With more than a month having passed since students moved in or back to campus, and with the freshman stress of adjusting to school subsiding, it’s time for the invasion of the parents – also known as Colonials Weekend 2009.
Colonials Weekend often means something different for different students. Seniors, for example, might be more likely to watch the weekend go by without any parental visit. Freshmen, on the other hand, are often more excited to see the folks.
“Last year they were able to make it out and it was really important for them to come my freshman year,” sophomore Keaghan Ames said. “I was really lonely last year and not having a roommate was absolutely horrible and I really wanted their comfort for the weekend.” This year though, having a parent-free weekend is fine for Ames.
“Even if my parents [were able to come] this year, I still think they would find an excuse to not come down. They really think I’m independent enough,” Ames said.
For others though, the events of the weekend are what really attract parents to come visit. For sophomore Matt Knopf, the main draw for them to make the five-hour drive from Connecticut is Jon Stewart.
“They wouldn’t feel tied to the weekend,” Knopf said of his parents, if they did not have Stewart tickets.
“I wouldn’t say that we are obligated, but we know that there are activities and so it’s a good weekend to come,” said Jerry Knopf, Matt’s father.
Even though the Stewart show is the main draw, a parental interest in students’ lives rarely wanes as they become upperclassmen.
“My wife did not see Matthew’s apartment and she’s very interested in seeing where he’s living, [his] roommates, and stocking him up on vital supplies,” Knopf said.
Adding to the attractiveness of the big names that GW draws, there is also the simple fact that, for some, Colonials Weekend serves as the natural substitute for a homecoming weekend – something GW lacks, said Rodney Johnson, director of GW’s Office of Parent Services.
“[GW] has a high number of freshman and sophomore parents who visit, but what is surprising in comparison to other schools is the high number of junior and senior parents who return every year,” Johnson said.
And while it seems that those who do return after freshman year enjoy doing so, many families are unsure whether or not a junior or senior-year visit is in the cards.
Freshman Jessica Chaney said it is likely that her parents will come from Florida, but will not necessarily be returning next year.
“I think that they will definitely just forget about me after freshman year and they won’t really care as much, just because they know that you can do it,” Chaney said.
Max McGowen and Miranda Green