Before moving my oldest child to Ouachita, we thoroughly studied the housing information on the website and analyzed the floor plan, feeling pretty proud of ourselves for our preparedness. While the day did not go entirely as we had envisioned, moving in child #2 at Ouachita went more smoothly as we had learned a few things along the way.
My tips for parents on OBU’s freshman move-in day will hopefully help you avoid our “lessons learned the hard way.”
BEFORE THE BIG DAY
Little things that will save you time:
Decide who will come:
Based on experience, I recommend younger siblings not join parents for freshman move-in day. When we moved in our daughter in 2015, her four younger siblings were eager to see where she would live. Maneuvering within the dorm room proved impossible for four parents, two students and four siblings. As a result, we lost the assistance of my husband, who spent the entire day trying to keep our four youngest busy and out of the room. They were bored and tired hours before departure time.
When we moved in our son in 2018, we told the younger siblings we would take them to visit their brother and attend a Ouachita football game a couple of weeks later. They happily avoided another move-in day spent idly waiting!
Until this decision is made, all move-in steps are literally halted. We parents all stood around while our girls said, “It doesn’t matter to me… .” Because they did not know each other, neither wanted to seem pushy and state her real preference about the beds.
Here are a few set-up suggestions…
ON MOVE-IN DAY
My biggest regret remains taking control in unpacking. As a mom, I wanted each of my students all moved in and set up before I left campus, figuring they could then enjoy orientation week activities without stress. All I managed to do is communicate that I didn’t believe my children capable of deciding things for themselves. With my son, I felt he could care less how things were set up, but my control resulted in him not knowing where to find anything!
What you CAN do:
My husband’s role:
My husband preferred we simply tell him which furniture to move around, what to assemble and which errands to run. My husband helped:
My students couldn’t wait to walk around and meet people. So after they made the initial decisions about furniture placement and assignments, I sent them each out on these errands:
When the clock hits 2:45 p.m., it is time to stop setting up and walk away (even if it’s not finished). My best advice – encourage your student to put their best foot forward at all of the WOW (Welcome to Ouachita’s World) orientation events. WOW is designed to introduce them to their peers, Ouachita traditions and have some fun rather than feeling anxious or homesick.
And before you hop back in the car to drive home, attend the New Beginnings ceremony at 3 p.m. with your new college student. Do not skip it! It’s a highly meaningful send-off time, and it will remind you as parents why you’re entrusting your child to Ouachita Baptist University.
By Martha Schmidt. Martha is from Little Rock, married to Eric and is the mother of five children. She works with the Finance Department at Fellowship Bible Church and is a Ouachita mom to Luke, a current student, and Kinzie, a 2018 graduate.
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