My mom’s trying to set me up with the waitress pouring my dad’s beer while I’m won­dering whether I should admit I lost the social security card she gave me two hours ago.

Every parent’s weekend feels like con­trolled chaos. The Grewcock Student Union becomes an open bar, bringing parents and stu­dents together for a night of friendly con­ver­sation and dev­as­tating match­making. Pro­fessors meet the people who raised their stu­dents and reassure fam­ilies their children will survive the semester.

The semi-annual occasion gives freshmen a chance to show their fam­ilies how much they’ve grown and to shock their parents with har­rowing tales of their first two months in college.

An event awaited with either dread or antic­i­pation, parents’ weekend can be a joyful reunion for some and an uncom­fortable meeting for others. Like Ramen noodles, it doesn’t last long and is sig­nif­i­cantly more attractive to stu­dents strapped for cash. My mother’s mandatory trip to the Jonesville Wal-Mart has always left me won­dering how I lived in such squalor.

Nev­er­theless, it’s an uncom­fortable expe­rience for stu­dents who find their college life doesn’t mesh with the one they left at home. I moved off-campus this year to reside in the West Bank, a house held together by a friendly landlord and my shallow plumbing expe­rience.

My dad is going to come through the bat­tered screen door, see the recy­cling piled up on the back porch and let loose a mournful sigh. George Costanza he is not, but for a weekend he’ll have to wander campus as a sup­porting char­acter in my sleepless journey to grad­u­ation.

This weekend, stu­dents find them­selves putting off midterms to hang out with the sup­portive people who pray their kids pass those tests. It’s not ideal to give up a weekend during the second most hectic time of the semester, but neither is spending a day or two stuck in the library pre­tending one’s family doesn’t exist.

Even spending the weekend with someone else’s family can be a refreshing break from the slog of studying.

Mom will want to clean and demand evi­dence I’m eating enough and getting good grades. Dad might just say “hi” but also ask me if I have a job yet. Sud­denly we must answer for the time, money, and effort everyone has put into this part of our lives.

Having parents come into town may be a dis­traction, but to say it’s a burden is to ignore a couple of the reasons we came to Hillsdale in the first place. Regardless of whether we came to southern rural Michigan to escape our fam­ilies or make them proud, parents’ weekend is a chance to cel­e­brate that.

Some­times that means bidding your folks good­night so you can search a darkened lunch room for the sacred doc­ument with those nine digits that grants you employment and ben­efits. It will be sitting in the cafe­teria office even though they won’t contact you to say they have it.

Mom will read this during parents’ weekend of Fall 2017, and I’ll never be trusted with my social security card again.


Joe Pap­palarado is a senior studying mar­keting.