Soon after leaving for college, I learned that my parents have this eccentric habit of trying to stay in touch with their children after they leave home. Even more bizarre, it seemed that the families of many of my friends had the same habit. Who knew?
This odd trend, surely unique to Middlebury parents, led to the creation of Fall Family Weekend. This weekend is a campus-wide celebration of both how much Middlebury students love and appreciate their families and also how grateful they are to no longer be living at home. The College puts on a whole host of events: lectures, open houses, performances, panel discussions, screenings, and more to bring students, faculty and families together. These events often occur back to back and are always located as far as possible from one another. This ensures that you spend the majority of the weekend with your parents walking around in the rain. This goes along with the long-held theory* in psychology that family bonds are best strengthened by damp, chilly, and exhausting situations.
For me, it is always a privilege to show my family the things that I’ve accepted as normal in my Middlebury life. Things like eating in the dining halls (my parents LOVE the dining halls), spending time with my suitemates, going to the farmers’ market, attending guest lectures, and walking up Chipman Hill are the norm for me but hardly for my parents. Being able to show my parents and sister what my life here actually (well, vaguely) looks like helps us to better connect with one another and to see my education here in context.
And context is really what Fall Family Weekend teaches you. When you meet your friends’ parents you realize that everyone here, as much as they appear to be completely singular and independent, comes from a background that helped shape them to be here. At the same time, you connect your Middlebury education to the way that YOU were raised, and your parents do exactly the same from the opposite perspective. Bringing parents to Middlebury helps to break down the barrier that all of us unintentionally place between our college lives and our lives prior to Middlebury.
Long live Fall Family weekend!
But wow, thank goodness it’s over.
*not a real-life theory