Radiating Sunshine: The Other Types of First-Year-Student Parents

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

The Other Types of First-Year-Student Parents

Last week I wrote a post about helicopter parents. If you haven't read it yet, I encourage you all to check it out. I'm rarely funny on this little blog of mine, so when it happens it is definitely a post to remember (and share). Anyways, while working as an intern with Orientation, I interact with a lot of parents. I thoroughly enjoy this opportunity because (1) I gain essential work experience and get to answer lots of questions (2) I learn about different generations and (3) I get to learn by example of what type of parent I do NOT want to be!

So, today I'm writing about the five other types of parents you encounter while working at New Student Orientation: 

The 'This is My 4th Child Going Through College' Parent 

These parents are literally the best parents for several reasons. To start they aren't overwhelmed with the whole Orientation thing. They will gladly tell you when you greet them that "they have done this before." Most of them would like to play hooky from sessions, but overall they are really relaxed and you can have wonderful conversations with them! 

The 'I'm Just Here for the Food' Parent

I can't decide if these are the best or the worst type of parents! The vast majority of them hang out in the parent lounge and sleep, so I don't get to interact with them much. They are the parents who ask me for phone chargers, which I don't have (but a charging station next year is a phenomenal idea). These are also the parents who stalk the refreshment table waiting for new refreshments to be delivered. Overall, these parents don't ask many question and they are very laid back. It is also nice to see them get hyped over the variety of muffins we have to offer. 

The 'No Schedule Applies to Me' Parent

Woohoo! These parents are by far my ultimate fave, NOT. They are very similar to the "snow plow" parents and are super friendly! I try to understand where they are coming from and put myself in their shoes. But, going up to them asking if they are "lost or need something" is something I dread doing. They usually respond to me with "no, I know where I'm going" and in my head I say "well according to the schedule you're going in the opposite direction." These are also the type of parents who try to break into class scheduling rooms that are marked "NO PARENTS ALLOWED." It wouldn't be Orientation without them so for that I'm grateful!

The 'Give Me The Director' Parent 

Yikes! These are the parents who no matter what I say, I can never seem to satisfy them. Sometimes even if I give them the exact answer they would like to hear, they still find issues with what I am saying and policies in place! As a Grad Intern, I usually work with these parents after the OLs try to smooth any issues out. So, I always approach any interaction with them at sensitively as possible. I often take the mindset of "their issues are my issues!" 

The 'Alumni' Parent

These parents know way more about the institution than our staff members do, so remember that when interacting with them! They are definitely really engaged and love the school (which, is why they encouraged their student to attend their alma mater). Alumni parents are usually really enthusiastic and pumped about being here for Orientation. They are also the most willing to pose for pictures with the mascot and brighten people's day. 


  1. Lol, love it. Freshmen orientations are taking place right now at our school too. Thankfully, I don't deal with any parents, but I remember those parents from my orientation. I like to think I'm going to be more of the cool relaxed, "this is my fourth child" kind of parent. At least that's how I am with my younger sister who is getting ready to leave for college this fall.

    1. I know! When parents ask me questions sometimes I hold back laughter because some of their questions are ridiculous!! Thanks for the comment :)


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