Big Emotions and New Beginnings: Stories from Move-In Day
Move-in day comes with lots of feelings.
When Nancy Smith first pulled into Babson’s campus, prepared to drop her daughter off to begin her college career, she admits to feeling a bit emotional. “I was teary eyed when I first pulled in,” Smith says.
Now, that tearful moment has passed. As Smith walks on campus toward Park Manor West, the new home of her daughter, Lilianna Palmer ’27, she instead feels excitement. “I am so proud of her,” Smith says. “I know she will be successful here. There is no other place I want her to be.”
Such is the nature of move-in day. From the stress of packing to the nervousness of meeting new people, from the sadness of saying goodbye to family to the hope of new beginnings, it is a busy day full of big emotions.
Here are stories from a day when a new chapter opens, and the possibilities are many.
Raheel Shah ’27 drives onto Babson’s Wellesley campus Thursday morning with his mother, Sonal, and father, Harshin, at the end of their multi-stop journey from Dubai. None have seen the campus in person. All have the same reaction.
“I didn’t know it would be so lush and green,” Shah marvels. “It’s super green. I like that. It’s got that perfect college campus kind of feel.”
The family soaks in Babson’s verdant beauty after a chaotic morning, which involves last-minute packing and prayers asking for the blessing of Shah’s parents and grandparents.
“It’s a lot,” Harshin Shah says, struggling to describe his feelings about the day. “There’s a little bit of nervousness and anxiety, but at the same time, we’re super excited.”
Babson’s leadership in business and entrepreneurship was the main reason Shah decided to attend the College. “It’s also a small college, so that suits my liking,” Shah adds. “I can get close to my peers and engage with professors.”
That might explain his first order of business after registration and setting up his room—getting familiar with Babson’s many student organizations.
Keeping Things Moving
Outside of Park Manor Central, the mission is to keep things moving. Several staff volunteers, along with a small battalion of 19 student volunteers, wait for cars to arrive full of new students, their parents, and their stuff. The volunteers wear “Welcome Crew” T-shirts.
When a space opens in front of the residence hall, Brian Fuss motions to another car waiting down the hill to approach. “My job is traffic flow. I ensure the cars get where they need to” says Fuss, assistant director of LGBTQ and Identity Programs at Babson. “I do a lot of waving of the arms. And, I smile a lot. It’s a job I was born for.”
Also helping to direct cars is Lindsay Devereaux, assistant director of accessibility services at Babson. She enjoys meeting the new students and their families. “I like people. I like helping people,” she says. “This is why I do the job I do.”
When a car arrives, the student volunteers take action, loading up rolling carts and whisking away belongings to the first-year student’s new room. The goal is to unload a car in 15 minutes so that it can drive away, allowing another one to take its place.
During all the bustle and commotion, Michael Tu ’25 serves as an informal DJ. Armed with his phone and a small speaker, he provides an upbeat soundtrack. “I just want to create a fun atmosphere,” Tu says. “This is a pivotal moment for new students. Creating a fun vibe is really important.”
The Move-In Day Veterans
The first rule of move-in day? Hit the gym early.
Christina Chen ’25, who volunteered during last year’s move-in day, explains why. “I always go to the gym in the morning, because I know that the (first-year students) will come later and it’s going to be a lot more crowded,” Chen says.
She is stationed at the Donald W. Reynolds Campus Center’s welcome desk with classmate and fellow volunteer Amaya Ghoshal ’25. Both are helping guide any overwhelmed families or new students as they navigate Babson’s 370-acre campus.
“This year I’ve noticed everything is happening a lot earlier in the day. Last year, there were a lot less people in the morning, but this time I’ve already seen a lot of students,” Chen says, pausing to help direct a family to the mailroom.
“A lot of people are looking for the mailroom this year,” Chen says.
Ghoshal also went to Babson’s fitness center early, but this is her first time volunteering.
