“Someone’s moving into Clark! As a former Clark 1st Floor resident, all I can say is: woo hoo!”
As you read this, approximately800 members of the newly minted Class of 2016 are having their inauguratory hall meetings, stating their hometowns and preferred pronouns, and optimistically including sexile contingency plans in their roommate contracts. They can’t tell Fayerweather from FauverBennet, and they still can’t figure out which wall is best for that Big Lebowski poster, but they are endlessly excited to be here (and some of them look suspiciously familiar). Bienvenue, les enfants! We’re not all back on campus yet, but we’re all really pumped to meet you (and I’m sure the 85 or so international students already on campus would say the same thing). As President Roth noted on his blog this morning,
It’s a beautiful morning, and first-year students will see the campus looking its best as they meet their new roommates, find out how to get their food at Usdan, discover the newly renovated Butterfield dorms and the newly named Bennet Hall. Parents will be wondering (sometimes, with misty eyes) how quickly the time has passed since the first day of high school, while their sons and daughters will often be wondering why their folks are lingering on the campus that now belongs to them. Not to worry: Homecoming/Family Weekend will be here before you know it!
“The station wagons arrived at noon, a long shining line that coursed through the west campus. . . .” —DeLillo, White Noise
Hear that rumbling?
It’s the week of Bed, Bath & Beyond splurges and roommate “fridge 4 microwave” backroom dealings. In less than a week, the station wagons descend on Andrus and over 800 wide-eyed freshpersons swarm the vegan section. Next Wednesday, the biggest freshman class in Wesleyan history (817, at last count) arrives on campus. (International Student Orientation, if you’re keeping track, starts three days earlier, on the 28th.)
Few things in life have more awkwardness potential than two sets of parents moving their respective newly arrived frosh children into their shared dorm room. The Argus already provided an excellent Move-In Montage “so you can permanently commemorate the awkwardness of your very first day” (I would link, but I can’t find it on their site). From CollegeHumor.com comes a clever and eerily accurate run-down of The 7 Types of Parents You See on Move In Day, running the gamut from The Parents Who Went To This School (“Yeah, we used to call it the vomitorium. Haha!”) to The Overly Friendly Parents (“We love everyone! What a lovely duvet you have! Have you met our child yet?”).
Which did they forget? Perhaps the Disgruntled Parents Making Snarky Comments Under Their Breath About Their Kid’s Roommate While Ze’s in the Room? The Button-Down Conservative Parents Who Had No Idea What They Were In For When They Mailed the Wesleyan Deposit? Share your faves.
At around 6:00 next Wednesday, members of Wesleyan’s newly arrived Class of 2014 will meet, shepherded by RAs and Orientation Leaders, on the CFA Green for the traditional barbecue welcome. Left in the dust, their parents will be forced to move on and move out—not necessarily in that order. So goes Operation Separation at Wes: swift and painless.
Not so at other schools. A New York Times cover story this week details the myriad ways in which college orientation schedules have learned to deal with a generation of doting helicopter parents who seemingly refuse to leave—from Morehouse College’s formal “Parting Ceremony” to Princeton’s blunt “students only” designation:
As the latest wave of superinvolved parents delivers its children to college, institutions are building into the day, normally one of high emotion, activities meant to punctuate and speed the separation. It is part of an increasingly complex process, in the age of Skype and twice-daily texts home, in which colleges are urging “Velcro parents” to back off so students can develop independence. . . .
Some undergraduate officials see in parents’ separation anxieties evidence of the excesses of modern child-rearing. “A good deal of it has to do with the evolution of overinvolvement in our students’ lives,” said Mr. Dougharty of Grinnell. “These are the baby-on-board parents, highly invested in their students’ success. They do a lot of living vicariously, and this is one manifestation of that.”
Do (most) parents know instinctively when to peace the hell out? Or does Generation Helicopter really need a more formal, if occasionally ridiculous, dismissal? Does Wes do it right? Discuss and share move-in day horror stories in the comments.