Many call it a bittersweet moment as students head away from home to start their college journey.

It’s both exciting and emotional – and not just for parents.

“Going through the past 18 years, I haven’t been away from [my mom],” said Brooke Ferry, 18 of Cuyahoga Falls.

Ferry, who is entering her freshman year at Kent State University, calls her mom her best friend, so saying goodbye isn’t easy.

“I’ve raised her so it just pulls at my heartstrings,” said Jennifer Lorenz.

Students were welcomed by President Beverly Warren and more than 500 “movers and groovers” who volunteered to help with the moving process Thursday.

On Tuesday, University of Akron President Matthew Wilson welcomed new freshman to campus. More than 3,600 new freshmen have enrolled at UA, an increase of 10 percent.

It’s obvious students were stepping into a new journey, but so were parents as many stated they would becoming “empty nesters” after saying goodbye.