Move in day at King's is fun, frantic and for parents ... 'bittersweet'

It's a busy week at King's University College as a student population of 3,500, more than 700 of them international students, gets ready for the academic year ahead.

There's a unique kind of excitement that comes with the start of a new academic year. 

For university and college students and their parents, those few days in and around Labour Day can be fun, but frantic. 

On Monday, CBC News visited King's University College where OWeek (the "O" is for arrival) was in full swing. 

Students were dressed in school colours, a DJ was set up in the parking lot and students were abuzz about the semester ahead. 

Here's a slice of what was going down Monday in the kickoff to OWeek at King's. 

Brodie Currie was one of 65 Sophs working at King's University College on Monday. Their duties include helping unload cars of arriving students getting them settled in their residence rooms. (Andrew Lupton/CBC)

Hey Dad, they'll unload our car

Monday was move-in day and the residences at King's were busy with parents arriving to drop off their kids. King's has a crew of 65 "Sophs" — that's student helpers — who help unload the arriving minivans and get students settled in their rooms. In some cases, they were pulling boxes out of the trunk before the parents could get out. 

Brodie Currie was leading one group of Sophs. 

"Baisically our job is to make their first year as easy as possible, whether that's moving or making sure they have fun at all of our events," he said. "It's a lot of stuff but with a team of 60 we can get through it quick and make the first-years feel like they're at home." 

Jane Antoniak is the head of communications at King's, she says the work of the Sophs team is part of what she calls the "King's welcome." 

"This is the King's community out in force here today," she said. "These are volunteers and everyone gets full delivery of their stuff up to their residence rooms. It's our favourite day of the year." 

The Fleet family arrived to get daughter Hanah settled in to her residence room at King's College. Parents Jennifer and Randy describe the day as 'bittersweet.' (Andrew Lupton/CBC)

For parents, mixed feelings

Among the first-years getting settled was Hana Fleet. 

"It's exciting," she said. "Everything's got to go in the right place." 

Her parents Jennifer and Randy Fleet drove Hana to the residence from their home near Hamilton. Hana is studying social justice and peace studies and she hopes to become a teacher. 

"It's bittersweet," said Randy. 

"We're excited for her," said Jennifer. "And we're a little bit sad for us. We're excited that she's confident to do what she needs to do, which is out in the big world and learn." 

Clemency Mukanyarway grew up in Malawi and is an international student at King's University College. She's hoping her studies there lead to a career in social work. (Andrew Lupton/CBC)

International students abound at King's

Of a student population that numbers 3,500, about one fifth of King's students are international students. 

Among them is Clemancy Mukanyarway, who grew up in Malawi to parents who left Rwanda before she was born. This is her second year in the King's student refugee program. She's studying to become a social worker. 

"It's really amazing," she said. "There are so many activities to get involved, especially for me: I come from a different continent so it was hard for me to adapt but with the people around me, I feel really welcomed."