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Students learn patience on move-in day

8/16/2013

By DIANE GASPER-O'BRIEN

dobrien@dailynews.net

Move-in day at Fort Hays State University means moving slowly on campus roads.

Students converging on campus Thursday had to exercise the virtue of patience as traffic slowed to a crawl as cars, pickups and SUVs approached the residence halls.

Campus security directed traffic and told anxious parents and students they had 30 minutes to park their car and unload their belongings.

For some, it might have been a bit of a shock, being on campus for the first time, especially if they got caught in the line of vehicles that stretched all the way back to Sheridan Hall.

Others were veterans and knew the drill -- i.e. Paula Mans and her mom, Janet Mans.

"I've been here before," said Janet Mans, who has older children in college.

"I hope it doesn't rain," Jody Leis said as she peered up at the overcast sky.

Leis' daughter, Mallory Leis, is from Garden Plain and is going to be Paula Mans' roommate at FHSU.

No worries, the sun eventually came out.

And the microwaves and coffee makers, TVs and computers, refrigerators and gaming systems, mirrors and carpets, along with all the other necessities of a college dorm room, were safe.

Melissa Allen, an FHSU admissions counselor, stood under a tent on the corner of the Agnew and Heather hall complex, handing out Tiger car tags and ready to help anyone with questions.

"Don't think it's going to rain," she said as she glanced up at the sky.

Inside McMindes Hall, Megan Westfall from Kiowa, Colo., had several family members helping her set up her room on the fifth floor.

Westfall got to know a lot about FHSU, and chose to attend college there, because she has relatives living in Hays.

Her aunt, Brenda Hoopingarner, is the chairwoman of the allied health department.

Ditto for Amber Wellbrock from Wylie, Texas, who has several first cousins and both sets of grandparents living in Ellis County.

Amber's parents, Glenn and Darcy (Waldschmidt) Wellbrock, grew up in Victoria and Hays, respectively, but after college moved to Texas, where they raised their three children.

Oldest son Dave stayed closer to home to attend college in Texas, but middle daughter Amber liked the idea of being near other relatives.

Amber has frequented Hays throughout the years, and with some prodding from cousins and grandparents, she checked out FHSU as a possibility of college choices.

"I visited (FHSU), and I just loved it," Amber said.

On Thursday, Amber was looking forward to meeting her new roommate, who is from Topeka.

"She's excited," said Amber's mom, who was a little more reserved about the whole idea of sending her oldest daughter nine hours away. "But it'll be great with our parents here close and all those cousins."

Four girls from Hays also will be close to home but will get to experience the full flavor of college living as well.

Megan Bird, Courtney Kaba, Sydney Niernberger and Molly Willhoft, all 2013 graduates of Hays High School, were busy moving into their suite in Heather Hall.

Heather, the newest residence hall on campus completed earlier this month, features four individual bedrooms for students, with two bathrooms, a living room and a kitchenette.

"We applied the first day you could," Niernberger said of the rush for the apartment-style halls.

"Then we just had to cross our fingers and wait and hope," said her mom, Stephanie Niernberger.

The foursome learned July 3 they would be roommates and began making plans for their suite.

"I'm excited," Niernberger said as she unpacked her belongings in her bedroom. "I loved high school, but I am really looking forward to college, too."