College move-in day
Hendrik Sybrandy

It's a big stage in many teenagers' lives: that moment when they leave home and move in to college for the very first time.

"Yeah, I'm super excited. I’m from Milwaukee, Wisconsin so this is something super new and super fun for me."

"Moving away from home, getting the experience of living by yourself, meeting new people, all that stuff."

Here at the University of Colorado Boulder, thousands of students, accompanied by their parents, received one hour appointments recently to move all of their stuff into this residence hall.

"I think move-in day is always an emotional day."

This one, a school spokesperson said, came with an added burst of energy…

"For students who spent a lot of their school year remotely last year there’s extra excitement there."

Online learning was often the default option in education when the pandemic was raging. In-person classes will be the norm here and on many other campuses this fall.

"I didn't ever go back to high school after my junior year and so I think I'll be okay."

"She's a visual learner and I think it helps her to have interpersonal reaction with her classmates. She learns better. She struggled with online classes to be honest with you."

"One thing is certainly different on this move-in day: students are armed not only with their possessions, they also have immunity against the virus."

A year ago, negative COVID-19 test results were required of all students. Vaccines were still on the horizon. Now, more than 700 universities across the country have made them an enrollment requirement. CU Boulder is also mandating masks in all public indoor spaces, just to be safe. 

"As we start the semester, as we get a huge influx of people to campus, it's an additional precaution to help prevent the Delta variant that we’re seeing a surge of in the community."

While some say a virus outbreak or new measures to prevent one are always possible, they think this school year can only be an improvement over the last.

"It was a tough year for the students and I'm concerned how that will go for them and counting on the administration to do a good job."

"I'm not worried about health and safety, I'm worried about annoyance and overreaction more than anything. But if it makes a lot of people feel better to have kids wear masks in the classes, then so be it and hope it doesn't last very long."

"Everybody on campus should be vaccinated so I'm feeling pretty safe."

The biggest challenge now is squeezing these belongings into one dorm room. Not something some past move-in veterans needed to worry about.

"I had two small bags and she's got two carts."

This is the way institutions of higher learning largely operated pre-pandemic. Students venturing out on their own, that hasn't changed.

"I think he just wants us out, to get going."

"It's his next chapter in life, so it’s awesome, it's going to be great."


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