Don’t let Family Weekend get you down

Stephanie Markham, Editor-in-Chief


For some students, Family Weekend carries the same weight as another dateless Valentine’s Day — their parents aren’t coming so they’re just passively bitter about the whole ordeal until it’s over.

It’s disappointing when your family can’t make it, especially watching everyone else having fun, going to bars and restaurants, and tailgating with their relatives.

Being able to show family members the new life you’ve created without them is a cool experience, but for some students they are stuck with meeting their friends’ families and never introducing their own.

I was a bit peeved when I found out my family wasn’t coming this year, but I know I’ve been luckier than most students.

My family has participated in the annual event many times in the past, as my sister and stepbrother both graduated from Eastern within the last few years and I am set to graduate in May.

This year was an interesting situation for us; Eastern’s Family Weekend happened to be on the same date as Western’s, which is where my younger brother is currently enrolled in his first year.

Torn between attending their first Family Weekend in Maccomb or their last in Charleston, my mom and stepdad decided to sit the whole thing out this year and avoid the nuisance of traveling the three to four hours from Chicago.

Though I’m a little bummed, I know it doesn’t mean they won’t visit me ever. Homecoming is still an option on the horizon, as well as the various remaining weekends when the city isn’t crammed with visitors.

I’m assuming that Family Weekend is slightly more depressing for the students whose families never cared to attempt a visit at all.

Some students cut ties with their families when they go to college, or vice versa, so seeing hundreds of their peers prancing around with their loving support systems is like an overwhelming reminder of what they don’t have.

However, family doesn’t have just one definition. The beautiful thing about being in a university setting is that it’s incredibly easy to find a “second family” somewhere that will appreciate, encourage and accept you.

If your family isn’t coming this weekend, don’t let that get you down too much.

Instead, use this opportunity to bond with whomever you’ve found to be your “second family,” whether that consists of students in your major, a registered student organization, a church group, people on your floor, or strangers found elsewhere.

Take the time to meet your friends’ families as well. It’s always interesting to see where friends pick up their weird habits from, and most of the time parents are more than happy to spend time or share food with their children’s friends.

Also realize that no one has the perfect family. I’ve witnessed many nice Family Weekend visits ruined by parents being overcritical of their children or simply getting way too drunk and bringing up old family drama.

Moments like that tend to make us thankful of the independence college has afforded us, regardless of our family’s history.

Despite the cancellation of this year’s concert, there are still numerous activities to check out this weekend, so don’t let the absence of a “real family” stop you from taking advantage.




Stephanie Markham can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].