now how to do we get to the Lower Steps?

now how to do we get to the Lower Steps?

Some of us were lucky enough to spend this weekend wearing the sole blue item in our closets and watching our drunk peers attempt to navigate the bleachers at homecoming. Others of us, however, were of the few and unfortunate whose parents remembered it was Parents’ Weekend and followed through on their threats to visit. Sigh. Here’s how Bwog weathered storm. 

Summer before Freshman Year

  • Insist that your parents don’t come. It will be dumb.

Once Parents Decide to Come Anyway

  • Make sure they get off-campus housing arrangements. “That would be so not cool.”

One Week before Parents Weekend

  • Ask parent what scheduled parents events they would like to go to. Insist that they’re not for students. Do not panic unless they say they don’t want to go to any of them, “only spend time with you.”


  • Parent calls in a panic because they don’t know how to get from LaGuardia to Columbia. Book them a Super Shuttle in both directions and give them the confirmation numbers, preferably by text or e-mail so they can refer to them.


  • Be prepared to get bitched at because they’re coming into JFK, not LaGuardia. Maybe they was mistaken, but you should have known. Wait until you’ve gotten them a new ticket and gotten off the phone before you break into your chocolate stash.

  • “How far have you made it?” “I’m not sure, but we just passed the Dunkin Donuts.” Immediately recognize where THE Dunkin Donuts is in New York City and accurately anticipate their time of arrival.

  • Insist on taking them to on-campus dining and that they get the absolute worst food as a means of convincing them to take you off-campus to eat for the rest of the weekend.

  • Get them to their home away from home – NOT your dorm room


  • Receive text message saying that they’re up and want you to come pick them up. Try being up before this time so that you can immediately go to get them, so that they don’t have the opportunity to get pissy.

  • Sit around asking what they want to do. When they ask what you want to do, resist the urge to say, “Sit around on Bwog,” but instead insist that you can do anything in the city any time, and so they should pick. Spend a half hour deliberating before deciding to go anywhere. *Hint* Get lunch soon. Everyone is crankier when hungry. I recommend Shake Shack if one is near anywhere you’re going, like the American Museum of Natural History (got to love them dinosaurs). Spend the day around the city doing touristy things, far from your friends on-campus who know what you’ve been up to in the last 2 months. Remember, parents get tired quickly, so after an early supper, recommend that they go rest and recuperate some (“It was a long flight here”) so you can “go do homework” *Hint* Don’t get too drunk. Parents also rise before noon, typically.

NOTE: Settle on a meeting time/location for the next day. If they need instructions to get back to campus, text or email them, so that you can’t be told, “That’s not what you told me yesterday …”


  • Try to be up and decent before parent arrives.

  • Show parent around campus. Avoid anywhere that Genderfuck posters may still be found. Be sure to point out where you go to class or office hours, not where you go to party.

  • Ask where parent would like to go out to eat. When they ask you what’s good and you don’t have a clue, stick to the argument that you have a really comprehensive meal plan, not that you only go out to bars.

  • When in doubt, there’s a variety of good, family-appropriate options down Amsterdam, plus the Church of St. John the Divine, where everyone can look at the statues and look for peacocks.

  • Unless your parents are really into football, it might not be the best idea to take them to see all your friends painted and buzzed at the game.

  • If you like to shop with your parents, consider going down to the bookstore. They might buy you a sweatshirt (Bwog’s did!), and you can bond over complaining about how overpriced everything is. Resist the urge to point out the bandeaus.

  • If you have a hard time getting them to go in the evening, mention that they could help you with your laundry/flashcard making/grocery shopping. They’ll probably skedaddle, but, at the worst, you’ll get a little help and maybe free groceries.


  • Make sure to allot them plenty of alone time for packing, so that you don’t end up “helping”, doing it wrong, and getting lessons on folding.

  • A good way to end a trip is at a meal. No one is tempted to stand around making up things to talk about while each one really wishes they could go and do other stuff.

  • Be sure to see your parent to their taxi/bus/car, because you really will miss them.

Good luck! 

Your confused parents looking for campus landmarks via Shutterstock