Moving In: Colby-Sawyer's Largest Class Ever Comes to Campus
It was hot and hazy moving into Colby-Sawyer College on Sept. 7, but parents and their students hauled belongings into dorm rooms with (mostly) smiles and excitement.
The new class has 382 members from 18 states and five countries; 25 of them are transfer students. The top five intended majors are nursing, business administration, exercise and sports science, child development and psychology, though 67 have not yet chosen an area on which to focus. One student, from Nepal, traveled 7,700 miles to attend classes at Colby-Sawyer; another recently spent several weeks exploring South Africa, and yet another owns a design and printing business.
Vice President for Enrollment Management Greg Matthews reports that 91 percent of the new class is from New England, proving once again Colby-Sawyer's standing as a popular liberal-arts college in the region. Thirty-five percent of the class is from New Hampshire.
One of those New Hampshire students is Evan Lakeman. From New London, he didn't have far to travel to check in as a new student just four miles. He has the advantage of being familiar with Colby-Sawyer because he has a family member who works at the college. Evan will live at home, but he plans to spend most of his time on-campus. Outside the Ware Campus Center on Friday, he was excited to begin his college career and was soon off to help a friend from Vermont move into his residence hall.
Inside Ware, Andrew Gansenberg from Georgetown, Mass. was all checked in and ready to start unpacking. His mother, busy with paperwork and making sure everyone's cell phones were on, paused to say that so far everything to do with Colby-Sawyer has been great.
Andrew has a couple of familiar faces here, a good friend from grammar school, so now we're just trying to get a feel for where things are, Brenda said, before drifting away.
Outside Abbey Hall, Emmanuelle Menos had plenty of help lugging things up to her third-floor room from her parents and brother. Menos comes to Colby-Sawyer from Haiti by way of Manhattan. Her first day as a college student also happened to be her first day at Colby-Sawyer, ever.
This is my first glimpse of the campus, she said. It's nice!
An online search and some advice from high school guidance counselors prompted Menos to apply last fall and begin what she called a pretty quick application process.
Grabbing two gigantic containers of laundry detergent out of the back of a nearly empty SUV, Menos' brother Nicolas commented on the beauty of the Colby-Sawyer campus and the nice weather, then headed up the stairs one more time.
Feels Like Home
Outside Burpee Hall, Marc Gioffre from Connecticut had just met his two roommates and was looking forward to being on his own at college. After three visits and Facebooking with other new students, the campus already felt a lot familiar.
I can't wait, he said. Here I'll finally get to get away and be free from my parents and all that. He smiled as he declared his independence, though. He also declared his academic interest athletic training for sure, all the way.
Leading the way into his tidy triple, Gioffre apologized for the room being messy. Marc's mom, Donna, said the whole experience of sending her first child off to college was so far, so good. The triple was shaping up nicely, she said, and father Jack said it looks like home.
Over in Shepard Hall, Jillian Gurney's half of the room was all set up and ready to go in under an hour. But then, her parents had done this before, calling Jillian the baby of the family.
It's a little strange doing this, but it's okay, the college is close enough to home (in Vermont) that we can meet for lunch, Jillian's mother, Lori, said.
I'm sure next week we'll be really sad, but we'll figure it out, her dad, Douglas, added.
They'll get used to me being gone, Jillian smiled.
The roommate with whom she had chatted online and through Facebook still hadn't arrived, but Jillian wasn't nervous about meeting people since her neighbor also attends the college.
Interested in speech pathology, Jillian thinks she'll start her college career by focusing on early childhood development.
Andrea Celleri, from the Bayside neighborhood in Queens, was getting some help moving into her quad from her sister and parents. Hoping to major in Communication Studies, Celleri was feeling a bit far from home even though she'd been to campus twice before for a weekend stay and a regular tour.
I am really excited for college because my friends left for school earlier and I've heard how much fun they're having, she enthused.
Mark and Sue LeClair borrowed a van to drive Sarah and her belongings from their home in Fairfax, Vt., to her new double in Austin Hall.
She's our first one to go off to college, and so far we're feeling all right. But four o'clock will be rough; they put the farewell right on the schedule! Sue exclaimed.
Couldn't have asked for a better day, Mark conceded, looking around. Sarah found Colby-Sawyer on the internet, he said. She knew what she was looking for and when she came to see the campus that seemed so right online, she fell in love with it in person.
She likes the size, Sue explained. She thought she wanted a huge college somewhere definitely outside Vermont, but it turned out she didn't want big after all. She went to a very small high school. And we love it here, too. This is a great town with a lot of stuff going on.
In one third-floor double, a first-year student tossed piles aside in search of her mattress pad and muttered in dismay.
I don't know where it is, she said, sounding close to panic.
Well, we'll find it, her mother assured her.
But I don't know where it is, the student said again, revealing a vulnerability that likely many others were feeling, but hiding, as they set up their new lives away from home.
From the hallway, a first-year athlete lugged cases of water and Gatorade into his room, nearly squashing his mother into the closet as he entered. The move in was, the student proclaimed, going wonderfully.
It Gets Even Better
Danielle Howard, a junior, sported the official green T-shirt of an orientation leader and offered this advice to new students: Get involved and try to meet lots of people. Clubs are a good way to do that. It's pretty easy to meet people here. Howard herself is on Community Council, is a Student Government Association senator, and has travelled to help out people in New Orleans with the Community Service Club.
Everyone's pretty happy coming through here to check in, Howard said. They're excited and they should be.