Ah, Parents’ Weekend. It’s an interesting time here at Cal. For most Freshmen, it’s the first time they’ve seen their parents since move-in. It’s a time for them to go out to dinner and share stories of their new best friends, give updates on their classes, and show them around campus. I love talking to new Cal Parents—they’re just so excited to hear everything about Cal! I personally would have never made it to Cal nor been as driven, motivated, and determined to success as I am without the support my parents provided me. The way I see it, the least I can do is keep in touch with them and allow them to stay involved in my life—even though I haven’t been home for more than three weeks in over two years.
But I get it: it can be hard to keep in touch. Even though they’re miles away, somehow my parents are still able to irritate me over the phone (honestly it’s a little impressive). But I know they always have my best interests at heart and truly do want to be kept in the loop in what I do here at Cal. Over the past two years, I’ve developed some tips on how to keep the parentals happy.
1. Call them—and call them often! Despite popular opinion, it’s way more stressful to only talk to your parents once a week. This means your phone call will probably be long and filled with a lot of questions. If you have a lot of studying to do, it can feel like a waste of time repeating everything you did that week to your eager parents back home. Instead, call them on your way to/from class. Not only will this keep you entertained on your otherwise long walks up and down the Berkeley Hills, but it puts a time-restraint on the conversation so it won’t take up more than ten minutes of your day. By doing this often, you’ll keep them in the loop and they’ll feel just as a part of your life as they did when you were in high school. And don’t worry, your parents will get used to you walking up hills—although your mom may think you need to go to Urgent Care the first time you call her walking up Bancroft.
2. Pictures!! Parents want to not only hear about your friends, but know what they look like! Even if you post on Facebook (and especially if you never do like me), sending your parents a picture of you at a club event, at dinner with your friends, or just studying at the library will make them feel as if they are right there in Berkeley with you. (Just beware that they will probably show everyone in the office your picture.)
3. Thanksgiving Break is quickly approaching, and the thought of seeing home friends once more is exciting. However don’t forget that your parents want to spend time with you too! My favorite tactic is to have dinner with my parents when they get home from work and then go and see friends afterwards. Another tip is to schedule hanging out with friends while your parents are at work. Your parents will appreciate the gesture of keeping your evenings free for them.
Whatever tactics, tips, or strategies you employ, remember that your parents just want to cling on to being part of your life for as long as they can.