Invite your parents to Family Weekend this year

Jason Ancheta

For many students preparing for the school year, the end of summer is difficult. As we prepare to get back to school and re-enter the busy routine of our studies, it’s the perfect time to cram as much packing, socializing and leisure in before our return to university. Little do we know, our families are biting their nails as they prepare to send us off again.

Whether it’s your first year going away to college or your fourth, our loved ones find it difficult to see us go. The difficulty may be emotional, financial or even logistical with the many expenses and road trips involved in saying goodbye. To show appreciation for the support our families have given us, students should invite their loved ones to Family Weekend.

Although football games and competitions bring the UT community together, Family Weekend is unique. The event celebrates students’ families for the sacrifices and difficulties they made. The three day event offers students various opportunities to bond with their families on campus and gives families a glimpse of what our daily routines look like.

“This is how students show off to their families and help their loved ones feel better as they see their students grow into adults,” said Susie Smith, the Director of the Texas Parents Association. “You get to tell them, ‘This is where I have breakfast, this is where I call you, this is where I met a new crush.’”

Many schools on campus plan specific events that allow families to explore the different opportunities available to Longhorns throughout the year.

Dev Pant, Family Weekend Committee Chair for the McCombs School of Business, said Family Weekend is an excellent time for curious parents to see what students are up to.

“We partner with Texas Parents and UT Austin’s faculty … to offer a snapshot of college experience to students’ families,” said Pant. “We host panels on student life, career services and study abroad opportunities.”

While many of these events are staggered throughout the weekend, the schedule is designed to give students some time to relax with their families.

Smith urges families to take advantage of how the schedule gives time for breaks. She recommends they check out the organizations that Texas Parents partnered with, including Detective Dinner Theatre, Panic Room and Weird Austin Home Tour.

With these and events such as screenings of “Incredibles 2,” private dining at the Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium or even Segway tours, it is easy to get overwhelmed. While this is the case, don’t forget the purpose that this weekend programming exists — family.

“Find the balance between all the family excitement, test preparation or the various responsibilities and enjoyment you’re dealing with as you get closer to that weekend,” Smith said. “If you are understanding of each other’s expectations, then it’s easy to remember that you don’t come for attractions. You come for your son or daughter.”

You’d be surprised how much one trip can give our families peace of mind. It’s nice to show our appreciation through campus tours and barbecue. There’s no need to spend lots of money to show your parents how much you care. Instead, spend your time with them during Family Weekend.

Ancheta is a business freshman from Houston, TX