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Posted on Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 3:06 p.m.

University of Michigan's new freshmen move in: 'It's a crazy feeling. This is our new home'

By Kellie Woodhouse

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Anna Boratyn, 18, of Arlington Heights, Ill. unloads her belongings outside the West Quadrangle dormitory on move-in day, August 28. Brianne Bowen |

Katja Molinaro spent Wednesday morning unpacking her room.

She made her loft bed, carefully arranged her pillows and hung a curtain from the loft to create a cubby where her desk sits.

A Dayton, Ohio, native, Molinaro was moving into college for the first time.

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Aaron Calderon, 18, and Jordan Amiae, 18, of Brigton move their futon into the East Quadrangle dormitory on move-in day, August 28.

Brianne Bowen |

"I thought I'd be so much more nervous," the University of Michigan freshman said as she looked around her dorm room in the recently renovated East Quadrangle residence hall. Her roommate's side of the room was still empty and Molinaro was giddy from the excitement of experiencing so many new things at once.

"Getting everything ready and seeing all my dorm stuff —my bedding and my pillows all together— is great. Seeing everyone move in is awesome."

Explained Josh Vertes, a U-M freshman from Cleveland, Ohio, who also moved into East Quad Wednesday. "It's a crazy feeling. This is our new home."

U-M is home to about 10,500 students this year, including the vast majority of the school's roughly 6,000 freshmen. Most students will move in Wednesday through Friday.

Classes begin on Tuesday, Sept. 3, so students will use the rest of this week and the long weekend to get acquainted with campus and Ann Arbor and probably attend their first football game as Wolverines.

"The mood is excitement and confusion and overwhelming," said Amy Turner, a U-M freshman and East Quad resident. "There's a lot of sweat." Turner is one of more than 800 student volunteers who moved into the dorms early so they could help move their peers in. She said housing officials recommended volunteering as a good way to make friends.

As students unpacked their belongings, the fact that they wouldn't be making the return trip home with their parents began to sink in.

"I was kind of nervous realizing I'm on my own, but at the same time it's exciting," said Madeline Dickens, a freshman from Oxford, Mich. "I'm on my own away from my family, but at the same time I am meeting all new people."

Added her roommate, freshman Ella Deaton: "I was nervous driving here and arriving, but once I'm in my room it's good."

Dickens and Deaton met for the first time Wednesday. They're both a part of East Quad's Residential College, with Dickens studying French and Deaton is learning Spanish.

Matt Pauszek, an Indianapolis native and U-M freshman living in East Quad, said he searched for the bathroom on his hall for what felt like a half hour until he finally found it.

"It's a bit hectic," he said of the moving process. Pauszek is already considering how he is going to manage his free time in college. "

You're your own man. You can do whatever you want," he said, explaining the freedom that comes with living at college. "You make your own decisions."

Molinaro is already thinking about paying her hefty out-of-state tuition bill. She said that in addition to being on a campus debate team, she plans to get a part-time job to help pay for college.

"Out-of-state tuition is crazy," she offered. The cost of attendance, which includes supplies and room and board, for an out-of-state freshman at U-M is estimated at $53,490 per year. In-state students living on campus pay about $26,240 for college and related expenses each year.

Dickens, on the other hand, is already gearing up for a workload that will make high school look like a cinch.

"At my school senioritis is a big thing, so the workload kind of slowly decreases near the end of the year," she said. "So I am kind of nervous about the college workload."

But for students moving into East Quad, the refurbished facility serves as a nice distraction. The dorm, which houses 856 students and a 430-seat dining hall, recently underwent a $116 million renovation. The renovation added air-conditioning, overhauled the dining area, upgraded the bathrooms and added and improved several community spaces.

"I lived here my freshman year actually so it's been really fun to come back and have a space that's a lot more functional," said Maddie Higgins, a U-M junior who will work as an RA in East Quad.

Kellie Woodhouse covers higher education for Reach her at or 734-623-4602 and follow her on twitter.


Jaime Magiera

Thu, Aug 29, 2013 : 11:54 a.m.

Invariably, the first thing I notice about the students being back is the careless pollution. Last year it started with a young lady throwing a soda cup into the hedges near the engineering arch, in broad daylight, and saying to her group of friends "You didn't see that". This year it's already begun with a yong man down the street from me throwing a half-drunken can of beer from in front of his house to the lawn of a house across the street. There will invariably be piles of SOLO cups strewn across lawns throughout the city. Some students display an almost intentional desire to be sloppy and disrespectful to the things around them. My tip for incoming students? Please treat Ann Arbor with respect. This is not "Camp U of M". It's a city with thousands of people who live here year-round. It's also part of the greater interconnected environment of the world. The attitude you display in terms of our environment will also affect, and reflect on, other aspects of your life.


Fri, Aug 30, 2013 : 6:03 p.m.

One can be picked up and thrown out with ease, the other costs thousands of dollars to remove.... Surely you can see the difference....

Jaime Magiera

Thu, Aug 29, 2013 : 10:17 p.m.

Surely you can see the difference between pollution (decaying plastics that harm the environment, choke animals, etc) and paint on a wall. One of them accumulates, the other does not. One affects our ability to survive, the other is cosmetic.


Thu, Aug 29, 2013 : 5:37 p.m.

So if they throw a cup that can be picked up on the ground is pollution, sloppy, and disrespectful, but if they actually permanently painted on something causing actual damage, it's artistic expression to you? Your last sentence could certainly apply to your "taggers."


Thu, Aug 29, 2013 : 2:41 a.m.

Welcome freshman! Have fun, be safe and make some amazing memories! You only get to do this once so do it right. Make your parents proud, make Ann Arbor proud and make yourselves proud. You worked hard to get here and you deserve it! Someday this will all be a story that you tell, so make it a good one.


Thu, Aug 29, 2013 : 2:38 a.m.

Who's the dunce in Ann Arbor that decided to wait until August to tear up Packard St during student move in? Every street in town was packed today. It couldn't have been done earlier in the year? And is it really a good idea to shrink Packard down to one lane each way in that stretch? Ugh. Great planning.


Thu, Aug 29, 2013 : 1:54 a.m.

It's like spring might be in a non-college town: renewal and hope and fresh potential for great things arrives in Ann Arbor in the fall.


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 11:49 p.m.

'It's a crazy feeling. This is our new home' A++ A++++


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 9:31 p.m.

The article indicates 6,000 Freshman? That doesn't seem correct.


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 9:07 p.m.

And I almost hit four of them with my car already. Ran out into the middle of Washtenaw without looking. I don't know why I'm surprised... every year.


Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 7:33 p.m.

If it took him 1/2 hr to find the bathroom, wait until he tries to find his classrooms...

Lizzy Alfs

Wed, Aug 28, 2013 : 7:32 p.m.

Advice for new students: Scout out the buildings/classrooms of where your classes will be on your first week. I think I missed a few classes entirely because I just couldn't find them.


Thu, Aug 29, 2013 : 2:36 a.m.

Why would anyone vote this down? First thing I did when I got moved in was scout all my classrooms. This is good advice.


Thu, Aug 29, 2013 : 1:23 a.m.

We didn't have smartphones like they do today.