Parents. We love them.


Students are pretty good people. We’re reasonable, caring and easy to get along with. Why is it then, that when it comes to interacting with mom and dad, we often get unreasonable, selfish and tense? Why do our relationships with these people we care about so much sometimes seem so awkward during our college years?

Well, we know one thing for sure: we aren’t the problem, so they must be doing something wrong. Let’s go over some possibilities.

First problem, our parents worked for the Spanish Inquisition. They like to ask questions. And when they do, there’s no good cop, just two bad ones. Their persistence is unparalleled.

When they really want to know something, conversations resemble dogfights from Top Gun. They’re Maverick, we’re the Ruskies, they’re locked on and we haven’t a prayer.

“How’s your paper coming?” Target sighted.

“Great. Nothing to worry about.” Banking left.

“Did you get find all the sources you need?” Still on our tail.

“I’m in the process of looking for them. Where do you want to go to dinner tonight?” Countermeasure deployed.

“How many do you have now? You said you needed 13. Do you have to change projects if you don’t get them?” Countermeasure failed.

“I have five, but I’m going to the library tomorrow. Remember when I was four, when I wet my pants? That was funny, huh?” Evasive action – looping backwards.

“Five? Spending too much time at that Championships place I bet. You won’t even graduate will you?” Still locked on. Closing rapidly.

“I . uh . argh . I’ll be . I mean I am, fine . know I got work . now . hard.” Boom. [Confirmed kill.]

But ruthless interrogations aren’t the only issue. If they were, we could manage. But there’s more. One thing I’ve noticed: parents are slow. They walk, talk and listen slowly. Even parents who aren’t really that old – it’s a child-rearing thing that I don’t understand and I don’t ever want to. I’ve seen many parents touring Georgetown with their kids. Twenty-five years from now, if I see one of my classmates take 20 minutes and two conversations about campus architecture to cross Healy Lawn, I’ll cry.

Another thing: parents worry about things that we’re not even aware of – they’re like living, breathing Palm Pilots constantly reminding us of things to do – setting off anxiety alarms that interrupt our already stressed college existence.

“Bill, did you ask professors for recommendations six months in advance?”

“Jane, what is your exact checking balance?”

“Joe, did you double check again with the Dean’s Office to make sure your online records are correct and that you are indeed graduating?”

At every conversation’s end, we have to-do lists five pages long.

Last, our parents are still, well, uninteresting sometimes. They tell stories that are are of no relevance to us: Senior Parents’ Weekend I saw one group of girls get up from their parents’ table approximately 15 times during dinner – I wonder why.

It really doesn’t make any sense: we love our parents and like them as people. If you were to ask us if we enjoyed their company, we’d say yes, because we often do.

We could be mature and realize that our parents probably bother us because they remind us how much growing up we have left to do. We could recognize that our parents probably look at us sometimes like we do at kids in junior high: awkward and immature with inflated self-images. We could be really honest and admit that they’re probably right a lot of the time. We could see them as the sources of incredible wisdom and love that they have been, are and will be.

But since we’re in college, I’d rather think that we are quick, fun, carefree and young; while they are slow, boring, anxious and old. Sorry parents.

Quietly Making Noise appears every other Friday in The Hoya. The author can be reached at

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