How to Explain to Your Parents That a 'Senior Society' Isn't a Commune of Retired Folks

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Photo by Geoff Charles / CC0

Hooray! It's that time of year again. Everyone (except you) is getting tapped for senior societies. It's hard enough to talk about senior societies with your own friends; discussing senior societies with people away from Penn is even harder.

In part, this is difficult because senior societies lack a clear purpose and are often incomprehensibly elitist. Another reason is that it's difficult to bring senior societies up with outsiders: the phrase "senior society" sounds like a commune of retired folks. While Clarissa Schmidt (C '19) was home for Passover last week, this caused her family some confusion.

At dinner, Clarissa told her parents that she had been tapped for a senior society. "Awww," thought parents Robert and Patricia Schmidt as Clarissa told them about her potential new group.

"It's so nice that Clarissa will be volunteering her time with senior citizens instead of just drinking and having meaningless social interactions," Patricia whispered to Robert.

This sentiment didn't last long. Patricia and Robert started to sense something was up when Clarissa revealed that she was being hazed by her senior society. When they questioned Clarissa, she clarified that her group is made up of 22-year-olds, not retired folks.

Don't make the same mistake as Clarissa. When dealing with parents, clarify up-front that your senior society is not a commune of retired folks.

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