It was so great to see him looking healthy and happy and right at home in his
He showed us the science and technology buildings where he is spending a lot of his time.
We got the whole college experience, including the Elephant Stomp pep rally on the steps of the library...
...and the football game with 100,000 of our closest friends.
A few tips if you are going to Parents Weekend (this was our first one, but I think these would apply anywhere):
- Check your student's schedule before booking. We pulled the Bear and Gracie out of school early in our rush to get to Tuscaloosa. I knew Deuce had an afternoon class, and he warned me that he had some lab time due in the evening, but everything ended up taking longer than we thought. We didn't even get to see him Friday. In hindsight, we all probably would have been happier, more rested, and less stressed if we had just driven over on Saturday morning and skipped Friday's festivities.
- Check everyone else's calendar. We ended up buying a ticket that went unused because we didn't look at a calendar for one person. It wasn't a big deal, but would have save some money and allowed someone else to buy that ticket.
- Think about your guest list. We brought EVERYONE - siblings, grandparents...my brother even considered flying in. (That's what happens with the first grandchild!) In retrospect, the advice I gave my brother was advice I'd give everyone. It might just be more fun to visit on a different weekend when the crowds will be slightly less and the days will be less scheduled. If you don't care about the game, consider visiting on a non-football weekend and enjoy a couple of days with your college student's undivided attention. The Pit Boss and I agree that we could have gone ourselves for this "event" and brought the rest of the crew at a less hectic time.
- Prepare for a LOT of walking - and standing. We had warned everyone ahead of time, but not everyone believed us when we said there was going to be miles and miles of walking. It's just too crowded for anything else. Gracie used an app on her phone that said we went over 4 miles on Saturday...and she didn't even turn it on until after she had complained about how far it was!
- Prepare for any kind of weather. It was warm and humid on Friday, and then started raining. Saturday cleared up and turned into a gorgeous night, but was much cooler. Sunday I almost needed a jacket.
- Read the instructions. The university sent a LOT of information, and it all turned out to be very important. Where to park, schedules, maps, and how to get the shuttle back to your car - none of this is information you want to be searching for on your phone in the dark. Yes, there will probably be signs and people directing traffic, but be prepared for that one time when there aren't.
- Pack your patience. It is going to be crowded, there are going to be lines, and everything is going to take longer than you think. You will have a lot more fun if you set realistic expectations than if you are disappointed and/or frustrated the whole time. Everyone around you will have more fun, too.
- Make a list. Ask everyone in the family if there is something they specifically want to see or do - including your student. Deuce really wanted to show us the quad (above) where he spends so much of his day. Luckily we got to squeeze that in on Sunday, because on Saturday we were just too walked out to backtrack over there.
- Take pictures. I wish I had taken more, especially a few of the five of us. Even if they were just cell phone pics, that would be better than the three I have.
- Enjoy your visit! In some ways, this trip was better than Deuce coming home. I loved seeing the places he's been telling us about, and it eased my anxious heart to see him so at home in his surroundings. As my father-in-law said as we boarded the shuttle to the parking lot and Deuce loped off to his dorm, "He looks like a grown man now."