LISTEN 00:49
August 28, 2023
Matt Burgos

Amid the rush of residence hall Move-In Day on Sunday, Aug. 20, we asked several first-year students to show a significant item they brought with them to their home away from home, and explain its importance as they start their college adventure. A common answer: The item is a reminder of friends, family, good times, and home.      

Madison Silva shows the front and back of a small wooden sign

“My 4th grade teacher gave me this sign. The zip code of my hometown is on the front. The message on the back is ‘Your heart is never far from home—Mrs. Penney.’ It’s a piece of home.”

Madison Silva, Middleboro, Mass., environmental engineering

Ron shows off a photo of his family

“This is a photo of my sister’s college graduation, with me, my mom, and my sister. My sister went through a lot of work [to graduate] and I’m very proud of her. It was a cool moment. I’m following in her footsteps because I want to get an education as well. The photo is a reminder to work hard.”

Ron Isidor, Whitman, Mass., mechanical, aerospace engineering

Collin Shuff shows his 3-D replica of the moom

A 3d-printed replica of the moon.
“It has a chip inside it and a coil of LED lights programmed to change different colors and light up. I made it in 2020. I like astronomy and had the time to do it. It reminds me of the fun stuff we did at home on the 3-D printer. It’s also a really nice light source.”

Collin Shuff, Branford, Conn., chemistry

Ethan shows a sign that reads: Big Pain with a Big Heart. That's my big brother. Love you forever. Abby

“This is a sign that my sister made with ash and then we laminated it. It has a nice message and reminds me of her whenever I look at it.”

Ethan Rasquinha, Scarborough, Maine, computer science

Nick plays the trumpet

“This is my silver lacquer trumpet I got sophomore year of high school. I’ve been playing trumpet since 5th grade. It’s something that allowed me to be involved in high school and, hopefully, in college too.”

Nick Smith, Attleboro, Mass., computer science and history, member of the WPI Pep Band

Makalay, Lacey, and Melinda show off a stuffed bear, a Lego car, and a softball bat

From left: 

"I made this Lego car with my friend and it will remind me of her. She has the exact same one at Bentley University.” 
Melina Hadad, Sutton, Mass., biomedical engineering

“This is the first stuffed animal I ever got. It reminds me that I’ve survived 18 years, so I can survive another four in a new place.”
Lacey Rosenthal, Suffern, N.Y., environmental engineering

“I’ve been playing softball for 13 years, and I’m playing in college, so I’m real excited for it.”
Makayla Cunningham, Danvers, Mass., biotechnology and biology

Jelaleddin Gylychmuhammedov, shows off the flag of Turkmenistan,

“This is the flag of my country, Turkmenistan. I brought it with me as part of our culture. I keep it near my bed and I look at it sometimes. I’m proud that I’ve come such a long distance.”

Jelaleddin Gylychmuhammedov, Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, robotics engineering

Laura Hiu shows off a NASA coffee cup

NASA mug: “A family member gave this to me for Christmas a few years ago. It’s significant because I’ve always wanted to go into aerospace engineering and work for NASA. This is a visualization of that dream. Having it on my desk is a reminder of what I’m working toward.”

Laura Hiu, Long Island, N.Y. aerospace engineering

Ciera St. Pierre shows her plushie

“My best friend and I have matching plushies. His is in Arizona with him (photo on right). This is now in Worcester with me.”

Ciera St. Pierre, Westbrook, Maine, chemical engineering

Justin Molen shows off a giant framed photo

“This is a photo of my high school gymnasium, which was a gift from one of my coaches. It reminds me of where I came from. It also came from a great person who’s one of my role models.”

Justin Molen, Newark, Del., chemical engineering, member of the basketball team

Ally Wiesendanger shows a jewelry box

“My grandparents gave an engraved jewelry box to each of their grandkids for their 16th birthdays. Girls got necklaces; guys got bracelets. It means a lot to me because my grandma passed away a few years ago. It reminds me of the good times I had with my family.”

Ally Wiesendanger, Glen Mills, Pa., mechanical engineering