Though this was the first time many were settling in to the University of Delaware, it was already starting to feel like home for the first-year students who moved in on Saturday.

“I fell in love with the campus the second I saw it,” said Jessica Rosenthnal, of Long Island. “I knew this is where I’m supposed to be.”

She, and her roommate, Lauren Leader of Pennsylvania, moved in early, so they had already had a couple days to settle in to their new space and environment while other students carried their belongings into South Academy Street Residence Hall.

“It was a really easy transition,” Rosenthnal said.

“At first, it was stressful,” Leader noted. “I haven’t figured out where everything is, but there is a lot of support and it’s been easier than I thought it would be.”

The two aren’t the first of their families to head off to school, and the transition left them mostly excited for the things to come.

“It’s weird to leave. I spent all of my life experiences with them. Now I’m on my own,” Leader said, noting that she gets to bring her stories back to her family. “It’s fun and exciting.”

The roommates were among approximately 4,000 first-year students who joined the ranks of the university this weekend. New students began moving in on Saturday, while returning students living on campus began moving in on Thursday and will continue to funnel in through this weekend.

Noah Brogden, a New Jersey native, and his roommate Frank Rauscher, from Pennsylvania, were both feeling excited as they settled into their dorm. The pair are part of the living learning communities in South Academy – a relatively new dorm for the university, constructed in 2017.

Both are biology majors and will be living among students who are taking similar classes as well as peer mentors, who are upperclassmen in their major. Faculty and staff also assist in creating programming for the students in the communities.

Living in that environment will be beneficial, Brogden said, adding that he appreciates the additional support for his freshman year.

“We’re all going through the same thing. They’re a lifeline, too,” he said.

Looking ahead to their first year at school, the boys agreed they’re excited to make more friends and meet new people.

“It’s different,” Rauscher said. “We’re starting a new chapter in our lives.”

“My mom is trying not to have a breakdown,” Brodgen joked. “I think my sisters will miss me, but they won’t tell me that.”

Down the hall, Gabby Urso, from Connecticut, and Jacqueline Mooney, from New Jersey, were settling into their new shared space.

“Someone recommended I look at the school. I really liked the program,” Urso said, a medical diagnostics major, said. “I always heard good things about the atmosphere and campus.”

Mooney agreed.

“I fell in love with the environment. Everyone was super nice,” she said. “It felt like home when I got here.”

The roommates’ moms were both excited for the new home, too. Cheryl Mooney even has tickets for each of the home Blue Hens games for this season.

“It’s great,” Jamie Urso, Gabby’s mom, added. “She’s ready. We looked at a lot of schools, and she knew this was it. It’s very exciting.”

Meanwhile, for the first time, students were also moving into the University Courtyard Apartments as university-owned, on-campus dorms.

The apartment complex off Delaware Avenue converted to university ownership in July. Its first group of upperclassmen were hauling their belongings into their apartments on Friday.

Lysandra Delgado, a sophomore nursing student, was looking forward to digging in more to her field of study.

She was also looking forward to settling into her apartment, which came with perks like having her own bathroom.

“I’m excited to start the new year,” she said. “I’m ready to be back.”

This year, she learned not to bring more quite as much stuff, she added.

“I’m looking forward to living here,” she said, adding that she was “excited, if anything” that the university had taken over the complex.

Similarly, Bridget Murphy said she was excited to have an apartment.

“I knew all of my older friends lived here before,” she said.

As he unloaded the car to bring things up to his apartment, Jon Davish said that it was nice the Courtyard apartments were closer to campus.

“I’m looking forward to getting back in my own schedule,” he said. “This year, I want to find more time for activities and keep busy.”

University students also moved in to apartments in One Easton, a privately owned complex behind Newark Shopping Center, where UD leased blocks of rooms to make up for the reduction in on-campus beds due to the closure of Christiana Towers.

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