So, on my first day of college orientation, we met in the common square area to begin the tour. Out of 50 of us, no one had brought a parent along.
Shortly through the tour, one of the other students audibly sighed and grumbled "seriously?" We all kind of turned to look at him, but he continued along as if he were fine.
At our next stop, I noticed him glaring at an older man. As we walked across the campus I noticed the man was following us.
You guys... it was comically bad.
I need you to picture this. We're walking through a crowd full of teenagers, they were buzzing with activity.
A group was literally playing volleyball while some others sunbathed, making the whole thing into a terrible cliche. Like, the volleyball scene from the montage in the movie Top Gun kind of bad.
There, in the middle of the youthful hustle and bustle, was one middle-aged man wearing beige cargo shorts and a button-down shirt. His sunglasses covered an enormous percent of his face and he literally looked away and whistled as we passed.
This kid's dad had totally followed him to orientation, then snuck around behind the tour looking like the incognito mode icon!
The poor kid never said anything, or broke with the group but we didn't get too much further before everyone was staring and snickering. All credit to him, he didn't even flinch, so neither did our tour guide.
There were some looks exhanged, but nothing was said. We all just finished the tour simmering in the awkward.
So when one Reddit user asked:
"College admissions employees of Reddit, what is your most ridiculous story of parents getting involved in their child's application?"
I was so in it to win it. Now that I'm done laughing and reliving this one teenagers cringe-worthy college intro, I'm going to share some more beautiful moments of awful.
"Suck My Fat Degree"
From the other end, my mother tried to call the university I was accepted to to slander me with false tales of drug charges ect to get my offer rescinded. She was pissed because I "didn't ask her permission to go" - despite the fact she'd thrown me out of the house 5 years prior and we hadn't spoken since. The best bit? She called the wrong university.
Student Doesn't Care
Just completing everything for them, the student doesn't care one lick about going to school, but the parents can't wait to get rid of them - which is the opposite of what college is all about. Those parents get one or two semesters of freedom, before the student flunks out and is back with them most likely forever.
Not Talking To You Mom
I've had parents call to ask why their child didn't get accepted into our graduate program. Thankfully in the US there are privacy laws (FERPA) that we can cite to explain why we can't discuss it with parents.
I'm in the registrar's office. The student does all business and enrollment through a portal. Some parents demand the password, get it, and do all the work: pick classes and enroll the student, make advisor appointments, all that.
Among other things, uni teaches you how to handle yourself in a bureaucracy. These students don't even learn that. They're still their parents' child.
I've worked for a major public University for the past 11 years. The range of things you get from parents trying to order transcripts for their students, to parents calling to ask about their (grown adult) grad student child.
The worst is when a parent calls asking about tuition, and the kid isn't actually enrolled. They've just been cashing mom/dad's check.
Used to be part of admissions. Once had a parent call to complain that his daughter was accepted. He was distraught and said he didn't want her there. As the conversation went on, it turned out he DID want her there, but was upset that she was touring campus (that day) with his wife, and they were looking at sororities.
Just A Tech Guy
Had a parent literally work their way down the phonebook trying to get what she wanted. She eventually got to me, the system admin for the admissions system at the time. I just deflected the barrage of insanity with, "I don't have the ability to make any admission decisions, I am just the tech guy." To which she asked if I could just change a thing or two to let her son in. That was pretty bad.
The Professor's Mom
Not admissions, but my husband works for a college. A PROFESSOR's mom called and complained about her little baby not getting tenure.
He wasn't doing his job, was stealing money from the school, and was boinking an undergrad.
Not employee but I can go for my mom!
I applied binding early decision to the best graduate program in the state, an hour from home. Was 22, some classmates much older. Got in on my own with my own materials and etc.
But, when time for the campus tour came, I was between college and grad school, living at home. Working but couldn't afford to live by myself and my parents were actually mostly okay to me. Even lent me one of their cars to drive to work and the gym.
But, apparently I was not to be trusted driving for an hour alone, and my mom was very nosy about my school prospects. So, she just told me she was coming. Huge argument, I said it wouldn't look mature of me. Then she finally said, either I go as well or you don't get to go!
