I, like most of my peers, love my family. The people who have seen you in your diapers always hold a special place in your heart, and the dirt they have on you is so embarrassing that you would be a fool to let these people become enemies. Since I love my family, I have done them the favor of never inviting them down for the annual tradition of Family Weekend. Beginning today, however, hundreds of family members, particularly of freshmen, will have mistakenly accepted an invitation to visit campus. These families, for a variety of reasons -- access to the Penn calendar and an inability to take no for an answer -- have stepped into a nightmare like no other. To these visitors, an open letter addressing the things you might witness this weekend: € Your child, regardless of what he or she insists, is not getting an adequate amount of sleep. In fact, I can assure you that he or she consistently goes to sleep at 4:45 a.m. and wakes up 30 minutes late for class -- if at all. € You are paying approximately $125 for your child to sleep in a lecture room during an average 90-minute class. An Ivy League education is money well spent, indeed. € Your budding scholar is not burning the midnight oil studying for said sleep-worthy classes. He is, however, discussing the meaning of life or the party last weekend with his hallmates or housemates. If your child is a Philosophy major or professional party planner, rejoice. € Since your Ivy League offspring has fallen behind in his work as a result of the above points, be aware that he will spontaneously combust at some point during the course of the weekend. Rest assured that this is occurring in each family. € Take your child out to dinner often -- any chance to exercise dormant taste buds will be greatly appreciated. As long as your student is stuffing his face with surf and turf, you will be revered as a god. Welcome to Family Weekend, a cruel joke planned by the University to bring families in to see the monsters their children have become. Johnny and Mary have discovered a world without responsibility and will guard their new status quo. Johnny's grown dreadlocks and Mary's suddenly acquired a taste for tube tops and tight black pants. Johnny spent last week learning about fraternity life, and Mary -- well, Mary's learned a lot about that already. You parents, while still loved by your child, are an anachronism in this world. You are an authority figure in a land devoid of such gatekeepers. Respect this relationship and it may be a peaceful experience; pretend that this is home and invite a world of unnecessary conflict. And to the freshmen, understand that you have likely changed more than you'd like to admit. Further recognize that your family has little knowledge of this Jekyll-Hyde transformation, and try to keep the party animal under wraps. You will be prodded this weekend to snap and run away; keep your composure and the rewards (see: surf and turf dinner above) will be handsomely bestowed. Because of this, Family Weekend is a time of closely calculated behavior on the part of the student body. Balancing the act of pretending to be the child your parents think you are and the cool person you pretend to be around your friends is daunting to say the least. For those who claim to be the same person to both groups, please -- everyone's a split personality at school. The sooner you accept it, the better you'll be able to juggle both roles. With midterms flanking both ends of Family Weekend, most students are likely worried about tests and papers they may have handed in or need to complete. But for those whose families come by to visit, a much bigger test starts today. Can you have a functional relationship with your families in the context of a college setting? Can your families learn to accept that a huge change has occurred in the vacuum of their influence, likely for the first time? Pass these tests and enter a new, rewarding relationship with your family. Fail them and proceed to head directly to jail, do not pass Go and do not collect $200. For those who fail, a make-up exam is just around the corner -- Thanksgiving break.Comments powered by Disqus
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