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Maura & Jerry

October 11, 2017 at 9:30 am
By Lynn Barbera '19

The fifth weekend of the fall at Carleton is Family Weekend--let me set the scene for you.

You walk into the dining hall and straight into a balding man with glasses. Then, another. Then… another. You think “Hey! Who’s that older version of my friend Nick?” and then you find out that he’s Nick’s dad! And they both love bikes! These older versions start popping up all over campus--in your classrooms, in the library, speckled across the bald spot--and some of them have mini versions of your friends, too! These are my favorite. I love it when my friends have younger siblings.

The weekend is PUMPED FULL of activities for students to do with their parents, like information sessions and a cappella shows. My improv group always puts on a show that we call “GOOD CLEAN FUN” during which parents are invited to come and yell that phrase at the performers if we get into some territory that they don’t want to watch! It’s a good time.

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It’s also very strange--you’re so used to seeing a campus full of 18-22 year olds broken up by the occasional professor that the sheer number of parents and guardians feels overwhelming! It can also be a hard time for students whose families are not able to make it to campus. My parents haven’t come to any family weekends because of work and the financial burden of travelling to Minnesota--it’s definitely a privilege to have your loved ones come visit your campus. My suggestion for anyone whose families/guardians cannot visit them is to latch on to a friend with a lot of siblings and pretend to be one of them! I promise, they’ll treat you to a Hogan Brother’s ice cream before they know that you’re not blood-related.

As you may have noticed from my other posts, I’m not actually at Carleton right now, I’m in Berlin! But I’m focusing on Family Weekend because I’ve spent the last few days having a makeshift one of my own. That’s right. My mother and father, Maura and Jerry, are here in Berlin with me, their daughter.

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I’m the youngest of three children, so when I went off to college, my parents were ready to become Middle-Agers-With-Nothing-To-Tie-Them-Down, meaning that they’re using up all of my dad’s airline miles (from his traveling business days) to TRAVEL A LOT! They were stoked when I decided to study abroad because it meant that they could come too! And what a better place and time to intercept my travels than in Berlin during the fall?

With my parents here, I finally got to push together my family life in Arizona with my student life, something I’d been envious of my friends getting to do since my first family weekend at Carleton! I took Maura & Jerry to a Mediterranean restaurant for a meal with two of my closest friends from Carleton (who happen to be on the same program as me) and sat back to watch them interact. My dad told them about embarrassing nicknames he calls me at home, and they in turn asked too many questions about my childhood. It was everything I’d been hoping for.

I’m sure that having your parents on campus must be a very strange experience, because they will see every aspect of your college life. Since I have only been in Berlin for three weeks, I don’t really have a really deep “Berlin life,” so they didn’t really see where I’m living or where I’m taking classes--though I did invite them to see me perform stand-up at an open mic tomorrow night! We’ll see how that goes! I’m really glad to see them, though. It makes home seem not so far away.

Can’t wait until next year when I’m pretending to be a part of someone else’s family, though!   


Lynn is a Cinema and Media Studies/Women's and Gender Studies double major. She's from the desert! You can catch her telling jokes with the standup group Queens of Comedy and the improv group Cujokra, or trying to ride her bike without using her hands. She's really into writing for infemous (Carleton's feminist zine), working at Dacie Moses (the cookie house), and eating (food). One time she applied for a job at Cakewalk and didn't get it.

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