by Gillian Donald ’85, Manager of Alumni Relations
I regret not going to my 10-year high school reunion. And I regret not going to my 20-year reunion, too. I had preconceived notions about high school reunions and I only recently found out how wrong I was.
It wasn’t until I returned to SMUS in 2009 to work in alumni relations that I realized I missed out on some great events. Alumni Weekend at SMUS is a bigger and better version of a high school reunion. That’s why it’s disappointing when I hear from people who say they’re not going to their reunion or Alumni Weekend. More and more I hear the excuse “because Facebook has filled that need.” Once you’re friends on Facebook you can keep tabs on someone’s life and check in every once in a while. They incorrectly think that is all a high school reunion is good for.
There’s so much more to a high school reunion (and Alumni Weekend) than what social media offers. Facebook hasn’t made high school reunions obsolete. I think because a lot of socializing with one another has moved online, now more than ever high school reunions are really special!
Here are 10 reasons why Facebook doesn’t replace your high school reunion (and why you should come to Alumni Weekend):
See old friends
This is what high school reunions are all about. After spending years together in school (likely followed by a long time apart) it’s such a thrill to catch up with an old friend and pick up right where you last left off.
Wall posts aren’t meaningful conversations
Staring at a computer screen and posting on someone’s wall doesn’t count as a meaningful conversation. After the usual “How’s work? What have you been up to since high school?” topics are exhausted, the back-and-forth typically dies. Seeing someone face-to-face allows you the luxury of getting to have a real dialogue. And “meaningful” is subjective, too. There are a lot of fun chats to have with people over a drink in the Touchline Tavern.
Where are they now?
“Whatever happened to so-and-so? It’s like she vanished after high school.” Well she’s coming to Alumni Weekend and you won’t believe what she’s been up to!
The whole family is invited to Alumni Weekend at SMUS and there is something everyone will enjoy. There are great activities for the kids (the free pancake breakfast, bouncy castles and face-painting) – and adults (beer tent, international marketplace and amazing food) no matter your interests.
Alumni Weekend is more than just a high school reunion from your grad year – it’s a party for all alumni, alongside current students and parents. There are so many great networking opportunities to be had when you’re rubbing elbows with long-forgotten faces and brand-new faces. You already have your SMUS connection – there’s your ice-breaker! You never know who you’ll meet and what doors (personally and professionally) will open.
Facebook’s a little too positive
Most people’s lives, as depicted on social media, look pretty great. It’s their life through rose-coloured glasses because they pick and choose what they want to share. Everyone has had highs and lows since high school, and an in-person encounter is the perfect chance to get to know the real person behind the sunny profile photo.
Take a walk down memory lane
Seeing a face you haven’t seen in a while can help jog memories you haven’t thought about in years. Reminiscing and laughing about the past is half the fun of high school reunions. And since a lot of Alumni Weekend happens on campus, the people and the places will help stir up memories of the good old days together.
Getting old isn’t a bad thing
You’re not the only one going grey or getting wrinkles. There are no photo filters to hide behind. And nobody cares about any of that because you’re all in the same boat. The other great thing about getting old is everyone matures emotionally, too. If there was cattiness or hostilities in high school, everyone has grown beyond that!
Relive the glory days
Maybe you haven’t picked up a rugby ball or field hockey stick since provincial championships in Grade 12. Relive that feeling of stepping out onto the field to a large, cheering crowd by playing in one of the many alumni games on offer. You can play soccer, badminton, field hockey, squash or rugby alongside fellow alumni and current students!
Alumni Weekend is awesome
Alumni Weekend is probably the most fun event we host each year. It is a celebration of our community – past and present. The weekend is full of games, parties and social opportunities that attract a wide range of great people – from alums who graduated in 1949 to our current Junior School families. It really is a weekend at SMUS not to be missed!
Check out smus.ca/alumni for the full calendar of events and to register for the some of the reunion parties. We hope to see you in person at Alumni Weekend!