NORTH ADAMS -- The late comedian George Carlin once observed that most people have a lot of stuff. That in fact, they buy big houses to keep all their stuff. Moving to college, then, is a lot about stuff. Or more specifically, getting your stuff there.
Yes, the freshman college experience is also about a change of scenery, and meeting new friends and experiencing new things.
But most people bring a lot of stuff to college. And they have to get that stuff into their dorm rooms.
On Sunday, freshmen and transfer students moved their belongings into their dormitories at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, and everyone had a different idea of what stuff was important.
For Mike Perry, of Sterling, it was his laptop and his headphones.
"My laptop for doing my work, and my headphones because music is a big part of my life," he said.
For Sierra Maeszaros of Bath, Maine, it was Ramen noodles, the staple of college students across the country.
"Because," her father Nick said wryly, "There probably aren't any available here in North Adams."
Some people, like Perry, had a lot of stuff. Some, like Maeszaros, didn't have a lot of stuff.
It didn't matter. MCLA has about 125 workers helping people move all their stuff in, according to Dianne Manning, director of residential programs and services. There are almost 500 incoming freshmen this year.
"Some people just have too much stuff," said Elizabeth "Lizzy" Iadonisa, one of the freshmen helpers.
"They bring extra furniture," agreed freshman Josh Hunter, of Oneonta, N.Y. "We're like, ‘Why are you bringing an extra chair?' There's one up there. It's a pretty small room."
The heaviest traffic came earlier in the morning, said Hunter. Things slowed down a bit for a while, and then picked up around noon, he said.
At the Towers Dormitories, where Manning was directing traffic, there were about 100 students moving in throughout the day.
Manning was not actually directing traffic as a police officer would. Rather, as cars or trucks pulled up to the Towers, she would direct them where to park so that the small army of volunteers, dressed in their lime-green T-shirts, could help them unload their stuff.
"One of you should stay with the car at all times," she told the driver of a gray van. "We'll help you get unloaded and onto the sidewalk. Once we've unloaded you, we'll take you and your belongings up to your room.
"We have this down pretty smoothly, actually," she said.
"Our goal is to be friendly, to be helpful and make it as easy as possible to move people in," said Lucas McDiarmid, one of the student coordinators of Sunday's effort.
"One of the reasons I came here was because this was such a welcoming place," he said. "MCLA is such a small place that we all interact sooner or later. But I've been involved in this program because I wanted to help pass it along."
McDiarmid said he is always impressed by how much care and interest parents and other family members have when they drop the students off.
"They make sure the kids are settled in, sometimes they take them to lunch and come back. It's pretty nice," he said.
What's the most common question from students and parents as they unload?
" ‘How far is the nearest Walmart?' " Manning said with a laugh.