SAN ANTONIO -

The University of Incarnate Word welcomed 500 incoming freshman students and their parents to its dorms on Thursday.

Students will soon be hauling textbooks and laptops across campus, but on Thursday, it was all pillows, new bed sheets and hampers full of clothes.

Emilee Wills, a new student who drove 15 hours with her family from Mesa, Ariz., said her to-do list outweighed her overall nerves about starting college.

"It's exciting, but stressful. So much to do, and I have way too much stuff," said Wills, as she unpacked her parent's car.

Wills' mother said she's still nervous to say goodbye.

"She's my baby, so leaving her here, and us going home. But we're excited for her."

An endless line of cars stretched around UIW's Colbert Hall, with an assembly line of moms, dads, and even a few siblings.

UIW provided several volunteers for move-in day, but Diane Sanchez, the director of Resident Life, said they're ready to support the class of 950 students long after their parents leave.

"We have an array of programs and events ready for them, so that we can get them geared ready for college," said Sanchez.

The day wasn't all heavy lifting, however. New roommates met each other for the first time.

Mikaela Flores and Lucy Butler are roommates and said they are excited to live together in their new space.

Flores, from Lockhart, said of her new space, "It's kind of small, but I guess, it is what you make it."

When asked about what she's most excited about starting college, Butler laughed and said, "Freedom. No rules. Well, a little bit of rules."

A happy day for new students beginning a new chapter in their lives, but a sad day for some parents.

One mother said, "I want to cry every time I think of it, even though I'll be close, it's still sad."

Flores' father said, "It's exciting and sad at the same time. But we're excited for our daughter, and we're happy to be here. It's a great school."

UIW reports most of their incoming freshman are from the San Antonio area, but many are from different parts of Texas, and a handful are from out of state.

UIW classes start on Aug. 19.