Parents weekend snuck up on me every single year of college. Luckily, my parents only chose to participate for Freshman and Sophomore year.
Being the decent, moral, religious folks that they were, I had thoroughly expected it to be a distressing weekend in which I tried to hide the byproducts of my debauchery from their judging eyes. I was an adult and I didn’t need anymore of that “I’m so disappointed in you” crap. In the days leading up to that weekend, I knew that I would need to clean up the beer cans, take down the beer pong table, and kick all of the beautiful naked coeds out of my bed. Then I could feel guilt-free when I put on my best know-it-all teenager face seeing as how I wasn’t actually rubbing their noses in my sinful lifestyle, just walking around like the new man that it made me.
Given my well-documented social struggles, there wasn’t a ton of clean up necessary. I hid my fancy bourbon and shot glasses away behind some stuff under my bed. I folded up the barely-used ping pong table. Most importantly, I hid my fake ID, which I never kept in the same place as my real license anyway. Seeing as how they would be in my room and I didn’t want to leave it somewhere obvious like a drawer, I put it in the console of my car underneath a lot of other junk.
My family and I met up with some friends from back home at dinner the first night. Our parents were friends from the swim team that their daughter and I spent so much time with throughout high school. I felt like such a failure that I didn’t have anything to hide from the adults as we discussed our adjustment to college life. Afterwards, my parents turned in early. They wanted to be well rested for the football game the next day.
I picked them up from their hotel the next morning so that they wouldn’t have to pay to park on campus. It saved them a huge nightmare of circling the garages on game day. My dad mentioned that he needed to go to the bathroom, so we stopped at my dorm building and he and I ran up to my room.
At this point, I was sweating a little bit. My mom had no reason to go through the console of my car, and I had my fake hidden in such a way that she would really have to dig to find it. Still, it was stressful to picture her alone in the car with an item that could get me into deep trouble with my parents. Granted, I would have done my best to pretend not to care that I was in trouble with them, but it really would have bothered me.
My dorm was parent-friendly and my dad looked around before settling in at my desk chair. This wasn’t the bathroom. I wondered what he was doing.
“Your mother is under the impression that you have a fake ID.”
My performance must have been convincing enough, “What?!”
“I know. I don’t know where she gets these things.” He studied me. “Give me your wallet. I will just tell her that I looked through it while you were in the bathroom.”
I handed it over, thankful that the ID was in the car next to my mother, who was assuming that my father would find it in my room.
He didn’t find it. The room got more comfortable. He went to the bathroom and we went to the game, which he and I were more or less enjoying.
I knew that I would get under my parents skin if I joined the crowd chant of “Bullshit! Bullshit!” when UCF was hit with a questionable penalty. Naturally, I became one of the loudest voices in the student section. My mother hit me and scowled.
But that was it. It was all that she could do to me. I was a grown-up now. I couldn’t be grounded for using colorful language.
She didn’t want to stay for the second half. She said she had a headache, and I wondered if I had shattered her heart with my profanity.
That was probably one of my dumber thoughts that weekend.
I’m proud to say that the UCF student section is insanely loud. Brighthouse Networks Stadium is not a fun place for the away team. We jump up and down on the metal bleachers, creating a racket that drowns out most communication on the field. We howl during every defensive possession. Fan forums love to boast about this, but I was always skeptical about the true impact of the ruckus until this year.
This season, my girlfriend and her business partner got press passes so that they could shoot pictures of the game. They watched the home games from down on the end zones and she was shocked by how much of the student section’s cacophony polluted the field. It’s no wonder my migraine-prone mother couldn’t handle a full 60 minutes of football.
On a side note, Ben reached out to me a few days prior to parents weekend. He let me know that his folks would be swinging by the dorm. His solution to the fact that they were paying good money for a bed that he wasn’t sleeping in? Well, he just figured he would put some sheets on it and lie, and he asked that I corroborate his story. By now, I realized that the room was way comfier with him not in it, so I was thrilled to play along!
Do you have any awkward stories to tell about your college’s Parents Weekend?