Let’s face it, moving is difficult on many levels—physically, mentally and emotionally. It’s especially hard for the one who is moving away from everything they know and for those they leave behind. That’s why you and your Hoo (whether a rising first year, a transfer student or a returning student who chose to study from home during the past year) need these tips, culled from a variety of sources and compiled to help.
You may also want to take advantage of targeted prayer for you and your Hoo’s Move-In experience. Just sign up here and a seasoned MomHoo’ will be praying specifically for your sons or daughters on their particular Move-In Day.
And if you are not already a part of this amazing group of Moms, please consider registering with us! MomsHooPray can be a lifeline, a prayer safety net, a practical source of information and a support group.
Now grab a cup of coffee and dive into the shared wisdom below!
2021 MomsHooPray Move-In Tips
First, read 4 wise tips written by Susan Alexander Yates and featured on the front page of the Theological Horizons newsletter. Page 2 continues with sage advice for incoming first-years/freshman from former students. (applicable to any college student)
Moms of faith need the camaraderie and perspective of other moms of faith to encourage and pray for each other and their college students. If you have a HOO or two, consider registering your interest to be a part of NoVA MomsHoo’, and/or Zoom MomsHooPray. Schedules/locations for each group can be found by clicking their aforementioned names.
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Best short-term advice to parents:
Students first few months: Encourage your son or daughter to seek healthy relationships. Statistics show that the first days of college life are crucial. So take a look at some of the Christian campus fellowships events you can find online (some of UVA’s are listed below.) Ask your son or daughter to visit two at least twice and then join one—within the first two months. The same thing applies to church. This should be a clear expectation, similar to going to class. You are likely financing some of their costs and it’s your privilege to make this a condition. (edited excerpt from aforementioned Theological Horizons Newsletter)
Parents first few hours after Move-In: Your student will be surrounded by distraction those first days and weeks. You might need some distraction yourself! I strongly encourage you to plan an evening out with good friends or family on the night of Move-In Day, (and beyond!) Even though you may be very tired, it will help to have others who have been through the send-off of their own kids and understand their role in cheering you up! We were sad on the drive back home, and almost canceled our tickets to an evening concert, but ended up having friends join us there. It was just the distraction we needed to get over the hump—of the lump in the throat. God is good. He has you and your HOO/student in the palm of His hand.—Kathy B.
Prepare a Red Folder and update it yearly. See blogpost.—Ann S.
Schedule an appointment with a counselor before they head off to college or on their first break home. See blogpost.—Ann S
Best short-term advice to students:
Your first 2 Weeks: Go to all of the ministry parties/events the first two weekends ’cause you will meet lots of friends there.—Elizabeth W. (see below)
Move-In Weekend (and Beyond) Activities in alphabetical order:
Chi Alpha sponsors Something In a Mug Party – one of the BIGGEST move-in parties on Grounds! Saturday, August 20, 2021, 10 pm, 2000 Stadium Road. First years, meet at O’Hill at 9:45 pm to walk over. First Friday – Help us kick off the semester with a night of fun, food, and friends. Friday, August 27, 2021–time TBA. Monday Night Live – August 30, 2021, 8 pm in Old Cabell Hall.
InterVarsity: Click HERE for our schedule for Welcome Week! A few locations may change, but students can follow our instagram to stay updated and learn more. https://www.instagram.com/intervarsity_uva/ Students can fill out the form below if they want to learn more or get involved in a small group: https://linktr.ee/ivatuva Large Groups will be Wednesdays at 8pm (our first one will be Aug 25 at 6pm in Newcomb’s South Meeting Room) We have small groups for every class year- students can fill out the form above or email firstname.lastname@example.org to join one!
RUF: Welcome Picnic and Garden Party in Garden #1, Monday Aug 23, 2021, from 6 -7:30 pm RUF Large Group, Tuesday Aug 24, 2021 @ 8pm at Newcomb Theater RUF Women’s Hike of Humpback Rock, Saturday, Aug. 28, 2021 (meeting time/location for pickup/rides TBD)
The Stud (Center for Christian Study) is hosting two Move-In Day Lunches to welcome new students and their families to UVA. Meet the ministers from the fellowship groups on grounds, upperclassmen in the Christian community, and the ministry staff at the Study Center. Wednesday, Aug. 18 and Thursday, Aug. 19 from 12:00 – 2:00 p.m. Can’t make lunch? Drop by for a glass of lemonade and a quick tour during our Open House hours from 2:30-4:30 p.m. The Study Center will also welcome Second Year Students, who did not receive a proper welcome last year, at their own welcome lunch—the “You Look Different in Person” Lunch—on August 25 from 12:00 – 1:30 pm. Come meet ministry staff and fellow students in person!
