Welcome Junior Parents!
By HUNTER RICHARDS
It’s Junior Parents Weekend and your family is on its way. It seems so easy during winter break to keep your room clean and hide the fact that you’ve ever drank from your parents, but now they are almost to campus and your room is starting to feel like a crime scene. This is one of those weekends that makes you stronger and can really build character. If your friendships can stand up to moms gossiping about how neither of you are calling home often enough or whether you’ve been going to class, you have a solid foundation.
Get ready to explain why you’re still single. Again.
Your mom doesn’t understand why you haven’t found yourself a nice Jewish boy/good Catholic girl/smart Martian blob/whatever they’ve been hounding you for since birth. It gets a bit harder to explain that you’re just really busy with classes and extracurriculars once they realize that you have not been to a single office hours and there are plenty of decent fish in the sea (aka that kid on your floor who always smiles at you in the dining hall).
Show your parents around.
Your mom follows the Harvard social media more closely than how you’ve helped your roommate stalk that cute guy you have section with. Take some time to actually show her the places she’s heard about. Giving your parents a tour of your house is a great way to reassure them that you’re not living in squalor. Show them the gym that you’ve only swiped into once during finals sophomore year because all the other places to cry were taken. Check out your house library that you didn’t even know existed until your dining hall had an event forcing you to find another place to finish that pset. Walk through your house’s junior common room where you got wasted on wine during a Tuesday night Stein Club because you were losing control. Steer clear of the statue because, even if you haven’t personally crossed that off your bucket list, you know at least 5 people from your freshman entryway made a night out of contributing to the problem.
Clean your room.
It is hard enough to promise your parents that you’ve been busy studying for the MCAT when your floor is literally vibrating from the rager happening downstairs. Don’t add to that by failing to hide all the contraband: condoms, drugs, junk food (your mom still thinks you eat vegetables), alcohol, TV (they can’t know you have any free time or they’ll wonder why you don’t call more often), etc. If you are one of the Harvard students who still does not have a single even though you are a junior (look at you, River Houses), try sprucing the place up a bit so that you’re parents don’t start mentioning that your cousin at [insert home state] University has her own apartment and a dog.
Define the relationship you have with Canvas.
Your parents will probably notice that Canvas hits you up regularly to the point that you are feeling more harassed than your student loan debt collectors are going to in the next few years. There is something about waking up to those “Good morning(:” texts from Canvas reminding you that your lab report is still due this Thursday and that office hours are again canceled.
Prove to your parents you are eating enough.
I’m not saying bring your parents to your dining hall, but walking them through the place and showing them your new main lets your mom know that she can’t be replaced but at least you’re kind of happy. No matter what you look like, your parents are going to swear you’re losing too much weight while pushing more home-cooked food towards you at every opportunity while you’re home. Just because they are the ones visiting you this time doesn’t mean you get a break from them worrying about you being healthy enough.
Keep your parents social, but not too social.
Junior Parents Weekend is a great opportunity for your family to connect with other parents to bond over how they raised their children for 18 years and made all these sacrifices to get their kids into the Ivy League only for them to never call home or write back to the holiday cards. Chances are you already have your parents blocked on Facebook so they never have to see those red solo cups you’ve been ruining the environment (and your liver) with, so this is the first time they are actually seeing what you have been up to in college. It sounds great in theory because planning play dates for your parents also minimizes any time they can criticize you and ensures they have a better time visiting, but it is a fine line between being friendly and gossiping about you. Your mom had no problem telling your aunt when you got your first period even after you begged her to take that secret to the grave, so who knows what she’s willing to divulge to complete strangers who also want to complain about or, worse, share in the accomplishments of their kids.
Obviously Junior Parents Weekend is meant to be a great opportunity to share your college experience with your family, but we would be lying if we said that your parents finding out too much about your college experience isn’t stressful. Take advantage of the chance to show your family around campus and introduce them to your friends because by Monday you’ll be back to sleeping in through your 10 am and not folding your laundry.
Hunter Richards (firstname.lastname@example.org) is looking forward to showing her mom around campus and pretending she loves it here.