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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Use Family Weekend to say thanks

It’s easy to let Family Weekend turn into a series of dorky activities by day and awkward first-time-drinking-with-your-parents moments by night. Bridging the gap between adolescent and adult can be trying for parents and offspring alike, as everyone struggles with traditional family boundaries that have become newly hazy. As such, Family Weekend has the potential to be unendingly awkward and pretty un-fun for everyone involved.

Often, when students reach college, their desire for autonomy causes them to grow apart from their families, discovering their own ways of living outside their childhood homes. This is a natural progression but can be painful for parents used to knowing the tiniest details of their youngsters’ lives. Students forget that their parents check in with them not to nag, but because they genuinely miss them. It’s easy for young adults to fall into an eye-rolling, “”God, Mom, back off”” mindset, especially when they’re away from home and experiencing relative freedom for the first time. Family Weekend can exacerbate those tensions.

But this weekend also offers an opportunity many students fail to take advantage of often enough: thanking the people who got them where they are today.

Whether financially or simply with moral support, few UA students would be the successful burgeoning adults they are without the aid of their families. Parents, siblings, grandparents, godparents, extended families, mentors and friends — all those people who make up a family unit, traditional or otherwise — have accompanied each and every student on their journey to the UA. And this weekend is a perfect chance for those lucky students to show their gratitude.

So regardless of whether your family is in town for the weekend or far away, use this ready-made opportunity. Just say, “”thank you,”” in whatever way you can.

Perhaps you’ve been signed up, against your will, for every weird event the weekend has to offer, from college brunches to parent-child wheelbarrow races. Bite the bullet and go. It’s one weekend, and it’s important to the people who love you enough to be here.

Maybe your parents won’t stop asking questions about every miniscule detail of your college life, from what you eat for breakfast to whom you sit next to in your 1,000-person lecture. Answer the questions, and provide details. They’re not asking to try your temper. Remember, they’ve spent most of your life making your breakfasts and knowing not just your classmates, but most of your teachers, too. They ask because they care, and probably because they want more ammunition with which to brag about you to everyone they know.

If you grew up with a tag-along sibling who wants to spend every minute of the weekend at your side, let them. You should be excited to share your new life with someone who looks up to you so much. If nothing else, it’s a chance to let someone else think you’re really, really cool.

Many families don’t come to Tucson for Family Weekend, whether because they’re unable to or because bumper-to-bumper parking garages aren’t their cup of tea. Their students aren’t off the hook, though. If your family isn’t in town, grab that cell phone to which you’re so perennially attached and make a phone call or two. Someone in your life will be ecstatic to hear from you.

While college is a time to grow up and out from one’s roots, that doesn’t mean leaving those roots behind altogether. Every student has someone in his or her life who deserves gratitude. And Family Weekend is the perfect opportunity to tell them, “”Thank you. I love you.””

 

— Editorials are determined by the Daily Wildcat opinions board and written by one of its members. They are Heather Price-Wright, Luke Money, Colin Darland and Steven Kwan. They can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu. And they all love their families very much.

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