Leaving home and going to college is a memorable experience for everyone. The final squeeze of hugs and last goodbyes, although sad, hold a tantalizing sense of freedom, and the feeling after finally shaking free of the endearingly tight parental grip is a sigh of relief — at least until Family Weekend.
The concept of Family Weekend is pretty self-explanatory; students invite their parents to visit their schools and have a fun weekend spending time together. However, it can feel like something most college students wouldn't want to do, which is to invite their childhood into their newfound adult life.
Besides, many parents could be unable to make it, being stuck in the busyness of adult life, jobs and familial responsibility. For some, being hours away by car certainly doesn't help bridge the gap for visitation either.
However, Family Weekend should be a top-of-the-list occasion for all students.
Mandi Dejewski, a first-year undeclared student, said her parents are coming down from her hometown of Wilmington, North Carolina, which is about three hours away.
“I’m excited to see them, but I know I’ll see them plenty,” Dejewski said about her parents visiting.
Dejewski’s parents are huge football fans, like many Carolina parents. Dejewski described her parents' weekend plans, saying their big agenda item for Saturday is to tailgate.
"They’re bringing down the whole setup,” she said. “They’ve got season passes, they’re big football people.”
Besides the events, there are many other local bonding activities to make the momentary return to childhood meaningful. Take a history-buff dad to the South Carolina State Museum, a crafty mom to Soda City Market or both to one of our charming local breweries. Wherever you go in Columbia, there are memories to be made together outside the college scene.
Dejewski's family is already ahead of the game. She said they are planning to stop by Kaminsky’s Dessert Café, a South Carolinian sweet spot on Gervais Street.
Family Weekend could also be an opportunity to revisit fun family traditions with your relatives. Dejewski said she and her parents are also planning to stop by IHOP, a former weekly ritual with her family.
“Every Sunday morning we used to go to IHOP," she said, "so I know that’ll happen." This goes to show unique, sentimental family traditions never go out of style, no matter how near or far loved ones may be.
As fun as college traditions are are, there will be opportunities to create family ones with your relatives along the course of the weekend.
So students, invite your parents to Family Weekend. Whether it's playing cornhole at a tailgate, strolling around the Horseshoe or cheering on the Gamecocks at the game, you can cherish the memories you make and enjoy many traditions, new and old, this weekend.
At the end of the weekend, you will return to your campus dorm, and they'll begrudgingly go back home, so it doesn't hurt to hug your parents a little harder this time around and make sure to mark your calendars for Family Weekend next year.