(What felt like) 20 minutes ago, I wrote a blog post called “What I Learned At My 5 Year College Reunion.” Today I am writing this reflection on surviving my 10 year college reunion. If that wasn’t enough to send me into an emotional tailspin, I also attended the college graduation of my littlest sister (read my advice for her people here), submitted the second draft of my novel (that story here) and Bruce Jenner became Caitlyn NOT-WITH-A-K (that story everywhere) in the same four-day period. I’m hanging on by a thread.
So let’s push my emotional limits just a little bit further with some writing about the experience of being in the same room as 350 people you met 14 years ago! My thoughts on how to survive/thrive at your 10 year college reunion, some Boston College specific.
Remember – if you are on the Facebook, the ‘Gram and the Twitter then you have absolutely zero “catching up” to do
The college reunion is pretty much obsolete on account of social media. People literally knew what I did three hours before arriving at the reunion. I’m more of an online sharer than must, but it’s hard to surprise people at these things. Just be prepared to spend your 10 minutes with each person acknowledging and confirming everything they already know. It’s kind of like that formality interview you do before you get hired for a job. “So you got married in upstate New York last May?” Yes. “And then you got a puppy!” Uh-huh. “And how is your novel coming?” Great.
Rough truth: you can only talk to most people for 15 minutes anyway
It’s not like you’re going to have a conversation about Hillary Clinton’s presidential prospects on a loud dance floor holding a triple pour vodka soda (that’s why they ran out of vodka…). You’re going to scream a catch-up, scream a memory you shared and then scream, “oh I see XX over there, and I’ve been wanting to say hello! Be back!”
Prepare for everyone to look a little but older, except for some of the guys who look a lot older…
I’m so, so sorry to say it, but it’s true, and it is my responsibility to prepare people for that cold, hard truth. We’re in our 30’s so it’s only natural for a little hair to leave the head and a little beer to hit the belly. This in no way stops the men from behaving like they are the exact age/weight/height/hair length that they were on graduation, so don’t feel too bad for them.
Don’t be surprised that 50% of the people you talk to will have a baby, some on them
At your five year college reunion you looked at the people with kids and said, “what the hell are they doing with their lives? What’s the rush??” At your ten your college reunion those people are looking at you and saying, “what the hell are they doing with their lives? We’re 32.” I’ll leave it at that.
AND YET, don’t worry about everyone asking you when you’re going to start having kids!
I can’t walk into a post office without someone asking when R and I are going to start a family, but somehow in this environment no one cared. I’m not sure if that’s because they were trying their hardest not to stress about the 4-month old they just left overnight for the very first time or if they genuinely don’t care. I hope it’s both, and I thank you Boston College.
Prepare to feel incredibly sad about the people you didn’t keep in touch with as well as you should have
This hit me hard as I talked to some of my favorite people. It’s impossible to stay close to everyone, even with all that social media. There’s also no other time in your life when you’ll live directly among your 100+ best friends with practically nothing to do and an unlimited supply of Busch Lite. These people were part of your most formative years, and you just can’t get that back in the same way. Ugh. I’m sad again.
Save yourself by feeling incredibly grateful about the people you did keep in touch with
I’m still incredibly close to my best girlfriends and guy friends, and that is a gift. Since I’m in L.A. we don’t see each other as often as I’d like, but we’re in constant contact. There were so many people that I wanted to see and catch up with at the reunion, but the next morning I just wanted to recap with my best friends, like always.
If you go to Boston College and somehow end up a writer/blogger/producer/weirdo living in Los Angeles, you will feel very, very strange
The Boston College is an incredible institution of higher learning that provided the perfect foundation for my future as a writer of 1,000 random things. That said, every other person at my reunion was a lawyer, finance person or doctor. Thank god my own friend group boasts a fashion designer, producer, book editor and marketing exec, but everyone else has a JD, MD or MBA (we have some of those too, just to be clear). This simply means that they can all afford to send the 1+ kids they have to Boston College someday, and I have to think about it…
And finally – practice your flip cup game before you go. You’re going to need it.
In the end, I wouldn’t have missed that event for the world, and I’m lucky that my alma mater invests so much into making it unmissable. But after sleeping in those dorms for one night (yes, at BC we stay in the dorms for reunion) and cleaning up the next morning, I’m getting more okay with looking back on college as a magical time that I will now experience for two nights, every five years.