A confetti cannon shoots off the roof of Shipstad Hall with a crowd of new students, RAs and the UP President standing below it. Strings of purple and white collect on the ground below as a round of cheers and applause sound through East Quad.
It’s freshman move in day and for some, this is their first time experiencing in-person classes since the start of online-learning in 2020.
“I've been online the past two years,” freshman Julia Witowska said. “I'm a little nervous about balancing the workload, online is really flexible. I've seen all my syllabi [for this year] and they have very strict deadlines, but it's a good change.”
Freshman Han Phan agrees while wondering how her habits with school will change living independently.
“It was hard to have motivation in public school,” Phan said. “I feel like transitioning into living by myself and interacting with people doing the same thing as me will make me more motivated to do school work.”
During the move-in process and orientations, spirits are high as parents and hall staff help first year students move into their dorms.
“The excitement, the atmosphere of ambiguity and change that everyone feels, there's just so much,” senior and Orientation Assistant Drew Jones said. “There's so many emotions in the air that I'm just so excited to experience it all.”
Like Jones, the freshman themselves echo this statement of excitement, looking forward to their first year at UP.
“I’m just excited to be out on my own and doing my own thing,” Freshman Indiana Atwood said. “It’s interesting to start somewhere new, it’s an adventure so that’s exciting to me.”
Freshman Annabelle Blue has been looking forward to this day for a while, citing Weekend on the Bluff back in April as a contributing factor to why she chose UP.
“I just really liked the community and liked how small it was,” Blue said. “It just felt like there was a lot of resources and I also really liked when I came that weekend.”
Also new to campus, UP President Dr. Robert Kelly gave advice for the incoming freshman moving in.
“My advice to first year students is to meet someone new,” Kelly said. “Meet someone new, lean into difference, lean into meeting new people.”
Mehling Resident Assistant McKenzie Clark hopes to use her role to support and uplift her residents.
“I always hope that they have an experience where they feel like they're supported through UP and through my actions and through one another,” Clark said.
Kate Cuadrado is the News and Managing Editor for The Beacon. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Brie Haro contributed to this story. She can be reached at email@example.com.
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