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Courtesy Mehgan Cain
Courtesy Mehgan Cain

Hillsdale College’s Parents’ Weekend is a crucial cel­e­bration of the rela­tionship between a college student and his parents. Entirely devoted to the adults respon­sible for their adult children, the weekend is punc­tuated by the famil­iarity of home that parents provide — without the free laundry. Addi­tionally, it is a way to authen­ti­cally introduce parents to their child’s world, all 400 acres of it.

The wine and cheese mixer is an accurate picture of the place every parent’s son or daughter acci­den­tally referred to as “home,” seem­ingly too early during freshman year. As parents consume warm Kroger Cabernet and cheese as orange as the leaves outside, one thing becomes apparent: the dona­tions from last parents weekend did not go to catering spread. But more than that, mom and dad realize they are being — appro­pri­ately — phased out as their children’s primary care­givers.

Aris­totle once said: “teachers, who educate children, deserve more honor than parents, who merely gave them birth, for the latter pro­vided mere life, while the former ensure a good life.”

Parents’ Weekend proves more than any­thing this sen­timent to be true, pri­marily through parent/teacher con­fer­ences. The subject-ori­ented, blind date between parent and pro­fessor is the perfect no-pressure intro­duction to classroom life for mom and dad. The informal, con­cisely timed 10-minute appointment per­fectly emu­lates a casual, carefree con­ver­sation a parent would organ­i­cally have with their grown son or daughter’s pro­fessor. Punc­tuated by the tapping pencils of pro­fessors rest­lessly willing these not-at-all forced Sat­urday morning inter­ac­tions to fly by, parent-teacher con­fer­ences are the perfect way for the whole family — and faculty — to abolish their peaceful sleep-in day. Often giving birth to a mini-lecture on each professor’s respective field, these miniature meetings allow parents to feel at ease about what they’ve spent the last 18 plus years wor­rying about: the sig­nif­i­cance of Catholic doc­trine in “Dante’s Inferno.” Mom and dad leave these con­fer­ences feeling con­fident that they sent their children to a college with heavier parental involvement than most middle schools, and that their children’s minds are being molded by capable — likely fidgety — hands.

Those behind the design of Parents’ Weekend thought of every­thing., including sparsely posted, and con­fus­ingly timed, book­store hours. Created to ensure at least three fruitless trips to the book­store between Friday and Sunday, the irregular book­store hours are the best way to make sure your mom cannot spend money on the “Hillsdale College Mom” sweat­shirt she so covets. The book­store hours are not the only flawless aspect of this three-day car­nival of quality time; Parents’ Weekend brunch is quin­tes­sential.

Parents’ Weekend brunch in the cafe­teria is as charming as it is rep­re­sen­tative of campus life. From the com­pletely natural con­ver­sa­tions with the junior in your baby bio class whose name you forgot but whose parents you sat next to, to the lunchtime donation plea from Dr. Arnn, this meal will give your parents the real Hillsdale expe­rience. French toast and intricate place set­tings will have your mom cooing how lucky you are to eat like this every day and will have you ner­vously laughing, unsure whether to tell her how much you miss her Ham­burger Helper- inspired cuisine.  Uproarious political talk from a room so like-minded it makes the droids in the Star Wars fran­chise seem idio­syn­cratic, will appease your father as he chuckles and com­ments loudly on how you need to marry the son of the polit­i­cally com­patible stranger he just met. However, the parent’s weekend brunch is not the only food related fes­tivity that makes this weekend as special as it is wholly rep­re­sen­tative of campus life.

After a silent Sat­urday night of the usual in-dorm board games and 10 p.m. bedtime, Parents’ Weekend tra­dition dic­tates a nice Sunday morning post-church brunch some­where in town. The bustling metropolis of Hillsdale, Michigan, offers three diverse and deli­cious options: The Coffee Cup Diner, The Palace Diner, and The Finish Line Diner. These three culinary insti­tu­tions beckon your family, but their limited seating and tripled cus­tomer base will prevent you from eating without an hour to be seated. While you wait to be seated, however, your family can always check out the book­store!

Ulti­mately, Parents’ Weekend is the perfect way to share the won­derful world of Hillsdale with your mom and dad. From the seem­ingly endless schedule of college run events to the even greater abyss of down time during which your parents ask “so, what is there to do around here?” It is truly a cel­e­bration of family, faculty, and an alarming lack of home-cooked food. Most impor­tantly, it reminds us all that parents are tem­porary, but college is forever.