Jumbo Steps: Parents and Family Weekend: just a first-year thing?

You may have noticed a few changes around campus these past few days as the remaining bunch of Parents and Family Weekend visitors said their last goodbyes. Firstly, the median age on campus is now back to 20-something. Secondly, and more seriously, first-year students (whom this annual event primarily aims to serve) may seem a bit more at ease. Thirdly, and more personally, these goodbyes don’t just apply to first-years.

For some students, the start of their first year can be an absolute b—-. You’re in a new environment. You’re (most likely) miles and miles away from home. You’re trying to figure out the basics, like when to do laundry. You’re trying to make friends. You’re constantly playing a game of catch-up with homework. You’re trying your best to understand new, difficult and demanding material. And you may even be freaking out because you can’t differentiate Pearson Hall from Bromfield-Pearson from Eliot-Pearson.

For students whose families played an integral role in their upbringing, the start of their first year can be even more difficult. The harsh reality is that this is just a part of college life: You simply can’t pack Mom or Dad or Uncle John or Auntie Sheila in your suitcases.

This is why Parents and Family Weekend is fantastic for first-years: Seeing those familiar faces amid a sea of new ones certainly offers comfort. Parents and Family Weekend falls at about the halfway mark into first semester, a time when first-years especially begin to feel homesick and restless. What I like about this event is that older students can still invite their family members to visit them, even though this event is somewhat intended for first-years.

Although I’m no longer a first-year, my aunt and uncle visited Tufts this past weekend. They didn’t choose to visit this particular weekend because it was Parents and Family Weekend — it was merely a coincidence.

Whether you’re a first-year or not, it’s a treat to have family visit you — regardless of whether it’s during a specified date range marked on this year’s academic calendar.

Indeed, it was a treat to have been visited. I won’t be going home for Thanksgiving break, so this visit was especially memorable. We began our Saturday morning at the Neighborhood Restaurant & Bakery, unequivocally the home of the world’s best cream of wheat. We then spent the rest of our day at the Museum of Fine Arts and our jaws dropped in awe and marvel at various artists’ craftsmanship and skill. We ended the day by waiting in line (in the rain, like champs) at Mike’s Pastry for some chocolate and caramel cannolis. That evening, we went to an Italian restaurant in Davis Square, after which they dropped me back off at Wren.

Their flight departed from Logan Airport before the crack of dawn that next morning. Even though we spent only one day together, I do believe that math can back me up in saying that one is greater than zero.

Now that I’ve had a year’s worth of college experience, I’m less homesick and less dependent on family to help me along my way. But I always love the occasional visit.

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