So it was the admissions counselor, five students, and my mom and I. I tried to ask about offerings for LGBT students and she stood on my foot to stop me! She's always told me she's scared for me and wants me to hide my orientation. Thank God she only stuck with me for the physical tour, and I apologized to the guy later about her.
Staying In The Men's Dorm
We have a summer program for incoming freshmen where they can stay the weekend in the dorms and do activities on campus and whatnot to get to know the school before they come up for the fall. One time a mom just assumed she would be staying with her student. In the dorms. In the male dorm. The kicker was they had driven something like 10 hours to get to campus, and she refused to not stay with her son in the dorm despite him already having a roommate assigned and everything. She screamed and cried, even denied us when we said we would help her get a hotel. Eventually she swore at one of the school's VPs and left with her son. I felt awful for the kid. He seemed pretty normal, and I don't think he ended up coming in the fall.
There's always a ton of crazy parents but that one stood out. We had a casual hand signal for crazy helicopter parents when we were talking with coworkers and other staff.
As a writer of magazine articles, I got an assignment to write about "helicopter parents" just as the term was becoming mainstream. I interviewed college admissions people to ask their views and their stories.
My favorite was an admission director who said that while freshmen photos were being taken for incoming students' IDs, one mother pushed others aside to run a comb through her son's hair as he posed for the photo.
Living Their Dream
I had a friend whose parents pulled her out of her dream school so she could live THEIR dream about going to school abroad.
She had a full ride scholarship to a great university where she was swimming competitively. She comes home after her Freshman year only to discover her parents have pulled her out of school and enrolled her in a French university. Just like that.
She was doing Bio, intending on becoming a doctor and later getting into med school. I met her in my physics class.
Her parents had signed her up for the wrong degree. And she wasn't fluent in French, either. And to make matters worse? After a few months there, her parents started complaining about the uni, asking why she wasn't going to a better one!
Her parents so desperately wanted her to have the dream European university experience that they didn't listen to her at all.
She lost her competitive edge for swimming. Her grades dropped because she couldn't understand the assignments. And when she finally returned to the US a year later, she had lost her scholarship (that's what happens when you drop out of a university, mom and dad!) and was forced to pay to go to a completely different university ... starting over as a freshman.
My heart broke for her.
Worked in admissions for a Russell Group university in the UK. Some Stories:
- a mother threatens to find where I live and cut off my legs because I wouldn’t offer her son a place on our medicine course (medicine applications in the UK have a very strict procedure and no you can’t just call in). I nearly cried with how vile she was to me. Anyway, I found their address and sent them an envelope that Just said ‘f*ck you’ on the back. Morally dubious, I know
- after stating I couldn’t offer a guy a place on Economics because we needed AAA and he had BBC, he passed he phone to his mother who said ‘but he was part of the hockey team, and I think you clearly need the applicants so you would be at a loss if you didn’t have him’. No love, we don’t need your kid all that bad
- I tried to delicately explain to a dad that the BTEC qualification (an equivalent to the A-level that isn’t typically accepted for more competitive courses like medicine, law and veterinary) wasn’t accepted for veterinary. The issue is, it’s a more practical, vocational qualification and not very academic so it doesn’t really suit for these courses. I essentially had to say his son wasn’t clever enough (or hadn’t picked the right qualification to do to prove that). He then said I was a stupid woman and put the phone down on me.
- a guy rang me from Ghana and I rejected him for Law. He then said I was cursed for eternity and hoped I would die in childbirth.
- a woman was rejected from a masters course and wanted to know why - because she had applied to so MSc Chemistry and her bachelors was in history and she hadn’t even attached a personal statement. She then said ‘I bet you don’t even understand what it’s like to be at university, working in the sh*tty admin job you do’, to which I explained I had a bachelors from a Russell group myself, and was due to start my masters in September. Go choke to death on a d*ck. ma'am.
I could go on forever. I hated that job.
But Your Child Is The Student?
In the two years I’ve been in contact with a family about their student’s interest/application I have never once spoken to or received an email from their child.
When I said I would love to hear from the student directly, The parent said something along the lines of: “I’m surprised you would want to contact my child because they’re a minor.”
