Being the parent of a college student must be stressful. For the first time since their birth, baby is out of reach, on a campus full of drunken heathens and at risk for communicating with radical academics who salivate at the chance to indoctrinate them into an anarcho-communist lifestyle. To make up for the lack of physical contact, parents try to call their college students at least once a week to check up, just to make sure baby is still alive.
The questions they ask never change. I’ve become convinced there is actually a script parents use for talking to their college aged kids. To help even the playing field, here are some stock answers to the questions parents love to ask.
All following italicized words are not to be said under any circumstances.
“So do you have a girlfriend/boyfriend yet?”
“No, I don’t really have time for a relationship. I spend all my time studying! College is hard work, mom. (I’m trying to hold back tears at the thought of how alone I am. I’m thinking about getting a body pillow so I have something to hold onto at night).”
“Is there anyone you’re interested in?”
“Well there is this one girl/boy that’s pretty cool, but I think we’ll just stay friends. (I made out with someone on Friday at an Old Kenyon party and I don’t know their name and I think there’s photographic evidence and I just learned that they’re in my art history class and oh my god I see them everywhere now).”
How are your classes going? What are you learning about?
“Classes are going super well! I really like all my professors. We’re doing a lot of theoretical reading right now, so it’s kind of hard to explain. (I think I might be failing the course after that midterm last week. I would explain the curriculum to you, but I don’t even understand it myself. I should probably go to office hours, but it’s really damn cold, and I am not walking that far).”
What have you been up to on the weekend?
“Oh you know, just hanging out in the dorm with friends, watching movies, and studying. I like to get up early so I can be at the library while it’s still quiet. (I woke up last Saturday on a couch in Peirce with a black eye and a missing sock, even though I still had both shoes on. I still don’t know what happened to the sock).”
Have you thought any more about what you want to do in a few years when you get out?
“Yes! I’m definitely still thinking about law school and I think the Career Development Office will be very useful in lining me up for some interviews. I should be set up with a job before the end of senior year! (Every time I think of the future, I break out in a cold sweat and become filled with crippling anxiety. I’m going to end up working in a Barnes & Nobles that will shut down because no one buys books anymore. I’ll have to move back in with you because I can’t find a job and because the real world is expensive and scary. Please don’t make me graduate).”
What Old Kenyon party we you at?! We haven’t had any all-campus parties for three frakin’ weeks.
so say we all.
Maybe if it wasn’t solely up to Greek organizations to pay for the campus’s fun, they would throw more of them.
As a parent of a Kenyon student (yep – we’re out there) all I can say is that I’ve walked in all of those italicized shoes (in college and after), and I would expect nothing more or less of my child. I just hope she would feel comfortable confiding in me. We’re human, and human is messy :)
Wait for her late twenties or so. It (kind of sadly) takes until we start our own families to view parents as fully human rather than just The Parents.