Okay, so by this point, I’ve skipped TWO DAYS of blogging because of traveling and socializing.
This weekend, I’m at my alma mater (is that supposed to be in italics? It’s so late, I can’t remember…) for homecoming weekend. I took off of work on Friday to drive to Chattanooga so I’d have at least a full day-and-a-half to spend time with people before I have to go back home and prepare for work the next week.
And let me tell you…being an alumnus is a lot of things…
Of course it’s good! You get to see your classmates who went through a lot of the same things you did in the same four-year span as you. You were able to see each other grow, lead, and conquer within college. And now, you’ve all gathered back again to see what real-world conquests you’ve embarked on. Catching up is awesome; whether it’s staying in town or getting married or having babies, seeing where people currently are in life can be fun.
It can also be encouraging. I talked to a few people who I could relate to when it came to adulting being “ambiguous.” I love that I can have conversations with people who totally understand where I’m coming from because they’re in it too.
And I had some conversations about writing with some of my fellow English major friends. We began in Orientation team together, and there we were, relating writing advice and common struggles in the real world. It was great. I felt like I was with my people.
But while being an alumnus is fun…
It’s Also Overwhelming…
Friday night, there was a dance for all students and alumni to attend.
Okay, that’s a ton of people.
And while seeing and talking with your fellow alumni friends (and friends who currently attend school) is awesome, it can get super overwhelming.
One minute, you’re talking to John about writing. While you’re having this conversation, Cindy swings by you, saying hey, hugging you, asking you how you’ve been. And you feel bad because your previous conversation was interrupted, so you turn to introduce Cindy to John, or even bring Cindy into your previous conversation…
But then you realize John is gone, off to talk to another alumnus. You turn back to continue the conversation with Cindy, only to have two other people behind you swoop you into hugs, or have someone from afar wave to you.
It’s just all so much to take in.
The good thing about this, though? Everyone understands it’s overwhelming. So they get that they’re conversation might be interrupted by another person with a different conversation. Or a hug. Or an excited squeal. Or all of the above.
How to Survive an Alumni Event 101
Five simple tips for all you new alumni out there…
- Just Breathe. I know, there’s a ton of people around you and, whether you’re an introvert or extrovert, you can feel extremely out-of-control, and become pretty bewildered. Stand where you are, and take a few deep breaths. People shouldn’t look at you weird; it’s a good technique to orient yourself with the situation.
- Be Okay with Being Alone. It’s almost guaranteed that, at some point in the night, you’ll lose the friends you came to the alumni event with. And like me, you may not be wearing your glasses, so trying to distinguish who is who can be hard. So, when you find yourself standing by yourself in a crowd full of people, do your best to find someone you know well, but also be okay with being by yourself for a bit. Take it all in. Don’t be in a panic to try to look like you’re having a meaningful conversation with someone. The single-mingle is totally legal.
- Embrace Constant Conversation Turnovers. I gave an example of this scenario above; when other people hop in on your current conversation, pull them in. Or if the person you’re originally talking to decides to leave, then turn your attention to the new person. People understand that there are only a few hours to try to catch up with possibly 20+ of your peers whom you haven’t seen in a few months. So, take the conversation turnover as a normal thing.
- Get Used to Answering the Same Questions Over and Over Again. Catching up with possibly 20+ of your peers whom you haven’t seen in a few months means that you most likely will have to explain what you’ve been up to 20+ times. Just get used to it; unless you wanna sit everyone down at the same time, and announce what’s been happening in your life once (totally not gonna happen, by the way), then you’re going to have to explain yourself multiple times.
- Enjoy yourself. Seriously, this is actually a fun time. Sure, by 10pm, you’re feeling like an old-person because you’re tired from work, and it’s past your bedtime. You may have lost your voice by the end of the night, but it’s okay! Overall, it’s a truly fun experience, and you should enjoy being around the people you spent four years of your life with.
That’s all I got for now! But to all you alumni (new and old) out there…
What are some tips you may have to surviving alumni events?