I am pretty excited about going back. It will be neat to see the place again. I'm looking forward to walking around the campus, walking around the town, seeing what's been done with all my old haunts. I'm looking forward to seeing my old friends.
That's one of the tough things about going to a college that draws students from all over the world. After graduation, folks tend to disperse all over the country/world again. I spent 4 years in an intimate private college setting (only 1600 students), and I made some wonderfully close friends. None of them live near here though, and sadly I just don't keep proper touch with anyone anymore. I'm terrible at long-distance friendships.
When I first pictured my reunion, I imagined that everybody I loved would return, we would instantly bond again, and it would be just like we were in college again. Staying at the dorms, eating in the dining hall, laughing, staying up all night, sharing our lives again. (A lot of ask out of a 2-day event, I realize!) Well, obviously that won't be happening. For one thing, not all of my friends graduated in the same year as I did. For another thing, not even everybody in my class is coming back to the reunion.
A week or two ago, as the reunion started to draw near, I started to get nervous. My idealistic vision of the weekend turned into a scary lonely one. I was afraid that nobody would come, or people who came would hang out with other people, and I'd be all by myself. Several of the people I'd really hoped to see again weren't coming. One of my best friends was coming but was bringing a boyfriend. What if I didn't click with anybody, what if everybody was busy spending their time with other people, what if I felt like an outsider?
I grew more and more nervous and stressed about the whole thing. I started to regret my plans, and I seriously contemplated just not going. Stupid reunion, why was I putting myself through this?
Over this past weekend, with the reunion looming just one week away, I had to make a decision. I decided to be brave about it. Just because it won't be perfect doesn't mean I won't enjoy myself. I decided to actively try to make sure I had a good time. I called the college and got my lodging squared away. I emailed a few people I'd hoped to hook up with over the weekend.
I called my old roommate, the one coming with her boyfriend, and we talked for about an hour. It was great talking to her again, and we promised each other we'd spend lots of time catching up over the weekend. I gave her my cell phone number, so she could call me as soon as she arrived on campus (since my flight got in before she would). I felt better once I got off the phone with her. I felt like I had at least one person I really cared about who would be there, one person I could spend some time with.
One of my classmates emailed me, asking me if I could help out with an event he was helping organize, "What Amherst did/did not teach you". He wanted me to be one of 20 students who would speak. Ah-ha, I would be useful while I was there! And maybe it would help me break the ice with some more of my old classmates.
I'm starting to look forward to the weekend again. I think it will be fun, and I'm glad I'm doing it....but I'm still very nervous. I try sometimes to pretend I'm bold and brave, but really I'm still a shy and frightened child at heart, and I feel overwhelmed and awkward in group situations. Even 10 years after I've graduated from college. Even a week from my 32nd birthday. Maybe this is as "grownup" as I get. That's okay...I'd rather stay young.