did, you probably know that a preposition is a part of speech that serves as a locater in time and place for nouns. You, the Ole student, are a noun: a person, place, or thing, and you happen to be entering an important time in your life as you venture to a new place.
I’ll return to that analogy later, but first, let me introduce myself. My name is Brandon Cash and I am a junior at St. Olaf. I’d like to take a minute or two to share with you my Drop Off, Drop By and Move-In Day experiences, both as an incoming student and as a Junior Counselor (JC) in a first year dorm. I hope that with these two perspectives I can shed light on these two days which, if done right, can set you up for a great first year here on Manitou Hill!
So first off, what is Drop Off, Drop By? Plain and simple, it is a window of time for you and your families to drop off your stuff in your dorm room and drop by to visit with fellow Oles and Ole parents. This event was a lifesaver for me and my family. Because we had stopped by the dorm the day before, we avoided a lot of the chaos that naturally occurs on Move-In Day. Aside from the initial drop off, there are some other perks to the day as well:
1. You get help unloading. That’s right, you don’t need to carry your futon up to the fourth floor alone! The JC staff will be awaiting your arrival to assist you in carrying in the whole trunk-load. Sure, they’ll be there on Move-In Day, but why wait when you’ve got curb-side service?
2. Speaking of JCs, you’ll probably get to meet yours! The whole staff will be around to make the day run smoothly so you’re bound to meet your JCs. Meeting them early is by no means a requirement, but if you do you’ll have a familiar and friendly face that you can look for from the start.
3.The Drop By. You worked hard carrying up all your dorm room necessities, now relax! Oles and their siblings (I dragged my brother along) can head over to the Pause in Buntrock to chill out, eat some food, and connect with your new peers. I am still great friends with the first people I met at the Drop By event and who knows, maybe you’ll make some new friends too. Parents get to head down to President Anderson’s house for a reception. Now, I don’t know what really goes on down there (my dad said they had lobster and champagne and went to a circus… but I wasn’t so sure), but I know that it’s fun. My mom (far more trustworthy) said she really enjoyed talking to parents who were in the same boat that they were.
So that’s that. You’ve dropped off your stuff and you dropped by for a visit. Go home or to the hotel and get some rest because the next day is a roller coaster ride.
Move-In Day is exciting and scary. It is a day full of mixed emotions and it can be a lot to handle, but it becomes one of your most memorable days at St. Olaf. To ease some of the looming anxiety, here are my 10 tips for a successful Move-In Day on the Hill.
1. Get off to a good start. Get a good night’s sleep, eat a healthy breakfast, and stay hydrated. The day will be LONG and HOT so be ready.
2. Come prepared. When packing, be organized and make sure you have everything you need. If you have a rubber mallet – and you’re not taking a plane here – BRING IT. It will make the lofting/de-lofting of beds so much easier. Before you leave home, ensure you have all the tools necessary to assemble your furniture because tools are sparse.
3. Make a plan. You’re going to pull up outside of your dorm and it will be crazy. Take a deep breath and stay calm. Know what you want to accomplish while you are in your room during the morning. If you have a plan in mind the day will run a lot smoother.
4. Ask questions. What questions do you have for your roommate? What questions do you have for your JCs? Parents: Ask questions! My mom asked so many questions I didn’t even think to ask and I’m glad she did. Everyone is there to help you so ask us anything. There are no stupid questions!
5. Talk to people. This is something you will hear a lot. Everyone is feeling the same way so you might as well share it. Meet some of your neighbors. My neighbor in Hoyme came and introduced himself to me on Move In Day and we are still close friends. Honestly, that small interaction made that day so much easier.
6. Do it all. Go to everything. While this piece of advice applies to all of Week One, go to all the events on Move-In Day especially after your families head home. The activities are planned to provide you with the smoothest transition possible.
7. Stay open-minded. You are in a new place with new people and things are going to be different, but staying open-minded is how you can stay on top of getting overwhelmed.
8. Live in the moment. Don’t think too far ahead. Remember that it’s the first day. You’re going to miss something if your mind is already in the future. Be present.
9. It is OK to cry. You will have to say goodbye to your family. St. Olaf does all it can to make it as painless as possible, but it is going to be hard. Don’t be the tough guy that holds back because I’ve seen that backfire later on. If your family is like mine, someone will cry and it is okay if it is you. Confession: I did. If it is really hard, find some private time before the final family event in Skoglund Center to say your goodbyes. Remember: you are not saying goodbye forever. It’s more like see you later.
10. Have fun. It is the most clichéd piece of advice in the book, but I mean it. This is the start of a journey of self-discovery and personal growth. It’s a long journey so you might as well enjoy yourself.
Well there you are. 10 things you can do to make the most of your college move-in. Is that everything? Of course not. I have to leave some of it up to you!
To return to my opening analogy, all of you, students and families included, are at a time and place of change. As you know, change can be hard, but life is full of prepositions and depending on how you write them you may like the change.
You’re OFF on a great adventure,
You don’t need to live strictly BY the book.
If you ask me, you’ve got this IN the bag.