“There’s a very exciting energy. You can feel it all over campus,” Ghoshal says. “Move-in day, especially for the first-year students, is really fun. It’s great to see the new faces come in all engaged and happy.”
A Long Day
It might be mid-morning, but Ricku Narwani already has had a long day. She, her husband, and her son took a red-eye flight from Arizona and arrived in Boston about 8 a.m., and they immediately rode to campus.
Now, Narwani rests in a chair outside Park Manor West, three suitcases stacked next to her. She’s not too tired, at least not yet, though she is contemplating tracking down a cup of coffee. She wears a black sweater, a choice of attire that would be questionable in the triple-digit heat of Arizona. Landing in Boston, she actually felt a bit chilly.
With her son, Armaan Narwani ’27, off with her husband, Ajay, to get himself checked in, Narwani is left alone to think about things. As with so many parents on move-in day, she is confronted with a blunt, bittersweet fact. “I am going to leave my son here,” she says. “It is so far away from home.”
She worries a little. She hopes he will make good friends, and she hopes he will acclimate to the New England winters. But, she also is excited for him to be on this beautiful campus, a place that feels right for her business-oriented son.
With her two children now in college, Narwani and her husband are empty nesters. She hopes to visit her children often, or as much as they will let her, but she knows that, after so many years, her life has entered a new chapter. “The focus comes back to you a little bit,” she says. “It’s interesting how life is like that.”
Scenes from the Second Floor
Inside Park Manor West, students, parents, and rolling carts shuffle on and off the elevator. On the second floor, Cooper Chapman ’27 stands in his new room, hanging a Babson banner over his bed.
Chapman is moving into a room with Rowan Mondello ’27, a person with whom he has a history. The two are lacrosse players. Chapman is from Hingham, Massachusetts, and Mondello is from Wakefield, Massachusetts. Three times in a row during high school, their respective lacrosse teams played each other for the state championship. All three times, Chapman’s team lost.
Now, they’ll be playing on the same team at Babson, so that fierce rivalry is a thing of the past. Mostly. “I’m a little salty,” Chapman says.
Next door, Rodnisha Granger ’27 stands putting a pillow in a pillowcase. She’s feeling excited. She’s excited about her room. She’s excited about meeting her roommate and making friends. She’s excited about starting classes, especially Foundations of Management and Entrepreneurship. “That is my No. 1 thing I want to do,” she says. Ultimately, she hopes to start her own business. “I got some ideas,” she says.
From the end of the hall, two resident assistants wait, ready to help if needed. They watch the new students settle in and meet each other. The scene causes the RAs to remember their own first moments in the residence hall, the initial interactions with fellow first-years that led to friendship and the building of community. “It’s the first place you get to meet people,” says RA Rodrigo Cervantes ’25.
RA Divya Anand ’26 recalls how the first-years on her floor started as strangers last year and grew close. If someone needed something—an aspirin, a vacuum, a helping hand—they could turn to each other. “When I was sick, people would bring me food,” Anand says. “We had a floor family environment.”
The Visiting Student
Milo Perozzi rolls two oversized suitcases toward the Reynolds Campus Center, fresh from arriving at Babson’s ride-share drop-off. An exchange student from Japan, Perozzi’s parents said their goodbyes a few nights ago at the airport.
“They were a little worried. They wanted me to stay safe,” Perozzi says. The second-year student, who is attending Waseda University outside of Tokyo, is the first in his family to participate in an international exchange course.
Out of the dozens of exchange programs he could have attended, Perozzi says he chose Babson because of its strong reputation in business and finance, and because the College has more flexibility for visiting students.
“Many schools have restrictions for exchange students so they can’t study what they want to study,” Perozzi says. “Babson doesn’t really have that, so I can take whatever I want.”
But, Perozzi isn’t focused on his courses at the moment. He did some research and found a nearby Target, where he’ll pick up pillows, towels, and more. All the things needed to transform his residence hall room into a home.
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