College reunion blends something old with something new

The moment I set foot on this campus as a high school senior, I knew I had found the place for me.
It wasn’t because it was beautiful. It was a freezing, gray February day. My father and I trudged through inches of slushy wetness on the tour. But, after seeing so many other campuses, there was something about Franklin & Marshall that felt right.

And it was—for all kinds of reasons I could never have discovered during a college tour. My professors stretched me in unimaginable ways, helping me discover new talents within myself. My friends supported and challenged me socially, emotionally, and spiritually.

I learned how to live on little sleep, a fair amount of caffeine, and a lot of adrenaline—the perfect preparation for parenthood.
This weekend I went back for my 15-year reunion. If you had asked me 15 years ago what I’d be doing today, I wonder whether I would have had any idea.
I would have guessed I’d be married to a wonderful man who supports and inspires me.
I wouldn’t have been surprised to know I’d be a mother of two, though how could I have known they would have been born in China?
I could have suspected I’d have a writing career—but who knew journalism would change so much in 15 years?
And I’m blogging. Blogging? Did that even exist in 1998?
Five years ago when John and I went for my 10th reunion, we weren’t parents yet. Our older son had been born on the other side of the world, but we hadn’t even started the adoption process.

When I returned to F&M on Saturday, I went alone. It’s an easy drive from Baltimore—not even 1 ½ hours—and the best choice for our children seemed to be to leave them at home with John. It kept our sons on schedule and it meant I actually got to hold conversations with friends and classmates, some of whom I hadn’t seen in five years—or longer.

As I walked onto campus, I was filled again with that feeling I had back in 1994—a sense of coming home.
But I was also aware of how that home has changed.

It used to be that every little difference bothered me. On this visit, though, I found myself admiring the changes. Maybe it’s because I work in higher education or because I’m a little more removed from my alma mater every year, but on this visit I could legitimately see that many of the changes are improvements.

My college has evolved, and my life has changed, too. And that’s perfectly fine, especially since the additions blend so well with the parts of the campus I remember so well.

Now let’s see what the next five years bring for F&M—and for me and my family.

Do you go to your school reunions? How do they meet—or fail to meet—your expectations?

Catholic Review

The Catholic Review is the official publication of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.