First-years express excitement for fall semester after diminished senior spring


Charlie Wolfson

Moving hampers await students outside Lake Hall on Aug. 30.

Annie Probert, news correspondent

Freshman move-in looked different this semester due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but after months of disappointment from cancelled high school events like prom and graduation, first-years who spoke with The News expressed excitement about finally being on campus along with nerves related to their first year of college.

Aimee Matos, a first-year nursing major from the South Shore area of Massachusetts living in Stetson West, said that although her move-in was “stressful,” it was exciting to see and meet fellow-first years with lanyards pushing moving bins around campus. 

“I love walking around campus and seeing new faces, there’s just so many students and there’s always a new face to see,” Matos said. 

Ally Chao, a first-year data science and business administration major from Irvine, California, said that being “pretty much stuck at home for the past half year” made her eager to come to Boston and try something new. Reassured by Northeastern’s frequent COVID-19 updates, she said she wanted to explore campus and meet new people, quintessential experiences of a typical first year at college.

Parker Sutton, a first-year business administration major, flew in alone the day prior to his move into the Westin Copley Place hotel as part of the Boston program. 

“I wanted to come to Boston because the point of the program is to travel,” said Sutton, who is from California. “I just felt that it would be a waste of my year to stay home and wanted to come to Boston and try to meet new people.”

Northeastern freshmen moved into their residence halls this year from Aug. 29 to Sept. 7, and each student was assigned a day and one-hour time slot for move-in. The Westin Copley Place hotel, where Boston students are residing, and International Village were among the first to welcome freshmen.

After receiving their new Husky Cards and getting a COVID-19 test at Cabot Testing Center, first-years were able to move into their residence halls.

No one was permitted to help students move into their dorms, denying many parents the rite of passage of making their child’s first dorm bed, an aspect of the freshmen move-in process that parent Gary Buchalter described as “disappointing, but totally understandable.”

Buchalter’s son Logan is a first-year mechanical engineering major from New Jersey who moved into East Village on Sept. 3. His father said the move in process for his son was extremely smooth, with a quick testing time. 

“We pulled up to the unloading location at East Village and opened the back of our SUV. By the time I looked back to see if the moving company needed any help, the entire car was unloaded, in less than two minutes,” Buchalter said. 

Buchalter later FaceTimed his son and received a virtual tour of his first dorm room, he added.

Chao moved in by herself on Aug. 30. After dropping her bags off at East Village, she went to Cabot Testing Center and said the testing process was surprisingly easy.

“Everything can be put into Google Maps which is really great for me, so the Cabot Center was easy to find,” she said. “Getting my test took 10 minutes, which was mostly waiting in line since it was pretty crowded.”

After getting her test, Chao returned to East Village to find her moving hamper delivered to the wrong room, a situation she said was probably caused by a communication error but was quickly resolved. Despite the fact that she had to undertake her first move-in alone, Chao said the process was “self-explanatory” thanks to Northeastern’s detailed move-in guide. 

Laura Pomilia, a first-year international affairs and political science major, drove 16 hours from Chicago to move into the Midtown Hotel on Sept. 5. While her roommate’s COVID-19 testing process took 10 minutes and was only 15 minutes prior, Pomilia said she had to wait almost 40 minutes in line for her test. However, she described the testing process as “seamless,” saying she appreciated the steady pace at which the testing proctor guided her and two other first-years in administering their own tests. 

Matos said she chose to come to campus because her online learning experience during her last semester of high school made her feel less productive.

“I’m someone that learns better when I’m with other people in a classroom,” she said. “I decided that living on campus and learning through the hybrid model would be much better for me as a student.”

Freshmen this year face a unique challenge in making friends due to the university’s social distancing regulations. Eleven freshmen living at the Westin Copley Place hotel were dismissed Sept. 4 after staff caught them violating social distancing guidelines.

“There’s a lot of restrictions because of the pandemic so I don’t go out that much, just to grab food,” Chao said. “I’ve tended to stay holed up in my room, which is a bit difficult, but I’ve been connecting with people mostly through GroupMes.”

Pomilia said she struggled deciding whether to come to Boston or do remote learning at home for a month, yet she decided she was too curious about the life of an on-campus freshman. 

“Every single time I thought I made a decision I would go back on it the next day,” she said. “My thought process was that I might as well try it out and know what campus life is like instead of sitting home and always wondering what I missed.”