Parents Weekend


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.

There's no shame in not wanting to disappoint your parents admitted no teenager ever.

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.

The twelfth man actually does make a difference.

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?

14 thoughts on “Parents Weekend

  1. I never had a parents’ weekend at university, but I can definitely identify with the insane paranoia that goes with having something hidden directly in front of someone.
    I once hid condoms in the bookshelf wedged in the middle of the thickest book I had at the time, Great Expectations.
    Every time my mother would drop by, I was convinced she’d run straight away to the bookshelf to brush up on her Dickens.

    • Well then hopefully you missed out on the student loans too! I had a full ride scholarship but still took out loans to pay for housing and utilities. I could have done things cheaper and saved some debt, but I wouldn’t trade any single part of my college experience for that!

  2. I enjoy reading about your college life past… helps that it is well written. It always makes me think about the stuff I remember from college. My parents never came for parents’ weekend and I remember being really hurt by that my freshman year. My friend and I made shirts that said “You can’t live your dreams through me.” Which makes no sense what-so-ever now, but I was still a kid trying to figure out how to be an adult, with parents that wanted me to remain a child.

    • Thanks so much for the compliment! I tried writing some of this college stuff when I was still in college and it just didn’t come out that great. I didn’t have the maturity to look back on my mistakes and own them for all of their silliness.

      College is such a unique part of growing up. It’s a weird balance between being independent and still having your parents as a safety net. It was hard to appreciate at the time, but every time I pay bills at the end of the month I really miss it!!

      • No kidding… I feel like the worst part is looking at kids now and thinking YOU DON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT YOU HAVE! Kids that hate being children, trust me you will hate bills sooo much more.

        Did you use your fake id often? I didn’t have one, but that’s because I could get free drinks on campus. Much more fun than a bar. Drinking legally is much less fun than drinking illegally. When I go out and I don’t get carded, I pretend like I am underage (in my head) and that I have been served under the table if you will.

  3. I lived at home during college too, so every weekend was parents weekend. : ) (That’s okay, though. We’re close… even though I did start getting anxious to move out during senior year. There’s definitely a transition when I decided that I love them and all, but I was ready to be an adult on my own.)

  4. I don’t remember there begin parents night when I was in college. My parents just dropped in at times I was more or less expecting and I was too dull to have anything to hide other than that I was happy and not self-conscious.

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