The weekend of Oct. 6-8 marked the annual Family Weekend for Wittenberg students and their families. This fantastic tradition allows for families to come see Wittenberg’s beautiful campus and participate in many great activities. Also, families are able to see Wittenberg athletic events that occur over the weekend, like field hockey, as well as men’s and women’s soccer.
However, this years’s placement of Family Weekend was not ideal. Family Weekend was a week before fall break.
Every year, many college students experience home sickness. Students yearn for their homes and their friends, but most of all, many desire to see their families. The first semester in particular is rough because students have spent the summer with their families and are used to seeing them every day.
If Family Weekend was placed in the middle of September, then this issue could be taken care of. Instead, Family Weekend was right before Fall Break, meaning students have to struggle through homesickness with just their friends.
Also, the first week after seeing your family is not the hardest. The hardest time for homesickness comes many weeks after you have not seen them. Some students will see their families two weekends in a row after not seeing them for almost two months. This does not sound like a problem, but in reality those two months can be extremely difficult when there is no in-person communication.
Another issue with having Family Weekend so close to Fall Break is that, for families who live further away, it is hard to justify coming to campus two weekends in a row. For me, the drive to campus is about two and a half hours. Although my parents and I would claim this as an easy drive, no one wants to make it two weekends in a row. If my parents would come down for Family Weekend, it would mean that they are spending a total of 10 hours on the road for the two trips down here. If Family Weekend was earlier in the semester, parents could more easily justify driving to campus.
The biggest issue of having Family Weekend this past weekend was that it falls on the weekend before midterms. Midterms are a stressful time for any student, but by having Family Weekend the weekend before, it takes away precious time for the students to prepare. Academic intensity is part of college life. Not only can it cause students not to go home during the semester as it is hard to study at home, but it also means students struggle to find time to get homework done if their parents visit. By having Family Weekend right before midterms, it adds stress to students’ lives.
If Wittenberg would place Family Weekend earlier in the semester, it could help both students and parents who struggle with separation. It also might increase the attendance of the weekend.
Hopefully next year, Family Weekend falls on a more effective weekend.