I'm never going to forget my college move-in day. It's funny, because it didn't seem very memorable in the moment — but thinking back on it 10 years later, I really feel like I remember every second of that morning many Septembers back. And what dates the memory so much is the image of the chunky Blackberry Curve I carried around all semester in a squishy orange case.
I wasn't the luckiest girl in college when I received my room assignment. I spent my whole first year sharing a small "two-bedroom" (one of them didn't have a door) railroad-ish construction with three other girls. I'd been told by upperclassmen that rooming with friends was ill-advised, as these pairings often ruined the functional platonic relationships, so I went into the lottery at random.
When I arrived to my room on the first day with my parents and sister, I was greeted by Mary and her mother. Her mother brought what seemed to be an entire apartment worth of clothing, linens and furniture to our small pre-furnished shoebox. And I wouldn't even have minded my tiny space being so crucially cramped if it hadn't been for the fact that this girl was a bully, and totally out of her mind. But, I digress.
The one line that sticks to me the most about watching Mary move in, even after all of these years, was when her mother said the reason she had only packed dark bedding was so her roommates wouldn't notice that she sweated through the sheets. Gross!
Parents, if you have a secret reason for doing things that will undoubtedly embarrass your child to death, maybe keep it between the two of you.
Scroll down for more of the most mortifying parental mishaps when they went to drop their kids off at school.
Mom, I don't think these concerns apply.
"Dropped by room to find young man and his Mom putting the finishing touches on hanging his posters: Cher, Madonna, Liza Minelli. She asks me questions about females visiting hours etc. I suspected that Junior wasn't terribly interested. Proved to be accurate. Good kid, just wasn't ready to have that talk yet."
Mommmmm!!! Leave, already!
"The day after move-in, the girl's mother showed up in the middle of the day and asked for keys to the daughter's room.
Then she wanted someone to come with her upstairs and let her in. She was only there to get her daughter's dirty clothing! Why can't she do that?!
After 20 minutes of arguing, the woman left a note and told the poor guy at the front desk that it wasn't the last he'd hear from her, insinuated he was some sort of pervert for covering the desk in a women's dorm, and said he'd be lucky if firing and being kicked out of school was all that happened to him.
When the student was informed, she seemed totally embarrassed, apologized for her mother, and said it wouldn't happen again.
Two days later, the woman came back at 5:30am in the morning, shoulder-surfed the pass code to the building, and then, when her child wouldn't answer calls from the lobby phone, snuck upstairs when one of the residents was leaving.
Woke up the entire (wrong) floor of people by banging at the door to an empty room and eventually got escorted out by my friend and Public Safety.
"But I just wanted to take my baaaaaby out to breakfast!" / "How am I going to know she's eating right if I don't?!" / "I'm her mother, and I pay for everything, so you can't make me leave!" / "I'm going to sue you! You're trying to keep me from my baaaaaby!!!"
Public Safety kept someone in the lobby 24/7 for the next three weeks. It would have only been a few days, but the scuttlebutt was that she tried twice more, including once in 'disguise.' (Sunglasses, a baseball hat, and a set of University sweats.)"
Mom didn't seem all that concerned.
"Engineering school, 1970’s. Mom dropped her kid off at his dorm and drives away. Yes, pushed his suitcase and a few boxes out of the car. Told Junior goodbye, study hard, and left.
Junior was 15 years old, super-genius child prodigy with zero social skills.
His roommates were horrified, but most of them had little brothers, so big-brother parenting kicked in. The kid was pretty well socialized by the end of the first semester, and had a collection of de facto big brothers and big sisters helping him live life.
It was a relief, because as a house counselor, I was really worried I was going to have a bad situation on my hands. I did not need to do anything at all.
Did buy the older guys beers a few times to thank them."
Dad, you don't get to boss around the dorm RA!
"I had left my phone number at a desk for a desk attendant one night I was on duty. A resident saw this, my personal number, and gave it to his dad.
Dad calls me and immediately starts yelling that there is a leak in his son’s bathroom ceiling and urine has been leaking through it.