Theological Horizons: NEW STUDENT WELCOME ZOOM! | Tuesday Aug 10th, 7-8pm. Find out from staff and students how we are creating a unique and vibrant community at the intersection of faith, thought and life. ICED LATTES ON THE LAWN | Move In Day afternoon, time TBD. Drop by and enjoy an iced latte/iced tea and treats — and take a peek inside LaNija’s Lawn Room. Sign up/ask questions by emailing email@example.com WAHOO WELCOME LUNCH | Friday, Aug 27, 12-2 pm It’s pure chill, so drop by anytime. Meet new friends and learn about weekly Friday Vintage Lunches. At Common Grounds, 400 Rugby Road, by the Beta Bridge UVA Bus stop.
Continued Advice to any new college student from other students:
Studying is a real thing; do it frequently and learn what works best for you. I spent the majority of my first semester just figuring out how to do it b/c I didn’t have to in high school. GO TO CLASS. Lecture notes online are not the same. Pay attention to professors when selecting classes – a good professor can be the difference between an A and a C. No one knows what their major is so don’t worry. If they claim to, they’re probably going to change it anyway.—Jeremy J.
Try to choose a roommate through a mutual friend or the facebook group that you’ve spoken with online and gotten to know. Having a great roommate by my side all of first-year helped the transition from high school tremendously.—Julia M.
Generic Move-In (and Beyond) Tips:
Give your apartment-leasing student a few of the rectangular-shaped batteries used in smoke detectors and a decently tall step stool so that they WILL IMMEDIATELY REPLACE any drained batteries rather than just removing them to silence the chirping smoke detectors. Yes, their apartment super might be willing to replace the batteries, but many rushed (and annoyed) students might just yank the batteries out of the noisy smoke detectors and not replace them unless they have a new one handy.
We moms and our college daughters need to add this new app, First 5, onto our smartphones! It’s a new, wonderful way to kick start the first 5 minutes of each day in the Word. It really is so well done. Click HERE to read more and to download.—Kathy B.
Save Money!! Call your auto insurance company. You may be able to list your child as a “casual” driver (if they have no car on campus) which will reduce your rate for the year. Don’t buy textbooks before attending first classes. Find out from the teachers what books you need. String white Christmas lights around the room. It helps in the mornings – if one student has to get up early and the other wants to sleep in.—Laura R.
Order books from used sources and have them shipped free using Amazon PRIME for students which gives your student a free 6-month membership with 2-day free shipping. Any you can’t order elsewhere you can either order (used or new) from the UVA bookstore and have them assembled and waiting for you. You can put money in the bookstore account for your student.—Trudi H.
Laundry tip: Shout Color Catchers: Shout color catcher will save your kids who don’t sort well! This works great and will allow mixed loads. If they have something newish that has not been washed already a few times, they need to put in 2 or 3 of these—otherwise, with older clothes, one color catcher will do fine.—Kathy B.
Apartment move-in tips—Hiring movers isn’t as difficult as it sounds: We moved our daughter’s items into her apt last night. Because we had to move a significant amount of furniture up three flights of stairs, we hired movers. Through MovingHelp/U-haul, one can book two movers for two hours for aprox. $150.00. (Less than two visits to a chiropractor or a trip to an ortho doc!)—Karen D.
Rain boots are a must:). Bring a dolly if you have one to move heavier/multiple items. My daughter was able to coordinate with her roommate so they moved in at different times: thus weren’t on top of each other. Get your student’s ID #. It could come in handy. Dad helped set up a printer in the room so the stress of making sure that worked was removed. Bins & bags are great carriers. (Sadly, don’t expect help carrying things into dorms from students working the Move-In.) My daughter didn’t want Mom’s help getting organized in her room; so I just chilled out front reading a good book (and praying). Take a few photos even if you have to cajole. It helps if you can arrange to run into a friendly dog or two.—Melanie W.
Take your toolset: We took a hammer, screwdrivers and pliers, wd40, etc, and used all of it in adjusting the height of the bed. Also extra extensions cords, power strips. Trash bags. A cooler with some drinks and snacks to sustain us through move-in. Be sure to test the computer/printer set up before you leave. Help is available on move-in day but is more difficult for your student to find after that. — Margaret C.
Make sure to meet the RA and put their cell phone number in your phone. This would have been invaluable in a couple of circumstances. — Charla R.
