It was 2 a.m. when Veronica Grycan, an incoming first-year student at Johns Hopkins University, finally finished packing. Before Thursday, she had not packed a bag.
Her family managed to fit the luggage into one car, which put Grycan ahead of her older sister, who had needed two. Once packed, Grycan disappeared into the back seat, surrounded by her copious belongings.
She was nervous, and she was moving to a city she had never been to before.
Grycan was part of today's earliest batch of new Blue Jays to land on JHU's Homewood campus. After she arrived at the Freshman Quad, a blue-clad first-year mentor—an upperclass student who guides newcomers through orientation—escorted Grycan from the car to her residence hall, AMR II, for check-in, keys, and welcome gifts. The rest of the mentors cheered for the newcomers as they left their parents behind.
Meanwhile, Grycan's mom and dad pulled through the drop-off line. Soon, move-in volunteers and professional movers swarmed the car to help label, unpack, and deliver Grycan's belongings to her new room.
After receiving a Hopkins water bottle, emergency flashlight, and other move-in must-haves, Grycan met her resident assistant, Ryan Carroll.
"There are all types of things that we are asked to prepare so everyone can feel good, and so the community looks really nice and welcoming," he said.
He tasked Grycan with filling out a room condition report and an introductory survey, and asked her to attend a mandatory hall meeting later tonight.
Grycan is one of 1,316 new undergraduate students to join the Hopkins Homewood community this fall. With students representing 33 countries and 44 states, move-in day aims to relieve students of added stress through organization, friendly faces, and plenty of water to combat the heat.
"The students don't have to worry as much about where their things are going," said Diamond Hall, residence life graduate assistant and May 2016 graduate of Johns Hopkins. "They have someone to guide them there, bring them to their room, and someone else takes care of the all the rest."
Some new students lined up to chat with President Ronald J. Daniels, who made his rounds through the Freshman Quad. He welcomed parents who were sitting in cars, waiting to have their child's luggage unloaded.
Grycan arrived to her room, where her parents and belongings were waiting. She met her new roommate, who she said is already great.
"I didn't really care that much to find the perfect roommate," Grycan said. "I think you are put with whoever you're put with and you make the best of it."
With all of the help from resident assistants, first-year mentors, and move-in volunteers, Grycan only need worry about starting class on Sept. 1 and choosing her intended major—she said she chose Hopkins in part because she knows she wants to pursue a career in a medical field.
But for now, she and her parents will decorate and unpack before they head back home.
"We will get kicked out whenever she wants to," Grycan's mom said. "Or, she'll get one last decent dinner out of us before we leave."