How to get your life together for Family Weekend
    Photo courtesy of Tanner Howard and Ben Shear

    Ah, Family Weekend. Only about a month in, your parents finally get the chance to see how successful you already are. But what if you haven’t been busy curing cancer and winning Pulitzer Prizes yet? Your best bet might be to fake it till you make it. Below, you’ll find North by Northwestern’s handy cheat sheet for preparing for your parent’s imminent arrival.

    1. Put on pants

    It might seem surprising, but the simple act of not sitting in you room in boxers and nothing else is the easiest method of impressing your parents and demonstrating your new, dynamic life. If you’re feeling adventurous, a nice, freshly washed T-shirt could also help considerably, although that might be pushing things.

    Photo courtesy of Tanner Howard and Ben Shear

    2. Make your roommate look really bad

    Have a One Direction poster or a Hugh Jackman body pillow on your side of the room? Here’s an easy solution: Throw it all on your roommate's bed. Just think, you’ll simultaneously dispose of the signifiers of your miserable existence and make yourself look better through social comparison all at once!

    3. Know at least one intelligent thing to say about each of your classes

    This shouldn’t be asking too much. You’ve been going to at least most of your classes, yes? Assuming you’re getting anything from your 9 a.m. lectures, be sure to know one insightful, or at least seemingly insightful thing about each class. It’ll ease your parents worries to know that they’re not paying thousands of dollars per class just for you to catch up on your beauty sleep.

    Photo courtesy of Tanner Howard and Ben Shear

    4. Don’t be hungover when they arrive

    There's a good chance that the first time seeing your parents since arriving at college will be this Saturday morning. Naturally, this may conflict with some of your Friday night festivities. With that in mind, one might consider taking things a bit easy this upcoming weekend. After all, throwing up all over your dorm right as your parents walk in might not be the best conversation starter. Although it will probably make for some interesting stories later.

    5. Hide all contraband, hide it well

    Along the lines of the above recommendation, be sure to properly hide all illicit materials. Your parents might just do a once-over of your fridge and drawers to see if you’re stashing anything you wouldn’t want them to be seeing. You might need to get creative – the bottom of the laundry hamper, deep underneath your bed or perhaps amongst your roommate’s affairs could just be the way to go.

    6. Introduce your parents to your most high-achieving friends

    Everybody has at least a few friends who are already busy doing interesting-sounding things around campus. Make sure they’re around this weekend, to demonstrate just how busy you’ve been making connections around campus. But, assuming you’ve haven’t been keeping up with them, this strategy may backfire, making your life look uneventful and dull by comparison. Be warned.

    Remember, no matter what, your parents will always love you. If you just can’t put yourself together before this weekend, don’t fret. They’ll understand the craziness that is your new Northwestern life. However, it never hurts to throw on some pants before your mom pulls you in for that first hug.


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