DALLAS TWP. — Seventeen-year-old Savannah Gregoris hugged her bed pillow Thursday as she stood in Misericordia University’s parking lot and watched upperclassmen unload her belongings from her mother’s car and cart them away to her new home — a dorm room in Alumnae Hall.
“I am excited and nervous,” the Berks County resident said. “I am excited to have a new normal.”
Gregoris was not the only one with mixed feelings as nearly 350 freshmen moved onto Misericordia’s campus in Dallas Township.
About 86 freshmen will commute to campus, said Paul Krzywicki, manager of the school’s Office of Public Relations.
“This is the third-largest, first-year class in the university’s history,” Krzywicki said.
Freshman students hail from 13 states, including Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Washington.
Krzywicki said there is a total of 2,725 enrolled students for the fall semester.
To kick off the new academic year, students and families attended the annual Convocation Ceremony at 2 p.m. Thursday at the Wells Fargo Amphitheater on campus.
Alumnus Tariq Adwan, chief scientific officer of Alpha Genomix in Lawrenceville, Georgia, was the keynote speaker.
Move-in day marks a milestone for many young adults who will learn to live independently while starting a new academic journey.
Angelica Ragusa, 19, from Lords Valley, watched with weary eyes as her plastic totes with clothing, bedding, daily necessities and school supplies were swept away to a room in Alumnae Hall.
Ragusa said the hardest part of moving on campus would be “saying goodbye to my family.”
Lydia Wartonick, 17, from Maryland, is also worried about missing her family and cockapoo, Charlie.
McGowan Hall Assistant Resident Adviser Gianna Bach, 19, of Garnet Valley, said advisers are trained to help freshmen deal with homesickness.
“We can draw from our own experiences,” Bach said. “We will tell them that their families will always be there for them and try to get them involved on campus.”
Emily Hammond, 20, of Binghamton, New York, was helping freshmen transport first-year students’ belongings to assigned dorm rooms.
“I remember it was tough (living away from home) for the first few weeks,” Hammond said. “You get used to it.”
Inside Alumnae Hall, 18-year-old Brendan Scarlett, of New Jersey, was busy working with his mom, dad and younger siblings to assemble his half of a dorm room.
Down the hall, Olivia Riscavage, 18, of Meshoppen, was rearranging her dorm furniture will a little help from family.
“It is stressful to get everything in,” Riscavage said. “I have never been away from family before, but I’m excited about dorm life.”
Brian Ellis, Bethlehem Township, moved in daughter Rileigh on Thursday.
“It just really hit me,” Ellis said. “She has never really been away.”
However, Ellis’ 7-year-old son, Lucas, was thinking of something else — moving into his sister’s empty bedroom at home.
“It is way bigger than mine,” Lucas pointed out.