How Admission Works
One year, I spent a summer working in the admissions office of a very selective university in New England. During the middle of the summer, I want to say it was in July, I answered a seemingly normal call from a mother who wanted to know what she needed to do to get her son in to the incoming freshmen class.
Me: "Thank you for calling Selective School Admissions Office, this is Wolfgang, how may I help you?"
Her: (pleasantly enough) "Hi, I'm calling to find out what my son needs to do to be part of this freshmen class"
Me: "I'm sorry ma'am, let me make sure I understand. Your son was admitted, and you want to know what he needs to do next to accept his offer? That deadline was in May."
Her: "No, no, no, he hasn't applied yet, but I want him to go here this fall"
Me: "Well, applications were due January 1, and admissions decisions were sent out in the spring. He can apply this fall to be a part of next year's incoming class"
Her: (furious) "WHAT DO YOU MEAN NEXT YEAR? HE JUST GRADUATED AND HE NEEDS TO GO TO YOUR SCHOOL NEXT YEAR. WHAT IS HE GOING TO DO NEXT YEAR IF HE DOESN'T GO TO YOUR SCHOOL?"
Me: "Perhaps he can consider taking a gap year or taking classes at his local college. That may strengthen his application for when he eventually does apply."
Her: "This is ridiculous, I cant believe this. How much is this going to cost me? Are there extra fees I can pay for a late application? Who do I need to speak to?"
Me: "I'm sorry ma'am, but that is how the admissions process works. It takes time to read through all of the applications we receive, so we have deadlines to make the admissions process fair for everyone. Our incoming class has already been finalized, and any spots that do open will be going to students on our waitlist. As of now, we do not anticipate any spots opening up as we are slightly over enrolled."
She hung up after that. Needless to say that kid didn't get in...at least not from that phone call.
It may be possible to bribe your way in to a good school, but there's a proper way to do it, and that isn't by asking a college student to let your kid in over the phone.
One year I was working the orientation speech from the president of the university to the parents of incoming freshmen and he told this story.
He mentioned that one time, a mother of a kid called him, the president of the university to complain that her son's classes were too hard and he needed more sleep.
So he asked the mom "so, what do you want your son to do some day?"
And she answered "finance and business" (not surprising, the school I attended had a well known business school).
The president then said "Ma'am, imagine one day your son works for [big famous investment firm] and he's tired and working very hard at his job. If you called the president of [big firm] and told them your son was working too hard and needed more sleep, do you know what would happen? Your son would likely be fired the next day"
This was clearly his message to parents of "Jesus Christ, do NOT call the president of the university to complain about your kid's classes".
Thanks, But No Thanks, Dad
When I got accepted to a university out of the city and got denied to the one in city my dad tried to call the university in city and sue them unless they gave me an admission offer.
Helping your kids is a natural reaction for parents and fully expected.
But knowing how far is too far is important.
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The key to any successful relationship is communication.
The ability to be open and receptive to what a significant other has to say, as well as the ability to be able to convey something weighing on one's mind, can be healing.
But depending on the circumstance, some things are better left unsaid.
Curious to hear examples of what those might be, Redditor FamiliarFarmer8356 asked:
"What's something you wish you could tell your partner without upsetting them?"
If there is conflict, there is a way to discuss and address the issue in a civil and respectful manner.
Things Just Happen
"Every bad thing that happens doesn't require someone to be blamed for it. And that someone doesn't always have to be me."
A Cornerstone Of A Successful Union
"One of the cornerstones of a good marriage, is knowing how to argue. I’d actually say that before a couple get married, they should check how their potential partner behaves in an argument. What are they like when they get angry. It’s important because no two individuals are going to agree all the time. And on those occasions, it’s important to remember not to belittle the other. Deal with the issue at hand. And especially, don’t argue in front of the kids. You have no idea how much lasting damage this causes."
"All married couples should learn the art of battle as they should learn the art of making love. Good battle is objective and honest - never vicious or cruel. Good battle is healthy and constructive, and brings to a marriage the principles of equal partnership."
It's Not That Deep
"please stop complaining about everything."
"If you keep seeking out reasons to be miserable, you will find them."
