As the car Jason Nichols rode in rolled to a stop in front of North Complex on Friday morning, a pack of volunteers converged on the family car. Unbeknownst to Jason – a hopeful kinesiology major and spring graduate of New Technology High School in Sioux Falls – he was leading the charge for the University of South Dakota’s incoming freshmen class.
The Nichols family were the first to arrive for 2015’s fall move-in day.
“I didn’t even realize we were first, but it was an early start to the day,” Jason said, following his 6 a.m. wakeup. “It’s not like history was made though.”
Once the Nichols’ car shifted into park, the scramble began. Volunteers from Greek life and Cru picked up every packed box and item of importance, moving the items into Jason’s new home on the first floor of Beede Hall.
By 7:19 a.m. the family vehicle was completely unpacked. By 7:21 a.m. the dorm room was filled.
Jason entered a new life adventure without having to lift a finger.
“It’s nice, for a parent, that I didn’t have to carry anything,” Maurice Nichols, Jason’s mother, said. “Makes this day a little bit easier.”
Jason said he was looking to get involved as soon as he stepped onto campus. His interests include intramurals, clubs related to his major and potentially rushing a fraternity.
His girlfriend joined a sorority the week prior. So, before he joined any clubs, he was going to meet up with her first.
The couple was about to tackle USD adventures together, but for Jason, the college journey wouldn’t officially begin until he said goodbye to his mother.
But he waited until the room was ready and the time was right.
“I’ll tell her ‘thank you and love you,’ ” Jason said before rubbing Maurice’s back. “She’s still not that far away.”
(Photo: First-year student Jason Nichols stands with his mother, Marurice Nichols, in his room on the first floor of Beede Hall in North Complex. Nichols was the first student from the Class of 2019 to move into the dorms Friday. Nathan Ellenbecker / The Volante)