While Parents’ Weekend at college can feel very important when it rolls around in the fall, and is to some students and families, not all families can make a university visit work for a number of reasons. Your parents may not be able to travel to your out-of-town school, or may have conflicting work schedules that prevent them from being able to leave home for the weekend. Personally, this was my experience going to a university in Toronto, Ontario when I’m from a small town in Saskatchewan, which is almost 2,400 kilometers away.
My parents would come to help me move in and out of my dorm room, but I never got the typical Parents’ Weekend that many other students get to experience. While I imagine it’s fun to show your family all your favorite places, there are many things you can do to keep yourself busy if you find that all your friends have parents in town for the weekend, but you don’t.
- FaceTime your family.
Take this time to still bond with your family. While everyone else is busy with Parents’ Weekend events, FaceTime your own family in your dorm and give them a tour of your room. Even if they saw it during move-in, they probably don’t know all the fun additions you have made since then. You can still tell them all the funny stories behind your new knick knacks, and update them on your classes, friends, clubs, and more.
- Tag along with your roommate or bestie.
I’m sure there’s at least one person you’ve met on campus that has slowly become your security blanket. If their family is down, explain your situation and ask if you can tag along for a meal or the weekend activities. Your friend’s parents are probably curious about who their child has befriended while away at school, so hopefully they’d be willing to get to know you over the course of the weekend.
- Explore your campus or city.
While other students are showing their family around campus, take this time to explore an area on campus or your university city that you’re less familiar with. Embrace the tourist in you and go to all the must-see attractions in your city. It might sound cheesy, but it’s the best way to learn about your new home. If you’re in the need of some new, cute content, a museum, art gallery, or local cafe is sure to do the trick.
- Find other friends who don’t have parents in town.
Although it might feel like it, you’re not the only student whose parents couldn’t make it. Try your campus bar, cafe, and local coffee shop to see if you run into other students in the same situation. You can also try posting to social media or in your class’ GroupMe if it’s active, or other group chats for clubs you’re in. If you’re still planning on exploring campus or the city, they might want to tag along.
- Volunteer at campus events.
There are usually (what seems like) thousands of club booths out during the weekend who not only want students to engage, but they may want people to help out if they’re short-staffed. If you’re already a part of a campus club, offer to host an event or run a booth during Parents’ Weekend. If you’re not part of a club, your department and university is probably looking for volunteers to do odd jobs. If you’re lucky, your university might even be paying for some of the roles they have available. Check it out and get a great addition to your resume.
However your Parents Weekend falls, remember it’s up to you how great it turns out. Try and make the most of it. No matter what you decide to do with your time, make sure you enjoy yourself!