Five stages of Move-In Day grief process

By Camille Baer, Features editor

You’ve officially made it to college. Congrats! I’m sure it seems weird, and you’re probably thinking about 100 different things right now like, “Who let me come here?” or “How am I being trusted to live on my own?”

We’ve all been there, trust me. This is a really exciting, hectic and stressful time, but with so many things going on it’s hard to unpack your emotions properly. So let’s deal with these tricky emotions, shall we?

Don’t worry — that’s what I’m here for. Your emotional “grieving,” if you will, is an important part of the process of becoming a TRUE college student. (Don’t think too hard about this, just pay attention).

But before we begin, let’s review the five stages of Move-In Day grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.

The whirlwind of emotions the move-in process takes you through will happen all in a matter of a week, sometimes even a few weeks (for those less lucky). Below you’ll find a breakdown of each stage, and the thoughts that might be going through your head during each stage, so just take a deep breath and read on.


Your parents have just gotten in their car and have officially left the building — literally and figuratively. It’s actually happening, and you’re not quite freaking out but you’re certainly in disbelief. Maybe your parents are just playing some sick joke and they’ll be back any minute. Yeah, that’s more likely the case. Either way, who cares? Everything is totally fine because you’ve got Netflix and your weird roommate is somewhere else. Alright.


OK, so it’s been a day so far and you haven’t heard from your parents. How could they not check in on you yet? What’s wrong with them? Obviously, you can’t reach out because then that makes you look weak or like you’re not having fun, which you totally are. Who needs them anyway, why are you so concerned what your parents are doing. They’re old and bother you 99 percent of the time. Just get over it, you’re in college now. YOU. DON’T. NEED. THEM.


Things have been moving slower than anticipated, and this process has started to weigh heavier on you than you thought it would. You’ve taken to a higher power, if you will, for help and guidance during this tricky time. For example, you’ve started saying things like, “Whoever is out there listening, will you please bring my parents back? I have no idea how to do my laundry and I’m out of snacks, so things are pretty bad. If you help me out, I’ll be so much nicer to my roommate and I promise to brush my teeth twice a day.” You’re spiraling.


You’ve hit your darkest hour. Your dirty laundry has started to pile up and your trash bin is overflowing. You are totally, utterly alone. If you died right now, who would know? Who would tell your parents? Certainly not your roommate — who you haven’t seen in over 24 hours and should probably be worried about but are too busy being concerned about the unexplained pain in the left side of your abdomen. Oh god, this is how it ends. You didn’t even make it to your sophomore year of college and you’ll die before stepping foot in The Red Lion. You skipped class and have been in bed since yesterday, yet somehow you’re still exhausted. Still no sign from mom and dad.


You finally Googled how to do your laundry so that was good. You actually met some really cool people on your floor and were up all night talking and joking around with them and playing Fortnite — which is awesome by the way. Oh, and you finally called your parents. It turns out they were totally freaking out as well but just wanted to give you some space, so that was a complete relief. It turns out you just needed a little more time to adjust and accept that you’re going to miss your parents from time to time (considering they pretty much do everything for you). Looks like things are going to be fine. Time to have some fun.

Camille is a junior in Media.

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