If you are moving to the Triangle over the next few days in mid-August, consider yourself warned: You are entering the area at a time when the college students are first arriving or coming back to Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill as well for fall semester, and the result can be deadly for you if you happen to be located in a residential area that houses graduate and undergraduate students.
At the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, classes begin on Tuesday, Aug. 19. That means all freshman will be arriving Sunday at the latest for the new student convocation, and most likely the bulk of other students will come in this weekend too so that they have time to get settled in their dorms, apartments, condos or wherever they will be hanging. So, if you are anywhere near the campus or even the downtown area, there will be swarms of families unloading items and buying new materials that can and will overwhelm you. Stay on the outskirts of town to avoid this trauma, and you should be OK.
Likewise, N.C. State University expects a bucketful of students to pop up this weekend even though its classes start a day later than UNC’s, on Wednesday, Aug. 20. The problem areas to avoid here beyond the campus, obviously, is most of Hillsborough Street from the Beltline eastward to downtown Raleigh – this is the central hangout for the students with plenty of bars and restaurants, and it will be rocking Saturday night just as much as Franklin Street will be in Chapel Hill.
Duke University is the latecomer in this bunch, not starting its classes until Monday, Aug. 25. However, it will be holding orientation sessions for new undergraduate and graduate students starting Tuesday, Aug. 19, so it is reasonable to expect a fair amount of young adults will be swarming their way to western Durham over the next few days. The east campus of Duke is pretty much a world unto itself off U.S. 15-501, so it should not be a hassle for you, but west campus will provide a considerable though not overwhelming influx of students checking out the sights and sounds on Ninth Street and Main Street.
Other, smaller-though-no-less-important institutes of higher learning across the Triangle such as Peace College will be having their move-in days this weekend or next, so the overall result will be frayed nerves for you if you start to wonder and worry about why there are so much more trucks and overall traffic on what had been relatively manageable streets in the Triangle. Our recommendation is to grin and bear it, or better yet, make plans to drive a few minutes earlier than normal to make your final destination in time. Yes, it is an inconvenience to handle, but remember: These students are adding precious tax dollars by their purchases as well as favorable demographics. What they cost you now in time and aggravation will be paid back easily by their overall benefits to the Triangle.