College can be scary. Upon arrival, many will experience their first time living away from home, their first time being in charge of creating their own schedule, and if they’re lucky, a welcome week-induced hangover the likes of which they’ve never experienced before. Although I do quite literally own a book titled the guide to college, like my column, it does little more than offer a few jokes about things you might come across while you are here. This is why I want to explain how to take advantage of a bank of knowledge which has been sitting right under our noses, or more likely calling every day to make sure our noses are getting along OK.
Our parents are old. This means they are also likely to be old fashioned. However, through diligent research and checking multiple sources I found that they really were “young once too.” In fact, it seems that many of our parents have actually had experiences very similar to the ones we are going through now, and may even be able to offer us relevant advice.
I’m not ashamed to say my dad was cooler than my current self when he was in college. I recently posted a photo online of him with his arm around an old girlfriend in front of his 1968 VW Bus, which featured an ironic portrait of Mickey Mouse he painted himself. After receiving 50,000 hits it was far and away the most popular thing I have ever posted to the internet, and, fortunately, all the comments which read “your mom is hot” were not about my actual mom.
After leaving our childhood homes and legally becoming adults, our parents may not see us as peers, but they will at least begin to recognize us as something more than a butt they used to wipe. This is why I advocate college students seeking advice from their elders. Unfortunately, the UC Davis campus has done its best to get in the way of this. The programming at the Parent and Family Weekend held just a few days ago will not do much to bolster relations between students and the people it is not so aptly named for. I’m doubting that “Davis Chancellor’s Club insider’s view of the Robert Mondavi Institute” is any less uptight than it sounds.
So when your parents come around for the next mandated visitation weekend, recommend they skip the trip to Chem 194 to hear a lecture on “coaching your student through college 101” and actually spend some time with them. Try something which will actually represent at least a smidgen of what your life is like here.
Head over for brunch at Crepeville, or wherever you like to nurse away your headache after a long night of drinking. Whether or not you reveal the location’s identity as a hangover cure is up to you, but perhaps your parents have been waiting for the right time to unveil your family’s secret remedy for post-binge drinking recovery.
Appreciate the convenience of our local Target and grab that mirror you’ve been getting along without for the last two months. When I was a freshman we had to drive 10 miles through the snow to get to the Wal-Mart in Dixon. A shopping trip also means an opportunity to get some groceries if you let it be known that you’ve been living mostly off of Ramen and Chef Boyardee.
There are many benefits to spending “quality time” with one’s parents. Odds are that they know how to help solve all of your petty college problems. I have sought my parents counsel on everything from how to evict my friend that over-stayed himself into a roommate, to over the phone cooking tips on whether or not my steak is done. Their advice may not always be worth taking, but a parent’s suggestion bears a brand of experience that our peers simply cannot offer.
Whether you’re headed for a tour of campus, a quick meal or a trip to the store, you have a heck of a lot of better options than attending a brunch with Chancellor Katehi and hearing her “vision for UC Davis.” Our parents may not seem cool now, and it’s because they probably aren’t. However, if you dig deep and spend some quality time together, as opposed to just suffering through their visit, you might come out with some relevant advice, or at the very least some free food.
If you need AARON WEISS to forward a question to his super cool dad, shoot a note to firstname.lastname@example.org.