Thursday, August 25, 2016

First Person: Movin' Out

I have a great job.  I produce a little.  I anchor a little.  I report a little.  I love the variety.

But there are times when it doesn't work out so well.  I really love doing the "college freshmen moving into the dorms" story.  But, most of the time, it happens on weekends, when I'm doing inside work.  I watch others do it.  I get frustrated.

Why do I like the story so much?  It's a great study in human nature and behavior and it's fascinating to watch.  The kids try to put up a brave face, but you know many are terrified.  It's the first time being away from home on an extended basis.  In addition to the terror, there is great anticipation.  It's a big step into adulthood, and let's face it.  There is tremendous potential for great fun, and maybe some of it is on the naughty side.

As for the parents, it's relief another one is out on his or her own, but there's worry there as well.  Mom and dad want to encourage the young ones, but you can see the fear on their faces.

Fate smiled on me Monday.  My alma mater, Marywood, shifted its schedule a bit.  Freshman move in day was on a weekday rather than a weekend.  I grabbed photographer Steve and went up to take a look around.

It was was a delight, everything I expected, and more.

As is my habit, I was looking for a story rather than a bunch of facts.  It wasn't hard to find.  I built most of the piece around a father and son.  The son was looking forward to beginning his higher education and being on his own.  Dad had mixed feelings.  While he was thrilled for his son, dad was sorry his youngest was leaving the nest.  Dad told me it wasn't just a son moving out.  It was also his friend.  We all teared up.

There was an additional element.  Upperclassmen were there to help in the move-- spiritually, emotionally, and physically.  I spied this tiny little girl, throwing around crates, boxes, bed frames and mattresses like a Viking.  It gave me another hook.  She weighed all of 95 pounds, and was doing more work than men and women twice her weight.  On top of that, she was a sweet, spunky kid.

I am a very harsh self critic, but I have to admit that the piece came out pretty good.  Thank you, photographer Steve.

I think another reason the "dorm" story fascinates me is I never had that experience.  I actually lived closer to my college than I did to my high school.  It worked out well.  I hooked on at WARM when I was a sophomore, so I learned on the job as well as learning in school.  There were days when I pulled an all nighter at WARM, took a nap, went to school, pulled an afternoon shift on the college radio station, then headed back to WARM to work an evening schedule.  It's an experience I wouldn't trade for anything.

Class of 2020, welcome to college.  Class of 2021, I'll see you next fall.