As everyone embarks on the spiritual journey that is college, be sure to heckle your parents for a few things before they get out of your hair. Here is a list from two experienced Collegiate Times seniors on the best items to swindle out of your parents while they’re still in Blacksburg.
Every college student will deny this if asked, but we all know we spend the week leading up to our parents’ arrival making mental grocery lists of every overpriced item we’ve forlornly walked past at the Gucci Kroger. The fancy Starbucks brand creamer? Check. Wine that doesn’t come out of a box? Check. Every snack that has sounded even slightly tempting during a pre-midterm all-nighter? Check! Go crazy, because once the parents are gone, it’s back to store-brand for all of us. And if they ask how two carts full of stuff are possibly a week’s worth of groceries for you, just tell them a well-nourished brain guarantees a 4.0.
Overpriced school supplies
Though the reign of the Lilly Pulitzer planner is long past, we still manage to convince ourselves every year that we will become the next icon of “Studyblr” and commence a desperate search for pastel highlighters, rainbow Post-it notes and, of course, the perfect gel pen. Rather than spend your meager college student income on these supplies, why not drag your parents to the University Bookstore and practice your persuasive essay skills by convincing them you need every item on the first floor? Sure, it’ll ultimately just gather dust in the deep, dark crevices of your backpack, but it’s nice to pretend, if only for the aesthetic.
If you want to make it to class on time and prove to your parents that college is where you’re meant to be, you have to be willing to become a Tour de France champion. Parking passes are way too expensive and rarely useful. It’s much more cost effective to buy the bike than the pass, since the likelihood of finding a Commuter/Graduate pass is close to nonexistent these days. If you take on cycling, you will have thighs of steel by the end of the semester, and everyone will be jealous of your cardiovascular prowess. Manifest low lactic acid output and high lung capacity for your years at college.
Tent or ENO
You don’t have to pay rent if you live in a tent and can run fast enough from the police. The Drillfield is very spacious and can accommodate several squatters. An ENO is also a good investment if you would rather hammock on the Drillfield as opposed to residing there. There’s no doubt that you and your family saw countless caterpillar-looking pods of students hanging around when you toured campus. Just remind them of how cool and relaxed they looked and convince them you need one. There are also many hiking trails around Blacksburg where you will want to camp in your tent or ENO; the sunrises are easier to catch if you’re already in the woods.
These are the water bottles that double as weapons, and every freshman girl declares she simply must have one the moment her parents return to campus. “But all of my friends have one!” she’ll protest. “I’m not going to get into a sorority if I don’t have a Hydro Flask!” Neither of these claims are true, but her parents will cave and buy one, anyway, and she will quickly learn a harsh lesson in properly cleaning water bottles by the end of the first semester. And a new Hydro Flask is required at the start of every year, of course, as they inevitably smell and taste like mold after several months of neglect.
Your parents are no longer around every day to tell you that you smell. Even though college can become busy, there is no reason why hygiene should make its way out of your daily routine. No one will want to share notes with you if they cannot escape your signature aroma in a lecture hall. Even though the ceilings of Burruss can be pretty tall, your scent will still permeate the room. Through persuasion, you can probably get your parents to purchase the most expensive brand of soap in CVS, even though it only works as well as the cheapest option.
Will owning one of these actually prevent you from developing a nasty addiction to Starbucks’ pumpkin cold brew? To your parents, it’ll prevent you from spending $6 on a grande brew every morning. In reality, your coffee maker will look gorgeous gathering dust in your kitchen, and there won't be many dents in your overpriced box of K-Cups from Costco.
Let’s be honest –– if you haven’t already, you will succumb to that inexplicable pull to join the mile-long 1 a.m. Cook Out drive-thru line. It’s better to use cash so your parents can’t ask why you’re buying chicken nugget trays three times a week!
Fancy wine/craft beer (for those of you 21 and up)
It is a rule of college existence that every father must take one look at the alcohol we keep in stock and gag on sight. “How could you buy this?” they exclaim. “This is rotgut!” they proclaim. Their sighs reek of disappointment and possible disownment on the horizon. However, the great thing about our dads is they usually immediately remedy this problem by finding “a great pinot from Lyon” that costs more than your usual grocery run and that you’ll finish in one night of binging “The Bachelorette.”
Expensive Virginia Tech gear
If you’ve ever wandered the beautiful maroon and orange aisles of Campus Emporium, the University Bookstore, Alumni Hall or any of the other stores selling Hokie merchandise in Blacksburg, you know how a piece of apparel can catch your eye and haunt your dreams for days. Rather than spending $60 on a sweatshirt you’ll take off after approximately six minutes of sweating in McBryde Hall, convince your parents to spend $120 on two of them! You’ll never wear the fancy stuff as often as you wear the stretched-out free T-shirts you got freshman year, but hey, they’ll never have to know.
Although there are many things you can beg your parents for before you’re on your own, there’s one thing that money can’t buy: their unconditional love and support, even when they’re hundreds of miles away. Don’t forget to call home sometime and update them about your college experience — just maybe not about all of your out-of-class ventures.