'Okay; how long?' 'For a week.' 'Has he done anything? Notified anyone?' 'You’re the RA, you’re supposed to know.'
Dad chews me out for 10 more minutes. I check out the kid’s room. He’s got towels all over the bathroom floor. I look up at the ceiling. Super light leak, definitely not pee. I tell him so and tell him to file a maintenance request. He demands that I do it for him. I point him in the right direction, but he’s a big boy, so no. He demands to know if what I know is water is urine. I casually ask why he would let it leak into his apartment, then, for a week. As I go to leave, he tells me he’s going to demand that the university pay for his ruined (read: wet, the function of) towels and he wants my contact info to file a complaint. I nod, give him the info, and leave.
His dad calls me a day later, but I had spoken to my boss the night before.
'Hi, I’m calling on behalf of—' 'Yes I know, sir, but I’m an RA and I handle students’ problems. If he wants my attention, he can call me himself. Otherwise, I don’t report to you. Have a nice day, sir. Delete my number.'"
RAs are not glorified babysitters, mom and dad!!!
"I was an RA for three years and this is probably the worst parent interaction I’ve ever had.
Kid is a sophomore (roughly 20-ish) and his parents move him in at the beginning of the spring semester. I go door to door welcoming residents back and welcoming new residents to the floor and then I get to this kid's room. Parents are setting everything up for him and he’s standing in the corner just watching with a blank expression. I introduce myself, ask his preferred name (nickname, etc.), and ask if there is anything I can do to help. Total silence and his parents look at me like I’m the scum of the earth for talking to them.
Flash forward maybe a month. The kid is having roommate problems, and so after some mediation, they decided to go separate directions with the roommate moving into a different room in the building. So now this kid lives alone. I should say that they had a busy schedule and friends in other buildings so they weren’t around much, which made this next part of the story very difficult.
It was a Saturday morning in probably February so we weren’t that far into the semester and who shows up but this kid's parents. Ok, cool, coming to visit your kid is nice, right? Wrong. Kid wasn’t answering his door so the parents came and knocked on my door...at 7:30 on a Saturday morning, demanding to know where he was. Not being his babysitter, I didn’t know, but his parents had stuff for him and asked if they could leave it with me because they didn’t want someone to steal it. Being the nice person I am, I agree, thinking, “Oh it’ll probably be a box of stuff,” again, wrong. Five boxes of food, clothing, video games, and books later, the parents have left and told me to tell their kid to call them.
Now I go and knock on this kid's door every hour because I have to leave that afternoon and I’m getting no response. I call my supervisor and explain the situation and we end up calling the campus police to do a wellness check because no one has seemed to have seen this kid in the past 24 hours. We come to find out the kid is in the library (slept there) and is annoyed that we entered his room (again with police present).
Oh no, this is not the last of it. Since I agreed to hold on to stuff for the parents that one time, every time they would come to visit (every two weeks and they lived two hours away) they would bang on my door at an absurd hour to demand to know where their son was. At one point, one of my fellow RAs left the building to find the parents in the lobby asking everyone who came by where I was because I wasn’t answering my door, and how would they know where their son was without me. Truly, the kid suffered from helicopter parents and just didn’t like calling them (go figure!).
This continued for the rest of the semester, and at move out? They forgot and left their kid there until 10 PM when the dorms closed at 6 PM and the poor kid was just sitting on the sidewalk waiting for them.
Mom! Don't worry so much!
I had a pretty embarrassing thing happen with my mom in college. I'm an only child so my mom has always been a bit overprotective and it probably didn't help that she and my dad got divorced the year before, so this separation was hard for her.
Anyway, my friends asked me if I wanted to come with them to the Target that was 30 minutes away. I said sure, but I ended up forgetting my phone in my room. We go to Target and then grab a bite to eat on the way back, so the whole trip took probably like two or three hours.
I get back to my dorm and check my phone and see I have like 30 missed calls and a bunch of voicemails from my mom. I call her back and she tells me that she's at the college waiting in parking lot.
