Thursday, July 9, 2015

Big Thirsty on the Nostalgia Tip.

So, I skipped one of the big class reunions this year. I went to a high school one many moons ago and figured that'd be enough. But my grad department had a blowout in June and it was nearby, and I still didn't go. We were a tiny group, tight-knight, ultra competitive.

I've made out as well as some of them, not as well as one giant ignoramus, and better than the rest. I don't think my decision had to do with that.

But I felt guilt all along, as if I wasn't honoring my own education, my own past. I got a flurry of emails after the fact: Are you okay? Are you ill? Is there anything wrong with the family?

Nah, I just didn't go.

And to think of it, I'm not in much contact with those folks during the rest of the time. I loved them then, truly. It was a great time. But after it was over I felt as if I shed a skin.

Q: What's your connection like to your educational roots?

Breaking out the
original graphic,
just because.


  1. Weak.
    The best faculty members of my college years didn't get tenured. The School which housed my major was collapsed into a division of Arts&Sciences after I left. The institution has enough money that nothing I do is going to be statistically significant. Aside from keeping up with a small group of friends, and driving by when I'm in town, meh.

    1. This describes my connection, although the department still exists. All my profs are emeritus, which is what I should expect by now. I still have friends in the college towns I lived in so it,s nice to see them.

  2. I go to high-school reunions. They're lots of fun! At the last one, all the baby pictures were grand-babies, shown not by taking out prints, but scrolled to on phone screens.

    I've never gone to a college reunion. One reason is that there wasn't much community there, since everyone was so fixated on their careers. Another is that I'm furious at the university for tearing down the beautiful observatory that attracted me in the first place, so I had them take me off the mailing list anyway.

    I'm unaware that there ever was a reunion where I went to grad school, for former grad students, at least. Again, there wasn't much community among the grad students, because of rampant careerism. I felt like I was doing a job, not going to school, and as far as I can tell most of the grad students else felt that way, too.

    I'd enjoy going back to where I did my first postdoc, since it was in jollie olde England, but I never have since it's out of the way for me. My second and third postdocs and where I did my first teaching as an Accursed Visiting Assistant Professor all so thoroughly abused me, I make it a point to avoid them.

  3. I've never gone to any of my high school reunions. I grew up in a town not much different than the one portrayed in the movie "The Last Picture Show" and was quite glad to leave it. I rarely returned there once I started working after I received my B. Sc. Besides, there isn't anybody left in that town that I'd want to see again.

    The only university reunions I've been to were with the choral group I sang with during my senior undergrad year. I eventually quit going to those because I found out that a portion of the fees that we paid for attending the functions went towards honoraria for certain people, both of whom were alumni themselves.

    As for reunions for my undergrad class, I avoided them, the last time because my mother had died a few weeks earlier and I was in no mood for socializing.

    Like Frod, I'm not aware of any grad school reunions as there wasn't much of a community except with our immediate colleagues. In the department where I finished my first master's degree, most of my mates there were foreigners and they left the country when their studies were over.

    In the department where I finished my last two degrees, we didn't even have a common room for the grad students and were, effectively, compartmentalized in our labs. The result was that there was little contact between the various groups except among some of the foreign students. Many of them were from the same country and generally didn't mingle with the rest of us.