At 5 a.m. Joel Soto of Palm Beach, Florida, traveled from Palm Beach International Airport to Chicago O’Hare International Airport. Once there, he got off the plane, grabbed two 50-pound suitcases from the baggage claim and headed to the Uber station. While waiting for his car, he suddenly saw storm clouds.
On his half-hour trip to campus, Soto said the driver could barely see the road because of all the rain. Finally, through the pouring rain, he made it to East Fairchild, his new home for five weeks. After checking in with the community associates, he lugged his bags up two flights of stairs and met his roommate, Jae Won Moon of Seoul, South Korea.
“Moving in was a real uphill battle,” Soto said. “Looking back, I realize it may have been the hardest part of this program.”
Like Soto, cherubs traveled to Northwestern from all over the world.
Hannah Cole of Overland Park, Kansas, took a 45-minute flight to Chicago the Saturday before move-in. Her family spent the night downtown and saw “Six the Musical.” Despite arriving at 10:35 a.m., early for the 11 a.m. check-in, Cole was the fifth student in East Fairchild. She said she felt really nervous.
“I would definitely suggest getting here early so that you can get everything unpacked and meet your instructors before you go out and socialize,” Cole said.
Maggie Pollard of Bowling Green, Kentucky, took a five-hour road trip with her mom. When they arrived, they spent three hours decorating with paintings, flowers, pictures and fairy lights.
“I would say just breathe,” Pollard said. “It’s hard to not make expectations in your mind about what it’s going to be like, but just try and keep an open mind.”
Although Pollard’s mom helped her set up, other cherubs made DIY decorations. Cole and her roommate, Makayla Boxley of Cherry Hill, New Jersey, made a photo collage on their wall. Anna Brodsky of Los Angeles said she remembers feeling unhappy about being put in a single room.
“I thought I would be isolated throughout the program and not have that person to come back to at the end of the day,” Brodsky said. “But honestly, that hasn’t been as much of an issue as I thought it would be, just because our common rooms on the third floor are very social spaces.”
Anna Sophia Lotman of Los Angeles, who arrived at Northwestern with her parents, remembers meeting Emmet Jamieson of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, and Martha Lewand of Scotch Plains, New Jersey, after a trip to the campus store.
“Everyone’s like, hi, hi, hi, and they all shook my hand, and they were all really nice,” Lotman said. “So I was like, okay, whew. It’ll be all right.”