"I'm tired of being dragged down with you."
There's no need to get defensive when there's something to discuss.
It's Not About You
"That some days I’m just tired from class and work and just want some me time, it’s not that I hate you my social battery is just running out."
"Her first reaction to something adverse doesn't have to be anger."
In The Words Of A Pirate
"In the wise words of captain Jack Sparrow sometimes:"
'the problem is not the problem, the problem is your attitude toward the problem.'
It Takes Two To Tango
"That I wish she’d be more independent so she didn’t need my help for everything outside the house."
"That it’s a little disturbing how aggressively he drives when he’s grumpy… heavy on both gas and brakes, zooming in and out of traffic, swearing at people who make mistakes… very unlike him."
Sometimes the truth hurts when talking about members of the family.
A Real Assessment
"That her mother is not a good person."
"I told my husband that it's not that his family is nosy and overbearing, it's that I hate watching him cave and negotiate as if they have a right to behave like this, and I really hate when I'm the bad guy for wanting reasonable limits."
"It got worse, then it got better, FYI."
"His parents are greedy, selfish people and treat him like an atm."
There's definitely a fine line between withholding your thoughts to protect the person you love and being brutally honest.
If coming clean isn't going to resolve an issue, then it might be better to suck it up and deal with whatever frustrations you have about the other person.
It's up to you, but make sure the delivery doesn't come from a place of rage if you do decided to be totally transparent about your negative thoughts.
Every family has a black sheep or every family in its entirety are black sheep.
What is a "black sheep" anyway?
It used to mean a person who brought shame or embarrassment to a family, but it's more often used now to mean the member who is just very different from everyone else—sometimes in a good way.
Redditor Frozen_yoghurt123 asked:
"Who is the 'black sheep' of your family?"
I'm the black sheep or at least I'd like to think so.
"Probably my dad's cousin, who went to prison for murdering his lover's husband."
DW_555Oh My Wow GIFGiphy
"My Dad. He is the only one of 6 siblings who wasn't a huge f**k up. And yet, before my Grandma died she stated that he was her 'biggest disappointment.' He is estranged from his surviving siblings... not by his choice. It honestly blows my mind."
"Toxicity is often a group mindset thing; people don't want you to leave because they are dysfunctionally co-dependent on each other and need each other to justify their own shortcomings in life. A lot of the 'family loyalty' stuff is typically shouted loudest by those who are the least good idea to stay loyal towards."
"My great uncle who stole my great grandfathers identity, stole a couple million dollars, and ran off. No one even knew he was alive until my great grandfathers funeral in 2009. No one has seen him since. My grandma started to cry because she honestly thought he was dead."
"Everyone else just kind of nodded on his direction and went on with the rest of the funeral. I just remember being very confused because I was 9 and I had never met this guy who my dad pulled me aside and told me he was my great uncle. It was a few years later that I got the full story."
"According to my mean aunt, the 'matriarch' in her own mind, it's my twin brother because "he doesn't care about family now that he's a doctor." (He's a resident. Chief resident. He works ridiculous hours and spends the rest of the time recovering from work.)"
"According to my ex-MIL (who still counts because she's Son's grandma), it's me, for divorcing her son."
"According to everyone else, it's Mean Aunt. The rest of us are warm and caring and compassionate. We have our moments; all of us have been accidentally thoughtless or done something selfish once in a while, but we're not deliberately mean and snarky all the time."
"My immediate family are the black sheep of the entire family."
DarthDreganJohn Stamos Cheers GIF by GrandfatheredGiphy
Sounds like everyone has a little black sheep in them.
"By now, my brother for cutting off everyone because he prefers his rude, selfish, paranoid, narcissist wife over all of us."
"My wife is the black sheep of her family in the sense that she's the only one who isn't a rude, selfish, paranoid narcissist."
Lvcivs2311Joe Dirt Brother GIFGiphy
"Me. My granddaddy told me 'I’ve only had the sheriff knock on my door two times in my 80 years, and both times he was looking for you! 'I did some dumb sh*t, caused a little trouble, burned a few bridges but always managed to stay out of jail. Partly because my sister has kept an attorney on retainer for me since I was 16."
