An Open Letter to Parents Weekend

Dear Parents and Family Weekend,

One of my favorite ideas in life is that “everyone has a story.” I feel like whenever I’m able to keep that in mind, the world becomes a better place. People become discoveries waiting to happen, and I’m put in a mindset that urges me to try and understand where people are coming from instead of judging where they stand.

I’m also a very big fan of parents. First of all, my own mom and dad are probably my favorite people in the world. They are, simply put, the best. However, I’m also just very pro-parent in general. I think that so much of what we have and who we are is (for better or for worse) because of the people who raised us. Everyone comes from a different background, but that’s what makes parents so interesting. They are a huge part of understanding who someone is and where they’re coming from. If you want to learn someone’s story, their parents are a good place to start.

At college though, that’s easier said than done. Most of the time, parents are a removed concept — they “exist,” but that’s about it. Except during Parents and Family Weekend. All of a sudden, a hundred windows open into the lives and stories of the people who you thought you knew. Some parents are doppelganger-versions of their kids; others couldn’t be less of what you expected.

And so parents weekend, here’s to you. You drive some kids absolutely insane, and others (like me) have been excitedly counting down the weekends until your arrival. You create an awkward, weird, annual intersection between two different worlds, and definitely cause some cringe-worthy moments. But that makes sense, doesn’t it? Any time that worlds collide, things are bound be a bit uncomfortable. But it’s also in those situations that we learn the most about each other, and about ourselves.

Our relationships with our parents change over time, and college is perhaps one of the biggest periods for that. And so I encourage you — whether your parents came to Tufts this weekend or not — to take a second and to reflect on how your parents fit into your own story. Because whether you like it or not, they’re a part of you, and I think we should always try to embrace all of ourselves — including the parent parts.

At least for me, Parents and Family Weekend was pretty awesome. Not only did I get to hang out with two of my favorite people on earth, but now when I look at people, I see a more complete story. I can imagine birthday parties and angsty middle school arguments, crazy family vacations and typical week-night dinners. Those are small things, but I think they make a surprisingly big difference in who we are and who we become. Until next year.

Sincerely,

Clara Wagner

A Note: In this article I use the word “parents” for the sake of simplicity. But my message extends to anyone who played a part in raising you, in whatever form that took. “Parent” is a role, not a biological label.


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