Making the most of moms and dads weekends

By Annabeth Carlson

Letting your child go off to college can be a difficult adjustment. When I was a freshman, I remember my mom getting worried when I didn’t answer the phone when I was napping. I also remember feeling a bit lost without the constant and helpful advice I was used to receiving from my parents.

However, one aspect of the University that both my parents and I appreciated in this tough adjustment time was parents’ weekends.

The University hosts two parents’ weekends each year: one for dads in the fall, and another for moms in the spring. For me, I felt both of these weekends arrived just when I was beginning to feel homesick.

Some of my favorite college memories have come from spending time with my parents during these weekends. Such memories include eating burgers with my dad at Murphy’s Pub, his favorite campus bar when he was a University student, and having an impromptu sleepover in my dorm room with my mom.

Now that I’m a junior, my parents and I are more accustomed to being away from each other while I’m at school. But as I get older, I value the memories I make with my parents on these occasions even more.

I highly recommend that everyone participate in these weekends, and feel free to bend the rules a little. If it’s Moms Weekend, dads are welcome to come, too, and vice versa. I have plenty of friends who also host grandparents, aunts and uncles, siblings and cousins as well.

If the date of the specific parents’ weekend doesn’t fit your schedule, make your own weekend celebration! Either way, here are my favorite places to go with my parents and other family members when they visit for the weekend:

Dining at restaurants in downtown Champaign

Treat your “starving college student” to a more upscale and delicious restaurant experience than that of the dining hall. My family’s personal favorites include the farm-to-table cuisine at Big Grove Tavern, fun twists on brunch classics at Destihl and sushi that is flambe’ed in front of you at KoFusion.

Shopping at the Tuscola Outlets

Located just 29 minutes outside of C-U, the Tuscola Outlets offer, in my opinion, the best shopping in the area. With stores like J. Crew, Nike and Ralph Lauren, my mom and I are always sure to go together. My dad, not so much, but he is still a good sport about it!

Attending University sporting events

Sporting events are a great way to catch up and catch some school spirit at the same time! Dads Weekend always occurs on a weekend when a football game is scheduled, and it can be fun to tailgate or go to a campus bar beforehand.

Be sure to look into the other sports the University has to offer as well. Recently, my dad and I enjoyed a tennis match at the Atkins Tennis Center.

Annabeth is a junior in Media.

[email protected]