There was general consensus among my coworkers about my overall condition as I returned to the office yesterday afternoon. “You look tired,” a few of them observed. Frankly, I was tired, and I wasn’t even trying to hide it.
Yesterday marked my 12th Move-in Day as a member of the RIT community, but I experienced this one in a way unlike any previous. I did this year’s as Dad.
My son Austin is joining the RIT student body this fall. He will study civil engineering technology in the College of Applied Science and Technology, and we are both very excited about the opportunities that await him on campus and beyond.
I have always been in love with the annual right of passage that is RIT’s Move-in Day. Each year, University News takes part in the activities by managing a presence at the New Student Orientation Resource Fair. It gives me and the other members of the team a chance to meet incoming students and their proud parents, and it’s always great fun.
Frequently during the event, I hear family members rave about how well the university orchestrates its move-in activities. A lot of effort by a broad range of people on campus goes into making that possible, so the praise never surprises me. But this year, I had a chance to test it out myself.
The day started early—mine with a bowl of cereal but Austin was fueled entirely by adrenaline. He had things packed and waiting by the doorway, so we were off and running.
Arriving on campus, slightly ahead of our assigned 9 a.m. drop-off, we were greeted by student volunteers who cheerfully pointed our way through the process. I left Austin curbside to tend to his possessions while I went in search of parking. Shortly after finding spots available on the north side of campus, I parked the car and joined a group of visitors waiting nearby for transportation back to the dorms. To everyone’s delight, a shuttle bus appeared within minutes.
“I’ve been through this here before,” I heard one mom say. “They’re very organized.” It turned out this was not her first child to attend RIT, and she went on to praise the university on a variety of levels during our short bus ride. It made me smile.
By the time I returned to the residence halls, Austin had relocated most of his things to his new home inside Gibson Hall. We got him settled then made our way to the Resource Fair. Along the way, I introduce Austin to some of my RIT colleagues—folks like Chris Denninger, director of Public Safety, and Dawn Soufleris, director of Student Conduct and Conflict Management Services. I jokingly (okay, half jokingly) warned him not to do anything that requires he get to know either too well. In response, both offered him great advice on how to effectively manage various aspects of his campus experience. In fact, no matter where we went or who we spoke with, the response was warm and welcoming.
We eventually made our way back to the dorm room in time to meet Austin’s roommate, Matt, and his family. We enjoyed getting to know each other, and my gut tells me the boys are well matched.
Finally, we wandered off campus to collect some missing essentials—and a few non-essentials. It was merely mid-afternoon by that point, but the volume of activity and its intensity were catching up with me. You could stick a fork in me—I was done!
But as I reflect on my day, I realize that, yes, it was exhausting, but it was also very fulfilling. I came away with enhanced pride in RIT and renewed admiration for my fellow members of the campus community—each who help put the university in its best possible light. I can’t even imagine how tiring the process could be for incoming families if not for their efforts to keep things so well managed.
So next year, as I return to my post at the New Student Orientation Resource Fair, I’ll be keeping an extra measure of support on reserve for you tired parents who wander through. I’m there for you. I get it now.