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From Charlotte Druckman "Putting It Bluntly," Fall '94 Of course, this year, in an attempt to become more sensitive to the feelings of siblings or cousins and to show the folks how p.c. the campus is, the administration has unveiled a new label "family weekend," to replace the ever-popular "parents' weekend." This year, "family weekend" takes on yet another function along with its new name -- it marks the end of fraternity rush and the extension of bids to the future brothers of the Greek system. Now, parents will be glad they came down to Penn for one of two reasons; either to give a fond farewell to the son they will lose to the next five months of pledging, or to provide a shoulder to cry on for the bidless child. "Family weekend" is beneficial to the rushees because it forces them to get out and do something with their parents instead of sitting in their rooms in a tizzy, worrying about their futures in the great social circle we like to call Greek Life. One of my friends explained to me, that in a nutshell, our parents come here so that they can see "how we live," and observe us in our college environment. While this may be the case, what our parents are actually viewing is not a true slice of college life, but rather a skewed version, custom-made to render college a series of well-planned meals combined with a 'civilized' football game, some optional lectures (guaranteed to have our parents hounding us about our futures -- or lack thereof) and Locust Walk in its autumn splendor. It all starts this Friday when parents are invited to sit in on their children's classes. Little do the parents know, this may be the first time all year that little Tony has bothered to show up for that 10 a.m. French class on Friday. The truth is, it is not easy for many parents to make it here on time for most of our Friday classes -- if we have any, and frankly, most of these classes are over before 2:00 pm. So, although the concept of permitting parents to sit in on classes is a nifty one, it's rather like inviting someone to come sunbathe at your country home on a rainy day. And it's a shame that everyone's parents can't see what classes are like and how we are learning, because it is supposedly towards this educational end they are paying $25,000 a year. When all else fails, there's always the football game -- that tradition steeped in Penn pride where everyone gathers together to chat and watch our men in red and blue "put the ball across the line." Come on, students know what really goes on at a football game. You get drunk with a bunch of your friends, paint your faces red and blue, and shout curses in the middle of a garbled cheer that celebrates a Penn touchdown. But, our parents get a drastically different image when their children are on their best behavior and have to sit with Mom and Dad. In fact, the only "legitimate" action of student life that parents can glimpse at the game, is toast throwing. That's when they find out where their tuition money is really going -- to pay for a machine that picks up toast. It must be really encouraging for our parents to know that instead of doing our work we're making toast. The football game is merely an activity to fill the time between lunch and dinner. Meals are essential to "family weekend." First there is the dilemma of where to take the crew and whether or not to make eating a social event and invite your friends and their parents to come along too. Dining is either filled with superficial schmoozing between parents who wish their children could have met different friends so they wouldn't have to sit with "these people" in the first place. Or, if one opts to eat with one's parents alone, one embarks on a pleasant discussion about one's grades. Please note, at this time, students are in the midst of midterms or have just gotten back their first tests of the year and do not wish to discuss the possibility that they are "up the creek without a paddle" with their parents. If you have to take a midterm or write a ten-page research paper, then you know you have more important things to do than chill with your parents. Maybe our parents think that when they take us home at 10 p.m. on Saturday, we will sit down to do some work. Why else do we have such noticeable circles under our eyes the next morning? It is basically a given that students do not go into much detail about what goes on "after dark" with their parents, and while most parents may have some idea in the back of their minds (a leftover from their own college days) some might actually be clueless and there is certainly no need to enlighten them. Okay, although our parents may not be getting an accurate picture of college life, they are able to see that their children are happy (despite the fact their daughter lives lives in a 7' by 13' cubicle with mice). At the bottom of it, in our heart of hearts, we know how much we miss our parents and how great it feels to have them taking care of us for two days -- even if we feel smothered and have to put our social lives on hold. Charlotte Druckman is a sophomore English major from New York City. Putting It Bluntly appears alternate Tuesdays.

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