By Joseph Garcia —

By 9 a.m. cars had already started to steadily flow into residential parking lots as the new freshmen class moved into their dorms. Unlike the soggy move-in last year, Aug. 15 was looking to be nothing but clear skies and lots of heat.

All over campus the sound of large mail carts rolling over asphalt and sidewalk bumps seemed to never end.

Services Vice President and Unitas Hall Residential Advisor Lydia Burns said that although the morning was seemingly pretty slow, more than 200 students were about to flood in.

The University of Louisville was ready to meet its new arrivals.

Volunteers and RAs were stationed at every part of the move-in process. From directing and unloading cars as efficiently as possible to check-in tables inside, the community was here to help.

Across campus at Louisville Hall, the U of L Cheer team had come out to greet incoming freshmen and assist them.

I overheard many parents talking about how grateful and thankful they were for for the extra hands and how smooth the process was.

Amidst the orderly chaos, I got moments to talk to students and parents who were waiting at check-in. They all shared common feelings of anxiety and excitement.

One student, an incoming Biology major, told me how this was her first time being away from home for an extended period of time. It’s scary she confessed.

“It’s excitement, nervousness, tears—all in ten minutes!” one grandmother joked with me. She came with her granddaughter’s family from Chicago.

You could see it in the faces of parents who snapped pictures of everything. One family got a picture of their student pulling their snacks out of the van, and another family got one of their freshman in front of the “Welcome home!” banner. It was bittersweet for everyone.

This was the last time they would be able to see their child for a long while. The first time their child would be on their own.

All of the help, smiles and the answers eased parent’s worries leaving cheerful faces everywhere despite the emotions and heat.

Welcome home Class of 2023. This is only the beginning of the next chapter.

Photo by Joseph Garcia // The Louisville Cardinal