Parents are People Too

Deena Mueller

Remember when we used to be embarrassed about our parents?Back in junior high, we used to prefer to be let out of the car five blocks away and hike through the rain, rather than have mom or dad drop us off at a party. I even remember one day in seventh grade when a classmate came up to me and told me that she’d seen me at the movie theater the previous Friday, with my mom! I was mortified. For the next several years I refused to go to the local theater with my parents. Somehow I felt that being seen with my parents would make me “un-cool.”

So imagine my initial fright when I saw my dad show up to a home football game one night senior year.For an instant I considered letting him wander past the student section hoping he wouldn’t be able to see me.Then I matured. It was not going to kill my social life to go say hi to my father.Parents don’t make us outcasts.They’re not some sort of plague that strips us of our popularity.In fact, we really owe our parents big time.If not for raising and putting up with us for two decades, then at least for shelling out the big bucks for college.Sending their children to Colgate definitely earns them major cool points.I’m not saying my parents should make it onto some kind VH1 show that counts down 101 Parents who really Rock!, but I certainly am not ashamed of them.

By the time this issue is released my father will be here at Colgate, and I will be obligated to show him the campus and introduce him to faculty.There are so many things I’d like to be able to do this weekend — parties, sleep, sports, getting caught up on homework, getting caught up on Grey’s Anatomy…Instead, I will probably be on some stupid tour of the Ho Science Center, having awkward parent-professor conversations and getting up at 7 a.m.Nevertheless, I’m actually looking forward to having my dad here.

Being at college, I often feel independent from my parents, as if I have established my own life out here.I’m looking forward to showing off this life to my family when they visit. I want them to see where and how I live, what I do and who I spend my time with. My parents are an important part of my life, as are the friends I’ve made at Colgate.I’d like the two groups to meet.And I’m not concern that my friends will dump me because I am planning on spending the weekend with a man in his 50’s who has no fashion sense whatsoever and wears his socks way too high.

I’m an adult now, and because of that my relationship with my parents has changed dramatically.Being more mature has helped me get along with my parents.I often disagree with them, but I always respect them.When we have conversations they aren’t simply “How was school?” and “Can I have 20 bucks?” We can actually discuss issues and talk about ourselves.I’ve gotten to know my parents much better because of this. I no longer worry that any of their personality quarks will rub off on my reputation.I’m an individual, not defined by my parents.

Colgate’s parents’ weekend strikes me as being a minor event.There are few special events planned just for parents, and many students carry on as if it were just a normal weekend. If your parents are coming to Colgate this weekend, really spend time with them.We hardly ever seem them during the school year, and they probably miss us. There will always be another party, or another weekend to sleep in, but parents only come to Colgate once in a while.Go out with your parents, spend the night off campus with them, take them to a class or to meet a professor.At least you’ll get some free meals out of it! And since they are the ones fronting the bill for our college experience, they have a right to see what they’re paying for.Our parents are probably a lot cooler than we give them credit for, so suck it up and hang out with them this weekend.Hey, you can always join me and my dad on the campus tour; I’ll be the one next to the guy in the awkwardly tall socks!