Send them with a first aid kit — A small lidded box containing Bandaids, antibiotic ointment, ibuprofen, and maybe cough or cold medicine can be so helpful if your first year gets a scrape playing intramurals or catches a cold. A box of Kleenexes is also nice to have.
Don’t expect much communication early on — especially if your first year is a guy. They are so busy the first two weeks, cell phone service is not the best in many of the dorm areas, and they are trying to spread their wings. A very occasional text from you, telling your first year that you are praying and you love him/her is welcome, though, from what my boys have said…. as are care packages, of course. 🙂 — Nancy R.
Bring stuff for power outages and inclement weather — Last year there was at least one day without power for some students. This year I am sending one of the battery-operated lanterns and extra batteries, as well as some of the “hot hands” hand warmers that you can buy at Costco or Sams. Make sure they have a warm blanket also. I think some of the dorms are pretty hot with the heat on but could get cold fast with a power outage. I believe the dorms have backup generators, but it did not work in my son’s dorm last year. In addition, they need an umbrella for long walks to class on rainy days, as well as some kind of boots for snow. I also sent cup-a-soup type soups for a quick warm-up, as well as hot chocolate packets to be kept in the dorm. I know hot tea was a big hit for the ones who had sore throats and I also send some individual packets of lemonade and honey to be heated up in the microwave for a scratchy throat. — Elissa S.
We echo the call for lots of power extension cords, tools, and anything you can do to avoid going into a store. We needed to go to the store to get an extra-long USB cord so that our daughter could stay plugged into her desk while she was in her bunk bed. — Ann A.
Say your “serious” goodbye before arriving — My recommendation is that you have your final words of advice, encouragement, sentiments, cry, etc….before you arrive at your school. There is so much going on during moving day and it’s such an emotional day that it’s easier if you make the final goodbye brief and as light-hearted as you can. (Plus, you are surrounded by other families). The moving part is the easy part. Saying goodbye is the difficult part. Call me and I’ll cry with you! We’re so looking forward to meeting you newcomers! — Judy M.
Make a little “goodie bag” with a cute mug, nuts, tea, Starbucks card, etc … and leave one on your son/daughter’s bed AND do the exact same for their roommate. Even the boys like it and it’s both a nice way to say goodbye to your child and welcome the Roommate 🙂 — Karen D.
“Oldies but Goodies” tips from Hoo Moms:
We loved and used the great tips we received last year. The most helpful ones may have been to stay in Charlottesville the night before, and to make getting to the Christian Study Center lunch a priority. Because we were so early arriving on our move-in day, we had no trouble parking and were unloaded and in the room quickly. We then headed for beautiful Runk dining room near Hereford where our daughter lived and enjoyed breakfast together in her new dining hall. Parents eat free, and apparently, younger brothers do too. The lunch at the Study Center for first years started the weekend off with warmth, welcome, and such positivity.
Stay in hotel night before for very early start next day — If this is within your budget, I highly recommend going a day ahead and spending the night in a local motel, scoping out the location and route to the dorm and getting there before they open the next day. Your Hoo will have to queue up to get their room key. It’s also better traffic-wise and once you have unloaded, you can get extra extension cords etc… well before noon! Then off to the Christian Study Center Move-In Day lunch. — Kathy B.
Start early, set up fans first if in old dorms with no AC, and wear cool clothing — The old dorms have no AC so it is helpful to work early when it is cooler, cool the rooms down asap, but it also helps to dress coolly. There are helpers to help you carry the stuff up the stairs – they are a HUGE help! It really goes quite fast. This also allows you to finish before the warmest part of the day 🙂 Enjoy & welcome! — Bonnie W.
Left from home; arrived early — We left home very early and arrived first thing…glad we did cuz traffic gets heavy. It was great to be unloaded and room set before heading off to study center lunch. Lunchtime there was a GREAT encouragement! It’s awesome to see so many of our kids now serving others there and hearing how it is a place of great encouragement to them throughout the year. — Nancy M.
Don’t forget your pillow — No kidding. That’s the first thing we had to send to our son 😉 — Susan S.
Take a dolley — We recommend a dolley — one that converts from vertical to horizontal (wagon style) is outstanding!! If you live in Burke, you may borrow ours!! — Charla R.
Bring a step ladder/stool — If they are in the old dorms there are high cabinets for storage that we could not reach without a collapsible step ladder so we had to drive to Waynesboro to buy one because there weren’t any left in C’ville! Be sure it collapses so can fit behind the door. We also needed to buy speakers for her laptop and be sure you have the tallest BED RISERS to add storage space under the bed!
