Parents Beware: The College Stories Your Kids Won’t Tell You

You finally made it. You’re on your own. No callous curfews or snitching siblings here. This is college: you hold the power. You do what you want and when you want, right? Well, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. You’re not talking radical changes. Your parents may know best…but that doesn’t mean they need to know everything.

Hey, everyone tells a white lie here-and-there. That $500 they gave you? No doubt, you spent it all with Chegg. Of course, you’re getting back to the dorm by 11:00 – and three square meals and eight hours of sleep too!  You haven’t skipped a class for a Netflix binge. You’re watching your budget. You’re on track with every assignment. With that workload, how could you find any time to come home on the weekends?


Make no mistake: your parents know you won’t be quite on the up-and-up in college. What do you think they told their parents? Yeah, they might freak out if they knew what you were really doing. Chances are, they endured the same misadventures that made them truly independent.

This circle of life will be true for this year’s Best & Brightest undergraduate business majors too. As part of the nomination, we asked these students to share something they did in college that they don’t want their parents to know. Their responses were treated as anonymous to protect the guilty.

Alas, you won’t find any felonies here – but some great stories nonetheless. One student got inked on a group dare, as others flew cross country to see their beaus (or just take a break). Another spent a “small fortune eating out and enjoying one too many happy hours.” And one committed the ultimate sin: “I regularly tell my mom’s jokes as if I’d thought of them myself!


Some students endured the downright embarrassing. Just ask this 2018 graduate. “I have never missed a class intentionally in college, but I came close one morning. I slept through my alarm and woke up ten minutes after my class began. I immediately leapt out of bed and sprinted to class in my glasses that my parents had recently given me, retainer, and pajamas. I think it’s safe to say that I made quite the entrance as I burst into class fifteen minutes late.”

Other stories touch on more profound themes, such as depression. That was true for one highly successful Best & Brightest. “College was a very difficult period of mental health for me. In my first year, I struggled with intense bouts of depression and anxiety, which took a lot of time to overcome. In an immigrant family, mental health is not a topic that we discuss openly. As a result, I have relied on external sources of support to achieve a healthier mental state. Now in my fourth year, I continue to struggle with mental health but have discovered healthy methods of coping, which allow me to lead a much happier lifestyle.”

From the humorous to the humbling, here are over 15 stories that might make the Class of 2018’s parents squirm if they only knew.


“During my sophomore year, a small group of friends and I drove into the heart of Detroit in the middle of winter to see our favorite band in concert. My parents have strict ‘Let me know when you leave the university’ and ‘No driving with snow on the ground’ policies. Nonetheless, I braced the risk and that concert was one of the best nights of my life that they will never know about.”

“In the wake of many European terrorist attacks, I studied abroad in Europe. However, my parents were consoled by the fact that my abroad program was very sheltered and protective of its students. Yet, when we went to tourist destinations as a group, I would frequently break apart from the group and would often travel alone outside of the group’s plans. This occurred even in countries in which English was rarely spoken. I traveled all over the U.K. by myself, including Bath, London, and Edinburgh, and ventured alone in Paris. I have always been individualistic, but I did this to truly understand and experience each city. I have virtually no regrets.”

“When I was interning in Sydney, Australia after my sophomore year of college, it sounded like the perfect ‘vacation’ to head to the beautiful islands of Fiji for a weekend getaway. My friends and I hopped on a plane, and headed out for what we thought (and what I told my parents) was going to be a luxurious trip. What I was shocked to find, however, was that the majority of Fiji was anything but luxury. Our hotel, the Grand Melanesian, was located in the downtown district of Nandi. This was a dirt road with a few shops on either side. On the second day, we went down to the Port, where all of the more luxurious hotels were located, and I saw the Fiji that I thought we were going to experience. While our days were spent on this Port and I was able to see the clear blue water that is so highly regarded, our nights were spent at the not-so- Grand Melanesian. At night, we were able to talk with the owner and learn more about the history of the island — something I would have not learned had we stayed in the tourist district. I saw the stark contrast between the level of poverty of the people native to the island and the wealth of the travelers that enjoy the island luxuries. This was a very eye-opening experience for me. I have never told my parents the full extent of my Fijian adventure because it wasn’t the safest decision I have ever made. However, I look back on this trip and smile because while it wasn’t what I thought it would be, it was a great experience to bond with my friends and some of the local people in Nandi.”


“One night, my friends and I were filled with boredom due to lack of work over summer break. We decided to go to a friend’s house whose parents were out of town and make a slip-and-slide on his dining room floor using dish soap and sleeping bags as sliding devices. Needless to say, cleaning it up was not as fun as making the mess.”

“The night Donald Trump was elected President, I took part in a protest that escalated to injury and vandalism. I did not take part in the vandalism, and quickly decided to leave once it begun. Still, I don’t think my parents would like hearing that I was close to that sort of action.”

Go to the next page for more Best & Brightest business majors pushing the envelope. 

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