"My younger brother (2nd of 4) is a compulsive liar and it got him in a lot of little trouble as a teen, then he told his wife he graduated a big college when we're not even sure if he got his GED because he failed to graduate HS, went to some GED school and eventually just stopped going."
"IF he graduated college, he never mentioned he was going in the 4+ years it takes nor mention graduation or have a diploma. He's not a bad dude, but now family time is super awkward when he and his wife are talking about 'their' college team."
The NOT good girl...
"My aunt's daughter. She’s been in jail for drugs, stolen money from my aunt and other family members to use on drugs and physically abused my aunt. My aunt has tried getting her help, but nothing has worked. She’s just not a good person, and everyone in my family, except my aunt, doesn’t want anything to do with her. I haven’t seen her in 8 years now, and I’m happy about that."
"A former nun - my great aunt - left the religious life and got married. She called herself 'the black sheep of the family' because her habit was black."
Back2BachExcited Julie Andrews GIF by The Rodgers & Hammerstein OrganizationGiphy
Well the black sheep sound like the most interesting family members.
Sex is great, but there are more ways than one to accomplish that euphoric feeling without sex.
There are so many small, ordinary aspects of life that can just send a person and we come across them daily.
A good steak.
A home repair.
The things that make you say...
"I tingle all over."
Redditor OldAboba asked:
"What is the best non-sexual physical feeling you’ve ever felt?"
Adele. Adele live. She sends me.
FloatingRelaxed Exit Strategy GIF by Hannah Bronfman Giphy
"I got a professional full body (everything but my man parts) massage a few years back for the first and so far only time at a spa after the recommendation from a coworker. I felt like I was floating on a cloud for the next few days."
Through your nose...
"Sneezing when you're sick. Then you get that about 20 second feeling of breathing through your nose again and you like ahh that's what I aspire to at the moment."
"Or the very last sneeze of your illness. During a fire drill in high school, I was ambling out after fighting a head old for a few days. The alarm was killing my head which was already throbbing from the sinus pressure."
"I was nearing the field, well away from my classmates, when I cough/sneezed out a huge, green loogie - cleared it about three feet, no icky trail - and by the time I was walking back to the building I was feeling pretty much back to normal. No more head cold after that. Never had something like that ever happen again where there was such an abrupt end to the head cold."
"Right after a migraine goes away. It's almost a spiritual experience."
"This was going to be my answer. I was in the ER one time for a really bad migraine. They gave me what they called a 'migraine cocktail.' When they pushed it through the IV I could feel the cold liquid make its way through my body, up to my head. Once it hit my brain, the migraine was gone. It was pure ecstasy. Even better was that cocktail had Benadryl in it so I fell asleep not long after and slept so good."
"That stretch til you shake when you wake up."
"I once stretched too hard in the morning and got the worst calf cramp ever... it looked like a prune and I thought I would die from the pain. Couldn't stretch in bed for months afterwards out of fear it would happen again."
"When you move over 50, it turns into that stretch til you put your back into a muscle spasm that lasts days."
The ItchScratching Feel Good GIF by 60 Second DocsGiphy
"I had a cast and splint on both my legs for 2 months. When they cut it off, they scratched my legs for me and the itch was just top notch! Yeah."
Itching an itch can change a life.
YUM!Emma Stone High Quality GIFGiphy
"When you're starving all day and devour a bomb a** meal."
Sleep for Life
"When you’ve been up for 20 hours+ and finally get into bed and you just know it’ll be the best sleep of your life."
"But man, after 36+ hours, the body sort of aches and it's hard to fall asleep despite being completely exhausted. Then the restless legs kick in... ugh. I do agree that a 20hr-ish stint is amazing to cuddle into, especially if you don't have to get up at any specific time the next day."
"Makes it better when you’ve been sleep deprived for weeks and know you have NO PLANS tomorrow and can sleep as much as you need."
"When you're absolutely busting for a pee and you can finally go!"
"Apparently there’s a thing called a 'pee-gasm' that people (usually women) have that causes an orgasmic feeling when you pee after holding it for a while! I’ve definitely experienced this and I’ve intentionally waited a while so I could have that good feeling... lol."