GO TO STUDY CENTER lunch — Even if you are only halfway moved in make the Christian Study Center Move-In Day Lunch a PRIORITY. Better to come back to unload further or do further set up than miss it as it provides an essential introduction to you and your HOO to the Christian community. Look to meet Ken Elzinga, a strong Christian and well-loved and respected economics professor as well as many others. The Christian Study Center was where my daughter spent LOTS of time first year and it is such a wonderful resource. I found a space on Rugby Road to park that day but if you can leave the dorms early enough you can walk. If you are running late just have the driver drop everyone else off (invite roommates to come along!) and go find a place to park. It is even worth PAYING to park in the pay lots near the “corner” restaurants (come out of Chancellor street, take a left and then take a left again to see other parking). We still had stuff to do so we set a time later in the day to meet up with our daughter so she could visit with people at the lunch even after it was over. The local stores are PACKED so I ended up driving to Waynesboro to the Walmart to get something we forgot. Remember: lots of power strips as plugs never in right place. — Trudi H.
Know when to leave, after unloading stuff — Before you drive down or in the car ride, I’d ask your student if they want help setting up their bedroom and when you should leave. I’d also ask if they’d like to have lunch with you at the Christian Study Center (go even if they don’t). The Move-In-Day lunch is a great opportunity for them to meet other Christians and Christian leaders. They’ll also want to meet hall mates, etc. I’d depart and let them have dinner with other students.
A former college psychologist told me many students feel burdened that their mom or dad is lost with them leaving home. That can interfere with their launching. He said it is important to project the sense that you will be fine and have things that you are looking forward to. Understandably, we tend to think about our loss, but they are detaching as well – in a much bigger way. They don’t need to feel like they have to come home to take care of us. Consider welcoming your student home, but encouraging them to stay the first three weeks because that is the window when it is easiest to connect with other students.
Many students struggle with separating. If your student does, they are not alone. Adjusting that first semester is hard. But, most are fine within a month or two.
Also, don’t forget a white noise machine and/or earplugs for your student. Dorms can be noisy, particularly banging doors. — MaryAnn L.
AGREE WITH MaryAnn L. about knowing when to leave — as that first night they need to be free to get to know dorm people AND to go to the other welcome fun events planned by various Christian groups (Chi Alpha sponsors Something In a Mug Party and InterVarsity does a “Christmas Party” in late August and something else the nights of move-in—see their websites or ask at Study Center) so we went to luncheon, left her to visit with all the students after the luncheon while I ran to Waynesboro, met up BRIEFLY to give her all the stuff just before dinner and then didn’t see her again until we brought her to church the next morning as we stayed with friends overnight following her Saturday move in. There was a dorm meeting scheduled for 11 am Sunday (hope they don’t do that again!) so took her to early service at Trinity Presbyterian (great church) and then dropped her at the dorm for her meeting and came home.
I want to reiterate the advice about “say goodbyes before you get there”. It was wonderful seeing people pray over their children before leaving, etc and I encourage that — but it can get chaotic on move-in day — soooo say all the wonderful words of wisdom before you get there, have a time of prayer, etc before so you aren’t saving everything for on the spot. — Trudi H.
I completely agree with Trudy. Go to the Study Center lunch — For those who are unfamiliar with “the Stud” as it is fondly called by the UVA students, here is a link to the Center and details about the lunch: http://studycenter.net/moveindaylunch. You don’t have to RSVP for the lunch, but they would appreciate it if you want to make plans ahead to attend. We almost didn’t go when we dropped off our daughter first year because we were hot and tired, but decided last minute it would be the easiest way to get us all fed without waiting in the long lines for lunch places on the Corner (and it was free 🙂 ). We are so glad we did! The staff there is like a second family to the students, providing support and encouragement as they seek to adjust to life at the University.
The lunch is great because it brings most of the Christian community together in one place — leaders from many of the Christian organizations are on hand to meet and greet the students and introduce their ministries, Christian professors attend, and your student will head back to the dorm with a wealth of resources, including a list of Charlottesville churches, Christian organizations, and even some information about the Study Center’s housing option for upper-class students (something your student will be contemplating soon enough).
After lunch, while your teen is attending an introductory meeting with other students upstairs in the library (btw-a great place to study during the year), parents also meet downstairs in the fireplace room to hear about the ministry of the Study Center and the other ministries on Grounds. You will learn a ton about the Christian community at the University and meet lots of fellow parents.
Make this a priority. Your 1st year will see there are hundreds of other Christian students there. They will also see a home away from home. My newly graduated daughter spent so much time there, literally sleeping there during exams. It is incredibly exciting to see all that God is doing at UVA! We are so glad that you and your student will join us all in being a part of that. — Debbie A.