Courtesy of Steve G, UD '05Aaaaahhh, the start of your college career. Late August or early September (depending on what year you started UD), those first few days of school -- particularly your first year -- are a mélange of moving-in, ditching your parents, buying books, and all that other shit you do preceding the actual start of classes. Oh, and maybe you also had a drop of beer or two…but that’s the next chapter. This one is a tad more innocent.
The trip to school. Oh boy. For some of you it was an easy drive, for others it might’ve been planes, trains, and automobiles. Personally, I fell into the three-hour radius away from Newark, DE. I think that’s a very common driving distance, considering all the NJ and PA kids who opt for UD…often over Rutgers and Penn State, right?
I made my poor father wake up at around 5 AM, so we could make it to UD during the 8 AM hour, when they said people should start arriving. This was before they figured out the science of staggering arrival times, and all of that. What’s amazing is seeing all the other cars on I-95, doing the exact same thing you are…with all the college junk packed in the backseat. My mommy stayed home, probably a bit -- okay, a lot -- misty over me leaving, as I'm the oldest (of two). Awwwwwww. Well, I think UD was correct in their recommendation to get there early, cuz...
Parking. Well, I was in Dickinson, so we were all instructed to park on that grass field across Hillside Road -- which was filling up, quickly. Fire lanes were already filled. Back then, UD’s notorious car ticketing policy was relaxed on move-in day…but I have heard stories of cars being tagged on move-in day in the years since.
Checking-in. In the lobby of your dorm. When they gave you your individual dorm room key, as well as your building access key -- which was the good ole' PDI card when I was at UD. It was a pretty thick credit card sized thing, that worked magnetically. I think. In fact, one of the things they warned you about was to keep it away from 3.5” computer floppy disks, which were the standard of my time.
Meeting the roommate. Hey, I lucked out. Great guy -- whom for the sake of pseudo-anonymity, we’ll call him “AB” -- from Warrington, PA. Played Men’s Soccer for UD, and also graduated with an unreal GPA. Yep, he’s one of those. Ended up living with him all four years, became one of my best friends, and I was in his wedding party. His now wife (and mother of their two children) lived on our Dickinson floor that first year as well...oh, and she's got a great rack. AB and I were in 116 Dickinson C during '91 - '92. There will be several AB stories on this site (from all four years), with the man himself stepping-up to provide commentary.
Making sure nothing is fucked-up in your room. Remember this? They gave you an itemized list of the basic stuff that's already in your room; mirrors, wastebaskets, etc. If you found anything that was broken or whatever, you were supposed to report it right away...so you wouldn't be charged for it at the end-of-year, as if you broke it!
The actual lugging of all your crap up to your room. Well, you know the drill. Back and forth to the car, up and down the stairs. As many times as needed. But move-in 1991 (the year I started UD) was coincidentally the start of what evolved into…
The Arrival Survival Team. Originally, this was 30 Sigma Chi brothers who volunteered to help freshmen move their stuff in. I’m not sure if they were stationed only at Dickinson and Rodney for that first year, but I considered it absolute genius on two levels, 1) I do actually admire the volunteering effort, and 2) Brilliant way to have first shot at the new batch of UD girls. (I’m not saying that’s the reason they did it…but it’s definitely the reason I would do it…) Anyway, UD officially took over the Arrival Survival Team concept a few years later, and the number of annual volunteers has grown to over 600…
…oh, and here’s an update: as of 2013, Arrival Survival has been renamed “Blue Hen Helpers.” Uhhhh, sorry but, lame, right? The “Arrival Survival" name implied just what it was; the down-and-dirty work of move-in day. "Blue Hen Helpers" sounds like elf workers in Santa's shop for Christmas. But maybe they wanted a name that was UD specific.
To Bunk or Not to Bunk? Anyway, I told roommate AB right off the bat, that I have a phobia of falling out of the top bunk. He had no problem with it, so we kept ‘em bunked, and I took the bottom. Simple as that. However, a common practice to make space (before the “loft-era” came in full force), was to de-bunk the beds, and then elevate them via cinder blocks. Yeah, but where to get (actually, rip-off) a bunch of cinder blocks? Let’s just say that cinder blocks often grow next to train tracks. Now, if only train tracks ran close to Dickinson. Oh, wait.
“Freshman year move-in…wow. My parents forced me into living in the all-girl dorm -- Warner -- which, honestly, is awkward if you have any sort of social life. Though, the dorm itself is gorgeous, and most of the rooms are huge! I would give anything to live there if it was co-ed. Anywayyyy, we passed all those signs on the drive in, saying, ‘Freshman Daughter Drop-Off,’ and also the battles of beer pong going on in front lawns...my dad got nervous.”
- Kimberly, UD '07
“Met my roommate, first day of freshman year 1995…Lane Hall. I knew it was going to be a rough year when I was kicked out of the room that night when she hooked up with a guy she just met on our floor that day. What a welcome I got to college!”
- Anonymous, UD '99
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