Apparently she was worried that I wasn't answering my phone in the middle of the day and thought something bad had happened, so she drove the hour and half up to make sure everything was okay.
Don't run me over, mom! Jeez!
"Mom backed over her son with an SUV because he bent down to pick up box after shutting lift gate and she didn’t want to get stuck in rush hour traffic so was hurrying to back out of parking. He ended up with a mild concussion and road rash. I felt bad for the guy. He had to go home every weekend to do family religious things like house blessings and other random seeming stuff. He just wanted to do college stuff on the weekend like drink and try and lose his virginity with a white girl."
Mom, it's college. Not the Ritz-Carlton.
Former RA in a British University here. I might add, not a private school, not a prestigious Oxbridge-style university. This will come to bear.
The student halls I worked in had shared kitchens, but, everyone got their own room. Not that much bigger than a coffin, but a room with an en-suite nonetheless. On moving day one year, after most of the parents had left and the smoke had settled, there was one student who looked very troubled, just standing in her doorway with two oversized suitcases. I'd seen her Mum wander off to her shared kitchen. The girl was just staring into the room, seeming more and more frustrated.
"Hi there! I'm an RA for the Uni. How are you getting on?"
"o.....k did you travel far to get here?"
...but now she'd taken to lividly staring at the floor and refusing to speak to me. I couldn't figure it out. Thinking to myself that maybe she was from abroad perhaps, or, maybe had some anxiety issues, I said, "Well, let me know if you need anything, I'm just in the office by reception," and turned around...
...to end up face-to-face with a very livid mother of this girl.
'Well?!' she barked at me.
'Umm...is there an issue?' I enquired.
'Why haven't you taken her bags into her chamber?!' She said chamber.
Fumbling and saying 'Oh,' I thought 'why not?' — I was getting towards the end of my shift and the busiest part of the day had long gone by now. I picked up/dragged these two enormous suitcases into the room, a distance of about five feet.
'Well, obviously you can't expect me to tip you,' barks the mother again, 'and as I'm sure you can expect, I have some questions for you as well.'
'It's not uncommon for there to be some! I'll answer what I can!' I chirped, making sure the plastered visage was as smiley as possible.
'Yes, fine! These beds are awful, will she be able to bring her 4 poster in here?'
'...a 4-poster frame? In a room that's barely six feet across? I mean, there's no rules against it but I doubt you'll be able to fit it in.'
Mummy dearest dismisses this with a wave of her hand.
'That's not an issue for her, it will be for you obviously' (...it will?)
'When do the maids visit?' she enquired.
This is a self-catering hall. Students are expected to clean their own rooms.
Big sigh from this old windbag followed by,
'I should have known. Well, what time are the meals served? I tried asking some of the staff down the corridor here but none of them would give me an answer. Why can't you hire bloody English people?!'
'Well again, its a self-cateri...Wait, who were you asking?'
Turns out whilst I'd been having the 'riveting' conversation with her daughter, this trout of a woman had gone up and down the corridor, banging on doors and just walking into people's rooms, demanding information on various facets of the halls. The biggest issue being that she'd been harassing our Chinese students, some from Hong Kong some from London, about when they were going to cook her little darling's food and that there better not be 'any bloody mice or snakes' in her precious princess' meals.
Yeah, needless to say, this girl didn't last long without Mummy's help. And by that, I mean about six months into her first year, she left university after becoming pregnant. With one of her Chinese-national hall neighbors...
Mom and dad, make sure your kids can fend for themselves.
"Last year, I had to teach an 18-year-old student what a mailbox was and how to use it. His parents were fussing over the distance to college because they felt he might get lost in large dangerous London. Usually, I would roll my eyes, but their 18-year-old had no concept of what a mailbox was, he wanted to know how he would know which letter was for him in the communal box!
I would be concerned about him alone in London too. I wanted to hand him back to them and send him home. After his first inscription, someone had to teach him how to clean. Down to the basics of this is a wash cloth. How does a parent let their kid become so useless at living?"
Now I understand why some kids don't visit, or want to see their parents again for four years until college is over!