I Can Hear!!
"The feeling of water leaving your ear after being there all day."
"I had some impacted earwax for a week in one ear, and when it finally got removed it was the best feeling in the world. Initially it was like having a tv or radio in my ear that only had static, but then I could hear. Good god, I could hear. It was amazing."
"Oh man, and it’s WARM from being in your head, and the warmth makes the sensation of leaving even better."
A Good Restdog puppy GIFGiphy
"Sleeping in a warm blanket in winters."
"Or sleeping in a cold blanket in summer."
I am enthralled by all of those things.
People need to stop throwing out unwanted advice.
And when it is requested, think before you speak.
People with mental disorders don't need everyone telling them they have a fix like "exercise" or "herbal supplements."
Redditor Gold-Ad-2827 asked:
"People with mental disorders: What do you hate being told the most?"
I hated being told to just smile. You smile and go away.
Duhseth meyers GIF by Late Night with Seth MeyersGiphy
"It's all in your head. Where else would it?! My colon?"
"Everybody goes through that."
"This saying makes my blood boil. Or the 'I was that age once too ya know' yeah no sh*t you were that age once. And just because you were that age once doesn’t mean we have the same experience."
"They try to minimize it."
"You're worried? Just stop."
"You're sad? Just don't be."
"You're compulsively binge eating? Eat less."
"Thanks for that stellar advice."
"Or even better, 'Just do it!' As if ADHD paralysis can be stopped with a can-do attitude."
"I get so frustrated when people treat the idea of 'holistic medicine' as some kind of woo. How does it escape so many people that the body works holistically? Even a lot of doctors seem to ignore this. It's very frustrating when you have 2 or 3 or 4 illnesses that are all affecting each other, and your 'physical health' is held distinct from your mental health, and nothing anyone is doing to treat you works because no one's looking at the whole system."
"I just got a lecture from a psychiatrist I am seeing about nutrition, and he apologized to me for doing so but I told him, 'No, I appreciate it. Do it for all your patients.' because it told me he's trying to look at the whole picture and actually fix what's wrong. It gave me faith in him."
RelaxCalm Down Golden Girls GIF by TV LandGiphy
"You need to calm down."
"Never is the history of calm down has calm down ever caused anyone to calm down."
Calm down. I hate that one. You calm down.
TipsSeason 23 Reaction GIF by Law & OrderGiphy
"When they try to give me tips on what to do, like bruh as if I didn't already try that."
"You don't look sad. No crap... that's so I can avoid having this conversation. Also depression isn't 'being sad' like people think."
"God, I hate this. It's because saying 'I'm depressed' has been standard for people expressing that they're slightly unhappy about something dumb like not getting enough croutons on their salad or some crap. Now that's just what everyone assumes you mean when you say you have depression."
"'Stop being lazy.'"
“'Lazy' is when you don’t want to do anything at all. 'Executive disfunction' is when you can do everything at all, but that one easy quick thing that you do want to do just makes you and your brain freeze completely days ahead. I’m tired of people not understand that even when I explain and look at me like I’m bullshitting instead."
Ways to Cope
"Maybe you should try praying harder. I did, He prescribed medication."
"Praying is a way to cope for a lot of people, I think. That's totally fine, but insisting on praying in lieu of getting real help or actually addressing the issue is when it is not only unhelpful, but dangerously detrimental."
"Religious people will bypass everyone’s cultures, identity, views, and feelings just to be right and make a point. it’s disgusting. I read somewhere that real so called Christianity is all wrong. The real faith is from the Aramaic history and all the meanings were misinterpreted and the stories and all were made up by Catholics wanting to control their people. Yuck."
'contamination'Disgusted Season 6 GIF by Brooklyn Nine-NineGiphy
"As someone with OCD with a lot of attention to 'contamination', having someone try to explain contradictions in why I'm doing something that is technically unclean when I wouldn't do something that is technically clean due to OCD. There are a few doorknobs that I will not touch no matter how much you clean them in front of me and I know it makes no sense, if it made sense I wouldn't have OCD i'd just be cleanly."
Stop trying to be an armchair therapist. Be empathetic to people first.