This past weekend, I visited my alma mater-SUNY Geneseo-for Alumni Weekend. And I have to say, it was pretty incredible.
Before I get into the “twentysomething” part of this post, a brief preface: I graduated in 2013, much to my dismay. I was excited to move onto the next step of my life, until the first time I went back to visit my now ex-boyfriend. I felt completely out of place. I didn’t have a home anymore. I knew I had outgrown Geneseo, and Geneseo had outgrown me. When my ex-boyfriend and I separated, I was even more hesitant to go back. By going back to campus, I was plagued with old memories, throwing my mind back into a place I did not want to be in.
Before this weekend, I hadn’t been back to visit in over a year. I stepped away from Geneseo, stopped donating, and didn’t really know anything about the campus anymore. But as a twentysomething, I felt that it was important for me to go back this weekend. So many good friends were going to be there, and it was only an hour away. All the signs were pointing towards Geneseo.
So I went. And much to my surprise (even though I guess I’m not surprised at all), I fell in love with the campus all over again as soon as I turned on to Main Street. The quaint college town, rows of trees and beautiful flowers lining the campus, the community feel, and of course, the people. All of the positive memories started flooding back and I knew I had made the right decision.
Something was different though. Yes, I had graduated, the new social science building had opened, and the dining hall had been renovated. But there was something else. Two years after graduation, I was finally able to appreciate my time at Geneseo without wishing I were still there, and recognizing that although I may not love where I am in life right now, I really have grown past the Geneseo phase of my life and am excited for what the future holds. Geneseo will always have a special place in my heart, yet, I realize now that it is a time of my past that I am removed from (except maybe on Alumni Weekend). An old chapter of a scrapbook.
So being a twentysomething. How does this all relate? Michael, just get to the point!
Okay, okay. Sorry.
Being a young alumni is just as problematic as being a twentysomething. There are so many conflicting emotions! Do I chain myself to the College Green hoping that I never have to go back to work? Do I go out and pretend like I’m 19 again and get plastered with my friends? Do I donate to a college that is constantly begging me for money when I barely have enough of it for myself? These are hard questions. And if I learned anything this weekend, the twentysomething spectrum for young alumni is NOT the same for everyone.
What kind of young twentysomething alumni are you?
The Alumni on Memory Lane
“Do you remember when we did this here?” “Do you remember when we had this event there?” “Oh my gosh look at that tree where we sat one time!”
These alumni are great when conversing with other alumni. They can bring back great memories, good times, and certainly lots of laughs from previous years. The only problem is when they are having these conversations with current students, they can come off as annoying and too old to be there.
The Hot Mess Alumni
It’s fine. We’ve all been there. This person goes back for Alumni Weekend because they want to pretend for just one or two nights that they are in college again. They might forget their tolerance has decreased a little bit since graduation and they still think they can pound shots like nobody’s business. They may or may not wake up the next morning feeling like a complete train wreck. This is okay maybe once a year, maybe. But just remember, you’re no longer a young college student.
The Out-of-Touch Alumni
This person thinks they know everything about the campus, but in reality, knows nothing. A perfect example that is totally hypothetical and not real at all: Someone who says, “I’ll meet you by the big tree.” And then the other person proceeds to go looking around for literal big trees, completely forgetting that The Big Tree was a restaurant on Main Street. This kind of alumni needs to give their brain a little shake and dust it off a bit.
The Washed-Up Alumni
The former student leader. The one who used to be involved in everything. Over-involved. And now, life post-grad isn’t nearly as good. Maybe they have a good job, maybe going to grad school. But really, they miss college life. A lot. They may or may not realize that they are that alumni, but regardless, they haven’t acknowledged that the campus has moved on past their graduation date.
The Never-Leaving Alumni
“Well, I’m here now, so I’m never leaving.” Nope, sorry. You do have to go back to work on Monday. Real-life does exist outside of the college campus, and you need to go back to it. This person is all over social media with pictures of their beautiful campus. I wish I was a student again! Look how beautiful this building is! These were the best years of my life! etc.
I think everyone is probably a little mix of all of these. I feel like I’ve gone through every type at least once. Where do you all fall on the spectrum? I’d love to hear some other young twentysomething alumni experiences!