DECATUR — Images of cluttered halls and possible hysteria was the initial image Addison Frederick thought before she moved in Tuesday.
Instead, the Millikin University freshman from Springfield, Ohio, joined hundreds of others in a seemingly orderly move-in to the university dorms.
Hundreds of the expected 454 members of the incoming freshmen class were flanked by their parents, families and volunteers as they prepared to take the next step in their adult life.
Expectations for the upcoming year were scattered, from making new lifelong friends to just surviving on their own for the first time.
Yassmin Larde, a freshman from Oak Park, was short with her expectations.
“I hope to come out of Millikin with more than what I came with,” she said.
First Week activities began Tuesday and conclude with a formal convocation Monday evening. The activities planned for the week range from summits to prepare students to engage more fully in the college experience and to develop healthy relationships while navigating their academic schedules to the Class of 2017 Day of Action, during which students will go into the community for service.
The numbers are down from the 540 freshman from last year, which itself was above the below-average number of freshman from the previous year. Officials say the number is likely due to the economy and cost of college for families.
A sea of volunteers waited in front of the dorms decked in Millikin blue shirts and Greek letters to help the new students move in and even introduce them to different aspects of the university.
While the volunteers helped with the furniture and boxes, many of the parents had to carry their own sort of baggage.
Laura Kelle of Quincy was among the parents helping their child move into the dorms. While she has had three other children go away to college, she said it remains an exciting yet bittersweet moment.
Her son, Conner, showed little nerves or stress as he prepared to be hours away from home. While he had yet to meet anybody, nor knew anyone at Millikin before Tuesday afternoon, Kelle said he was excited to take the next step in his life.
“I’m ready for this — not sure if my mom is yet though,” he said, with a laugh.