Posted on February 16, 2016

What Parents Need to Know About Their College Kids

Student Life

Raising a child is already hard enough, so why do we give our parents so much crap when they’re just trying to help?

Because they just don’t get it.

From day one, parents have been nagging their kids to be mature, independent and get their lives together. Then they act like the world is ending when their babies become adults, move away to college and start their own lives. No matter how many times you tell them, “Its okay, I’m an adult” or “I know what I’m doing, I’m grown,” they will never completely believe us. To them, we are still youngin’s and need their guidance.

We get that our parents have been there. They were young once too. Even still, that was awhile ago. Times have changed and so have we. While they may be seasoned pros at parenting itself, this is what parents will never understand about their college kid:

We need money

Yes, we know college is already expensive as hell, but we also have to be able to live. Getting a job is not as easy as it looks while we are taking 15 hours of class a week and finding time to study, sleep and be social. Even if we do make time to work a part-time job, the pay is not going to be great. Those weekly breakdowns (you know, when you just need a late night Whataburger run but can’t treat yourself because you’re physically, emotionally and financially broke) are just sad.


We’re sure all of you get those texts/calls/conversations with your parents about grades. They can be either completely heart-wrenching or go over smoothly, depending on how you choose to explain to your parents that there’s more to college than staring into a book for hours on end.

“Parents just don’t understand that not everyone has to study all day to get good grades,” says freshman criminal justice major Payton Anderson. “It’s not how long you study, it’s how you study.”

We agree, Payton. We can still have fun and experience college while maintaining good study habits.


All that studying (whether it be crash-course cramming the night before the exam or not) brings us to our grades. Wake up, parents. This isn’t high school. You can’t check our grades online anymore, and you won’t get a report card in the mail either. We are adults, we take full responsibility for the grades we earn. College is tough, some majors tougher than others, but we don’t need you breathing down our necks making sure we go to class and do our homework.

“Parents don’t understand that not everyone is perfect,” says junior Biology major Jonathan Best. “We’re gonna struggle in some classes and flourish in others. It doesn’t help that they put so much pressure on us to get 4.0s every semester either, because that’s not real.”

4.0 every semester? It’s obviously been awhile since you’ve been in college, Mom. Sure, we’d all like to have our names on the President’s List every four months, but that is just plain unrealistic.


Just because we go out and have a fun time every once in a while does not mean that we are screwing up our lives. “You’re in college for an education, not to party every weekend,” says every parent ever. We have to be able to let all of our stress out and relax sometimes.  As long as we have our ~ish~ together during the week and aren’t out partying all weekend and waiting until the last minute Sunday night to do EVERY assignment, we’re good.

And the hardest for parents to understand:


Dating in college is completely different from any other kind of dating, and it’s definitely different than it used to be. We’re in between the awkward stages of wanting someone to have just fun with and trying to find our future spouses. Parent don’t understand that it’s not weird or stupid to have casual hookups every once in a while. We’re out here, surrounded by hundreds of people and see new faces every single day, so what’s so wrong with getting to know a couple people better than the rest? Some relationships may only last a week, some may last longer and some may not even last the night. College is all about experimenting and finding what you truly like in a partner. Maybe one day someone we meet in college will be at the family Thanksgiving, who knows?

As irritating and frustrating as it can be to listen to the constant nagging conversation of Parents vs. College, we know our parents simply have Empty Nest Syndrome—and deep down will always have it . We can’t hold it against them for wanting what’s best for us. We love our moms and dads almost as much as we love a curve on our exams.

But even with all of that said…

They still don’t get it. 

Photo by: Abby Pfaff

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