Back to Bates: A First Year’s Experience


After three weeks of living on campus and becoming adjusted to our lives as Bates students, being engaged in our classes, spending hours in Commons, and meeting new faces daily – our parents arrived. This weekend was “Back to Bates Weekend for Students and Families,” a time during which campus is filled with not only students and faculty, but parents too.

Friday night, after eating a delicious Italian dinner at DaVinci’s in Lewiston, my parents and I attended the a cappella concert, a must-see for parent’s weekend. The concert gave students and parents a little taste of the talent and creativity that is here at Bates. Although my parents both thoroughly enjoyed the concert, the most meaningful part for them came before the concert actually began.

We arrived around 7:30 p.m., watching students and parents trickle in. I sit in between my parents, telling them a bit about the different singing groups at Bates. At one point, vivid in my memory, my dad turns to me and says, “I can just tell – you are surrounded by the nicest kids and parents.” Keep in mind, my father had interacted with maybe two or three families thus far; his observation was based on the faces he saw in the Gray Cage – faces full of smiles.

The a cappella concert was one of the many highlights of the weekend. Our homecoming football game was on Saturday afternoon, a scene that attracted many families. Although we lost, it was a great way for families to mingle and get a taste of the athletics scene at Bates. There was also a dance concert at noon on Saturday and Sunday, which was another way for parents (and students) to witness the creativity at Bates. A variety of performances were shown, including preview works from The Trisha Brown Dance Company, student clubs, and independent choreographers. The dancers were impeccable, and, similar to the a cappella concert, they showed off just a fraction of our wonderful Bates student body. After talking to a handful of students at the different festivities, my parents commented on how honest each student was. Most first years commented on how their transition has mostly been smooth, but of course, there are harder parts as well. This type of honesty is refreshing, and is exactly what Bates students are; confident enough about themselves to tell a new set of parents that their transition to college has been great, but of course, there have been some difficult moments.   

Claire Kelly ’21, speaks highly of her first parent’s weekend, admitting that it was special for her to have her parents in her new home. Other first years speak of a similar experience. Eliza Blood ’21 feels that this weekend was the perfect way to introduce her family to her new life, “not just the campus, but to new friends and to Maine.” This weekend was a great stepping stone for first year parents to be given a snippet of their children’s new lives. For returning students, this weekend was an excellent way for them to introduce their parents to new and old friends. Eleanor Shields ’20 says that parent’s weekend is a great way for her to show her parents her home here in Lewiston. Last year, she was “still getting acclimated” when parents weekend came around, but this year she was able to bring her family to her favorite spots and “introduce them to all the little things that make this place home.”

Overall, Back to Bates as a member of the class of 2021 was the first introduction my parents and 509 other parents had into their children’s college lives. Anna Hadar ’21 discussed how showing her parents around the campus made her realize “how settled [she] is at Bates,” and how it has become familiar within the three short weeks she has been on campus. And for the other three classes, it allowed parents to come back to the place that has been their child’s home for two, three, or four years. My first parent’s weekend was a great success, and I cannot wait for the next three.