How not to entertain your little sibling(s) during Family Weekend

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Full disclosure: if you can’t tell by our bylines, we’re sisters. We’re 20 months (but two grades) apart, which means that when Charlotte—now a sophomore—was a junior in high school, Meredith—now a senior—was a freshman at Brown. We hash out the dos and don’ts of entertaining your little sib during Family Weekend through the lens of our own Family Weekend experience. Take our word for it; we’ve been there, and we’ve certainly done that. 


Meredith: I was thrilled that my younger sister Charlotte was coming to visit me during Family Weekend of my freshman year. I obviously was excited to see my parents after the most formative (not really) one-and-a-half months of my life, but I was glad my little sister was coming up to Providence, too. For one, she would push my mother—whose boundless energy is often compared to that of Bob the Builder—and my father—who wants nothing more in life than to plant himself in a used bookstore for hours on end—to meet somewhere in the middle. (I naturally hoped this “somewhere” involved good food and shopping.) Secondly, I was well aware that Charlotte, already in the trying and arduous college-search process, would be considering Brown as a potential option for herself.

TL;DR: I wanted to get her drunk. Continue Reading

How Not to be a Freshman: The one with Family Weekend

As a girl who considers herself to be close with her family, I was actually very excited for this past weekend.  I had cleaned my room, looked up some good restaurants, and even called my parents to tell them how excited I was for their impending arrival. I was probably over-prepared for Family Weekend, but I soon realized I was extremely underprepared for my actual family.

The weekend started off well enough and was marked by an exchange of hugs, questions, and a plethora of winter clothes. Then, to my surprise, my mother revealed the Saturday she had planned: a trip to Newport that included a historic tour and play. The a capella concert I thought we could see was going to have to wait. My family piled into our Honda and soon began the journey to Newport. I knew the weekend was heading in a bad direction when my brother began to lecture us on the benefits of wrestling and my dad lost three parking spots to the more aggressive Rhode Island drivers. Tensions were running high and my mom’s overzealous attempts at keeping us all on schedule weren’t helping.

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Check out the Hope Street farmers market!

Quick! Today may be your last chance of the semester to check out the outdoor Hope Street farmer’s market — a huge collection of local meat, seafood, produce and various other vendors such as Seven Stars Bakery. The market runs every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the grassy area between Rochambeau and Blackstone Boulevard, until it moves to its indoor location in Pawtucket for the cold winter months.

With or without parents here this weekend, the Hope Street market is a great place to visit and is easily accessible via the 42 RIPTA bus. It’s more than a larger version of the Wriston farmer’s market Wednesdays — the market is filled with Providence locals, cute children, and animals that remind us that people outside of the age of 18-23 exist (a phenomenon known as the “College Hill Bubble”).

In case you aren’t convinced that this market is our jam, we have a few thousand words to share…

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Ben Affleck in Argo

Now playing in Providence: Argo, Robot & Frank, and more

There’s a certain sweet spot as far as Hollywood’s historical films are concerned: that elusive topic that is simultaneously thrilling and relatively unknown. The unknown factor breeds curious hype, the thrills big box office returns. Argo, the most recent offer from actor-turned-startlingly-competent-director Ben Affleck, hits this spot perfectly by detailing a lesser-known chapter of the Iran hostage crisis.

Based on the true story of a CIA extraction operation popularly known as the “Canadian Caper,” Argo follows the efforts of CIA operative Tony Mendez (Affleck) in his attempt to rescue a group of American diplomats who successfully escaped the U.S consulate in Iran immediately before it was overrun by a mob of nationalist Iranian students. The students imprisoned the consulate staff in a Khomeini-sanctioned hostage situation that went on to last for over a year. Cooperating with the Canadian government and its ambassador to Iran (at whose house the six escaped staff members were hiding), the CIA devised an elaborate plan to send in an agent posing as a producer scouting locations for a Star Wars-themed science fiction knockoff with “a Middle Eastern vibe,” titled Argo.

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Parent Protection Plan

Scarier than Halloweekend.

Today, a cloud will descend upon Brown. Blonde uber-skinny moms and Neurotic Jews will populate our campus for a full weekend, after seven weeks parent-free. It’s Family Weekend 2012, Brunonians. For some of us overly-attached freaks students, this will be a time of free meals, clothes, movies, and ultimately joy.

And for the rest of us, this weekend will produce more anxiety than all of our midterms put together.

Family Weekend is placed right in the middle of midterms. As if we didn’t have to deal with our Orgo grades biting us in the ass, we also have to cope with Hurricane Parent spinning into town, asking endless anxiety-inducing questions about our lives and futures, nit-picking through our room, and ultimately making us feel like crap.

I tried to get them to stay away. “Well, you know, Mum, Dad,” I hedged on a nervous voicemail message. “I’d love to see you, but you know, I am a busy girl… two midterms the next week and a paper…”

The next day, I received a phone call. “Sweetie, we completely understand,” my mother said. “But we’re really coming to see Rhode Island, not you!”

Nice try Mom. The most interesting things in Rhode Island are me and that guy yelling about God on Thayer Street. And since you don’t know about him, I know why you’re here. To torture me.

But never fear, Blog Readers. I’ve come up with some clever methods of subverting my parents’ attempts to connect with me. It’s called Parental Protection, and remember to use it this weekend. Because with parents, honesty is never the best policy.

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The (Anti-)FrugaList: Family Weekend Edition

You work hard. You deserve the best. It’s the little things on the margin that make you (look, smell, and) feel like a million bucks, but on a student’s budget, it’s hard to treat yo’self on the reg. This weekend, let your parents pick up the tab on your typical expenses, but blow them up in bigger and better ways.

Alcohol. You have to make your obligatory weekly trip to your neighborhood liquor store anyway, so you might as well run the errand with your fam. Tell them how tired you are of drinking Karkov, and maybe they’ll get the hint. Over 21? Go to Spats and get a hundred-ounce beer with your folks. Bonding and booze!

Brown swag. You’re proud to go to Brown, and you want to show it. Sure, you already have four other Brown sweatshirts; one more can’t hurt, right? 

Groceries. Have (rental) car, will travel. Hop on down to Wayland Square and hit up Eastside Marketplace or Whole Foods to stock your fridge with some fresh nomz. Consider this a parent-subsidized break from the Ratty. Bonus: your parents yelling at you to put the Cheez-Its back will make you feel like you’re at home again. Mmmm, tastes like childhood.

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