Reconnecting with college friends after almost twenty years, no facelift or C.V. required

11 Apr

Ah, a college reunion internet group–a pleasant alternative to posting in one of my alumni magazines. The Kings Tidings magazine is okay–I tended to know or know of many of the people listed in my year range–it was a small, self-contained college–and the accomplishments were usually philanthropic, cultural, and journalistic, and therefore interesting to me. But Dalhousie Magazine had such a self-important air, trumpeting famous alums and trying to sound like the greatest, as if that would attract more endowment funds, but I rarely saw a name I recognized, whether faculty or alumni. I sent in a few news items to each–my marriage, birth of our children, then, well, I never did publish my first novel, get hired by a large law firm, write a play, or even make a documentary, so I stopped keeping them up to date. Here’s what my news would have sounded like:

“Gillian (S ’89, Biology) G built a two-bay compost system, which she uses to teach her kids about decomposition.”

“Gillian (S ’89, Biology) G decided not to further her higher education, but instead to teach her own children from preschool through junior high, without hiring a cook, janitor, or playground supervisor.”

“Gillian (S ’89, Biology) G helped form a community 4-H group, where she teaches gardening, soil science (composting) and drawing.”

I could have sent photos, all dressed up, arms around other composting, homeschooling alumni. You see what I mean. Such accomplishments would send the wrong message to potential donors.

The online alum group I found is for everyone that attended my college in my decade, even those who didn’t graduate (no grad year after names). It lets us connect in any way we choose–be silly, share links and photos, seek collaboration, find out how things really turned out after all these years, urge political action, share personal updates, send good wishes. Already I learned that one friend is widowed, another divorced, and a third was attacked by an axe-wielding terrorist and now serves others from a wheelchair. I look forward to hearing all the good news, too–seeing what choices my fellow students made, whether they live in a similar pattern as then, or have evolved in new direction, if their kids look like them, .

I have undergrad regrets–things I’m not proud of from those years. I wasted some time, money, and opportunities, made unwise choices, wasn’t as caring to people as I ought to have been. The college was in some ways not a good atmosphere for freshmen like me, not ready to guide young people except in academics. But mostly I cherish those four years, have many-peopled and fond memories, and am glad to have been part of King’s. And a part of, I must say, an uncommonly special group of alumni.

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Posted by on April 11, 2013 in Education, Relationships


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