I love you — but I love you more from 200 miles away. Family Weekend brings with it a mix of emotions for students and families alike. Although it’s filled with happiness and excitement, an enormous amount of stress tags along.
As a freshman in college, these past two months have brought the most freedom I’ve ever experienced. And I’ve loved every second of it. It’s amazing not being told where to be and when, not reporting who I’m with or when I get there. However, I do miss my family. But is Family Weekend really the best way to go about fixing that?
One weekend where a bulk of students’ parents come to visit. All in one single weekend. And of course, all have the same plan. Target and Walmart are both overflowing with eager students who now have their parents to pay for their boxes of Cup Noodles and Easy Mac. Every restaurant has an hour-long wait. The typically relatively empty bookstore is jam-packed with families buying Binghamton University merchandise.
All the crowds and chaos make this reunion more stressful than it has to be. Not to mention the fact that it’s in the middle of midterm testing madness, which adds on additional torture.
My typical weekend plan is eat, sleep, repeat. Instead, over Family Weekend I awoke at the horrifyingly early hour of 9 a.m., which quite frankly should just be illegal on a Saturday. This was followed by bickering about where to eat and when to go, as well as stressing about parking spots and directions. Oh, right, and a bit of the usual stress about what courses I’m taking and if I’m on track. And of course, my favorite question: What is it exactly I’m planning to do when I graduate?
When it comes down to it, what really is the purpose of Family Weekend? I don’t believe the intention is to give every student a heart attack from the verbal assault of their parents. Is it to have parents come up and clear out the snack aisles of Walmart and Target? To actually encourage a reunion to take place? Or to advertise all the great activities the University offers?
I personally noticed the University making a particular effort to push activities and show off campus resources this weekend. Even small touches were made to show off the University in a better light. While giving my mom a mini tour of the College-in-the-Woods Dining Hall, I noticed the dessert table — usually covered in crumbs and a haphazard pile of broken cookies — displayed trays of neatly organized, not broken, assorted baked goods. There was also a jam-packed schedule of different lectures and tours of all the University has to offer. Is the purpose to urge parents to visit for a reunion with their children or rather to put a spotlight on the University for the people who are paying tuition?
Whatever purpose the University has for Family Weekend, the outcome is a stressful weekend for students. Although I’m grateful and glad my parents made the four-hour trek to see me, I’m exhausted. However, I’m admittedly still counting down the days until Thanksgiving when I see my crazy family again.