True Life: I Survived Fifth Year Reunion

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I started looking forward to my Bowdoin College five year reunion the day I graduated.

While I no longer could enjoy dining hall food three meals a day, be surrounded by my best friends and live on a gorgeous Maine campus, the promise of reunion lingering in the future made this transition bearable.  A beacon was set far in front of me that the glory days of college would be revived sometime in the distant future.

A few days before I departed, I was talking to a non-Bowdoin friend.  I thought she would fall over when I said I was going on a three day reunion adventure. Instead, it was, “Why would they have it be so long? Why would you want to see those people?”

Reunions can have a bad reputation. Think of the film Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion, where the clueless protagonists pretend to invent Post Its to prove themselves mature and successful.

But in the words of the college President, Barry Mills, (and I have heard him say this numerous times) “Bowdoin is not a cult, but it’s not not a cult.”

With this in mind, I recognize that not all of you readers will be able to draw direct parallels to your college experience or fully be able to understand why myself and my fellow Polar Bears see Bowdoin as the most wonderful place on earth. But I do hope you will recognize that sometimes, you can go home again.

The Bowdoin Polar Bear – the most popular guy at reunion!

And while I didn’t meet anyone at my reunion inventing novelty office supplies, I was blown away by how interesting and engaging my fellow classmates are and will continue to be.

Doctors, Lawyers, Scientists, Entrepreneurs, and future savers of the world all converged upon Brunswick to immediately revert back, coming together to dance our feet off in old classrooms, eat endless lobster and celebrate with friends.

It was like nothing had changed – the faces had aged just a tad and the conversations matured (slightly), but the five year anticipation of being together again, protected by the Maine pine trees, offered all of us solace from our now typical work lives and allowed us all (in the words of Taylor Swift) to “just keep dancing like we’re 22”.

Bowdoin is special.  I wanted to see all my classmates and not only catch up with them, but have with them a slice of what we used to have on a regular basis.  Hanging out on the quad on Saturday afternoon in the 85 degree gorgeous Maine day, I was transported back to our carefree college days, but this time it was better.

This time there was no paper or exam looming, it was not snowing and our entire class was just thrilled to be there.

We all came for this weekend with the purpose of being together and Bowdoin knew how to respond, throwing us endless delicious food, setting up bands and bars on the quad and providing an endless fleet of golf carts to make sure we made it back to “the tower” (the second tallest building in Maine that was housing all the 5 years) safely.

“Endless” lobster at the Bowdoin Reunion

The three F’s of a good time are Friends, Food and Fun; Bowdoin was able to deliver beyond expectations for all three.

While the weekend was amazing, it is incredibly sad that it is now over, and also sad that we will never have that experience again.  Ten years out of college is different.  More spouses will join us at our ten year, and babies too.  The Bowdoin family will expand and people will travel away and might not make it back.

Five year is special because we still seem so close to that 22 year-old self, and it was so easy to go right back.  An additional five years could change that, or simply make that desire and pull that much stronger – the urge to revert back to those best days of our lives could be more critical, a stroll on the quad more breathtaking, a beer in a social house basement more refreshing.

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