The Stages of JPW

Junior Parents Weekend had always seemed like this far-off mythical adventure that entailed partying with your parents (who are maybe way cooler than you always thought they were), showing off your favorite professors, and touring them through your favorite study spots. I was never really certain what transpired during the famed JPW extravaganza, but this weekend I found out. Here’s a brief summary of the JPW experience.


  1. Pre-JPW: Professors schedule all exams and assignments to be due immediately after the weekend.

I have three exams, two homework assignments, a lab write up, a research proposal, and a small scale replica of the Basilica due by Wednesday! Okay, the Basilica thing isn’t true, but it’s still a lot considering the total lack of studying that occurred this weekend.


  1. Your parents arrive.

And you’re super happy to see them! But… you’re internally stressing over the fact that all productivity has halted for the next 48 hours.


  1. Your parents take you out to eat.

We’re so not complaining.


  1. The Opening Gala is super awkward and crowded.

You’ve somehow ended up in Duncan Student Center when squad has congregated in Corbett Family Hall and you don’t see a single person you know. You’re just trying to squeeze through hoards of people to find some kind of empty space when you awkwardly make eye contact with that guy you tried to ask out last year. Embarrassed, near sweating in your best semi-formal attire and having misplaced your parents somewhere by the appetizers, you’re not quite vibing with this whole Gala thing.


  1. The Opening Gala is super awesome and still crowded.

You’ve finally located your friends and all is well. You watch a couple of performances and then head up to the dancefloor. Between the DJ and the cash bar, you’re not feeling quite so suffocated by the insane number of people on the dancefloor. You chat, drink, and dance the night away.


  1. You go to your academic open houses.

Saturday morning arrives and you’re all a little groggy from the late night dorm-dance-on-steroids that was last night. You introduce your parents to your favorite professors, which is far more awkward than anticipated. You spend a good twenty minutes in the corner with your parents, trying to figure out how to introduce them to your classmates and their parents without being weird. Is there such a way? Shortly, you’ve given up.


  1. Your parents take you out to eat again (score).

It’s seriously time for a break at Brothers. And a beer.


  1. You take a family nap.

You’re all exhausted, so you all break to nap and plan to reconvene at Main Circle before mass.

  1. The homily makes you cry.

You’re sitting in mass, silently cheering on your super talented friend singing the psalm, curiously inspecting all the people you didn’t know were in your grade and trying to decide which parent they look most like. Suddenly, the homily stops sounding fit for JPW and starts sounding more like a commencement speech, which you really weren’t ready for. Try as you might to contain it, the reminder of graduation and sentiments about how much your parents love you make you cry, effectively ruining your makeup.


  1. All five speakers at dinner also insist on reminding of the fact that you’re 15 months away from graduating.


  1. You basically become best friends with Father John and teach him the Welsh Fam sign.

I always knew Jenkins was a Welsh Fam man. Go Whirlwinds ❤️

  1. Your parents take you to breakfast on Sunday.

You can’t remember the last time you ate this much in such a short period of time.


  1. You freak out a little when you realize how much homework you haven’t done.


  1. You say goodbye to your parents.

It feels a little like when they left you after Welcome Weekend, and you don’t appreciate it. But you do appreciate them and all they did to help you get here.


  1. You fall asleep on your PChem textbook.

It’s been a rough one, but you’ll mostly only remember the good parts.


Overall, JPW was awesome. It was a great reminder of how much my parents do for me and how much I appreciate them. I loved showing them my home, my lab, and my on-campus family. I may be drowning in work this week, but I wouldn’t have traded my JPW experience for the world.

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Images 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11: author photo, 12, 13, 14, 15