The corner of Hitt and Rollins streets looked like a cross between a garage sale and a weightlifting competition on Wednesday morning as MU residence halls opened their doors to students. Nervous parents stood guard over bags and boxes as students and volunteers lugged baggage to their new homes.
Cindy Konczak and Sheree Connor watched over a sizable mound of their sons’ belongings at the entrance of Wolpers Hall. High school friends from St. Louis, Nick Konczak, 18, and Brennan Connor, 18, will room together during their freshman year.
“I can’t explain the excitement,” Nick Konczak said. “I couldn’t sit still the whole way over here.”
Cindy Konczak couldn’t sit still, either.
“We have to leave him with enough food until tomorrow because they are not feeding them in the dining halls today,” she said.
“And they don’t even have cars,” Sheree Connor added, concerned.
Anxious parents and frenzied students are nothing new to the MU campus. But the Virginia Avenue residence halls are. There, Doug Pennington of Overland Park, Kan., diligently unburdened his car of his daughter’s belongings. With a tired sigh, he stuffed a toy monkey into a shower caddy and reminisced about his college days.
“We didn’t have dorms where I went to school.We had to live in apartments, but dorms are real nice. I miss that life,” Pennington said as his daughter, Brittany Boone, 19, returned to the curb with a grievance.
“They told me that we would have a double-room suite with a bathroom, and I walk in there and there are two girls in the one bathroom that we all have to share,” said Boone, an MU junior and psychology major. “I didn’t even get to ask their names.”
Frankie Minor, director of Residential Life at MU, said he has seen his share of first-day fiascoes.
“We start preparing for this day in October,” Minor said. “We’ve been working all summer, and now we’re just implementing the plans.”
He admits that some things don’t always succumb to careful planning. Minor said there have been occasional mix-ups in the database that pair roommates of the opposite sex.
“But they alert us to the problem very quickly,” he said. “Or their parents do.”
In front of Gillett Hall, Su Ghosh of St. Louis twirled around looking for her husband and daughter. Shoan Ghosh, 18, a pre-med Honors College freshman, rounded the corner to her heap on the curb and picked up another box.
“I have to go unpack this so I can see what I forgot and send my parents to get it,” Shoan Ghosh said.
Her motherlooked on as the reality of Shoan’s independence sunk in.
“I feel like I’ve accomplished something great,” she said of her daughter’s academic achievements. “But she’s a different person now. I hope I gave her the right values.”
Separation anxiety seemed the default reaction to the stresses of the day. Travis Morgan, 18, is the first to leave the nest of father Terry Morgan of Ballwin. Terry Morgan and younger son Trevor, 15, rested in front of Wolpers after yet another trip upstairs.
“I’m nervous, apprehensive and excited,” Terry Morgan said.
“I’m relieved,” Trevor interjected. “Just tickled pink.”