Surviving Junior & Senior Family Weekend: A guide

By Gabi DiPaulo | October 31, 2019 7:47pm

This Junior & Senior Family Weekend, prepare to view the Bluff through new eyes at the side of your new visitors. Photo illustration by Lisa Erenstein.

You love your parents. They birthed you, clothed you and shaped you into the high-achieving and super competent young adult that you are today. They saw the peaks of your most awkward stages and sent you off to each and every first day of school. As you graduated high school and set your sights on higher education, they sent you off tearfully and with enduring support. 

For many students in the years following, seeing their parents has gone from a routine to a privilege. Most out-of-state students are only able to visit family during breaks. This Junior and Senior Family Weekend, however, the parent(s) are coming to you. 

The chance to immerse your parents in your new life away from home, with new friends, hobbies and hang-out spots, is exciting. For many students, it’s also overwhelming. Your high school days feel far behind you, and you and your family may have to redefine the relationship of parent and child, to parent and young adult. 

If your parents will be among the crowds flooding The Bluff this weekend, let The Beacon provide a few tips for navigating Family Weekend. (If you don’t have parent(s) coming, that’s okay, too. The Beacon strongly advises tagging along with a friend and their parents to hear embarrassing baby stories about your beloved friends, and a free dinner if you’re lucky.)

1. Be open with your parent(s) about your life here. Now is your chance to put faces to the names that they have heard so much about, or to actually let them sample your favorite meal at a neighborhood spot you’ve been raving about. They want to see the life that you lead. Let them!

2. After the first break you spend at home after going to college, you might be confronted with an uncomfortable truth — it’s very frustrating to feel as though you’re being governed by your family when you’ve spent months entirely independent. It’s absolutely normal to butt heads with them — sometimes within five minutes of their arrival. 

Concerned that you won’t be able to keep your cool? Practice some breathing exercises. And remind yourself: It’s just a weekend. You’ve likely spent the last few weeks missing your parent(s) with a passion. So, for a few days, just suppress that residual high school angst. Spend the quality time with them that you’ve been missing, and let yourself be their kid again. 

3. Need some time to just chill out by yourself? Do it. Your parent(s) were self-sufficient human beings long before you were born, so don’t feel the need to play host 24 hours a day. 

4. Don’t stress about having the perfect experience. Ultimately, your family likely doesn’t care too much about attending every single UP event on the schedule, or the itinerary of Portland you’ve been carefully crafting. They just want to see you, your growth and the place that you’ve come to call home. 

Gabi DiPaulo is the Living editor for The Beacon. She can be reached at