Back to university- past and present

This summer, one of the main reasons we drove such a long journey in one go was that I had a prior appointment: my University reunion.

University reunion 2013

It was weird going back to my Alma Mater; the trees had grown, a number of new buildings had sprouted up and yet it all felt so familiar. Old feelings and memories came rushing back.  People changed, but  most looked really well; aging suited most.

We spent the afternoon together listening as those present gave a 5 minute snapshot of  what’s happened with them in the last 10-15  years, what mischief everyone got upto, how many offsprings were brought into the world, how immensely proud we were of them; some who were unable to make it sent a short email about themselves which the organisers read out.

We paused and remembered Szilard, our always happy, always joking  fellow student who passed away a couple of years ago after a riding accident.

We watched old movies of our antics, films we made for entries to the Students’ Days comedy competitions through our years at university.  We were pretty good back then! Pretty funny!

Over dinner and a few drinks we reminisced further over the past, over shared memories and those since, we solved problems of the present and the future.  It was such a lovely time… like stepping back in time for half a day.  We took a walk down to the small local lake in the balmy weather and took a walk further down memory lane along the way.

University in the 90s was so different!  Some of our old lecturers came to our reunion and they concurred- we still had a community, we enjoyed our time there and we weren’t in a constant hurry, million things vying for our attention.   Our lives weren’t driven by technology and being constantly connected.  In fact, I was probably the first person on campus to have a mobile phone ( I had started my job before I graduated and used my time between lectures to iron out clients’ problems, secure orders and set up new sales meetings).  I was among the first to be corrupted, to loose my innocence. ;-)

When I started University in 1993 my main worry was looking up where I was going on a map and then not forgetting to take with me the route description I had received in my university welcome pack. I remember pulling in to the parking lot and standing in awe of the place I had chosen.  I hadn’t actually seen a picture of it before. I had no idea what the dorm would look like, but I knew it had a drying rack, as I’d been sent a room inventory.  I stood there on the doorstep with my suitcase, which was full of clothes and shoes, a few empty notepads, an empty ringbinder and some pencils and pens. Nothing more.

I came out of university without debt too, there were no debt facilities then.

Today’s students: well, I don’t envy them!  They face so much more complexity.

They know more about the place they are going to, probably even know where the coffee machines are in the corridors and how much a coffee costs from these machines. They also go with lots more than just clothes, they go with lots of gadgets, lots of choices and some of these choices rather expensive ones.

I only got thinking about this difference  when I was sent a couple of  press releases today (I guess someone thinks I’m older than I am and have university-aged kids.  Or do they just want to highlight what decisions await us in 12 years or so, when Angelina goes?… if she does decide to go.)

Just look at the plethora of choice!  I’m overwhelmed!  Is that just my age showing?

How do they cope?  And the parents, what role do they have in setting them on their way?

Back to uni- gadgets

Note: This is NOT a sponsored post.  I have received no incentive in any which way to write this.  The picture above is from a PR agency and I have used it to highlight how overwhelming all the choice must be, even if it is laid out rather logically in this example.  I am truly curious how today’s freshmen make these choices, how they fund their decisions.

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Comments

  1. I was fascinated to read your thoughts about your Uni reunion, as I’m attending a school reunion (class of ’81) this coming Saturday. Twenty-six of us are getting together (in some cases having not seen each other since we were 17) for lunch to celebrate the fact that we all turn (or have turned) 50 in 2013. The difference between the recent school / Uni experience of my three offspring and my own experience is vast – and, as you so rightly say, the number of distractions for them verges on the frightening. Like you, I was one of the first of my peers to have a mobile phone in the 1980s (because I worked in agriculture at the time so was often out in the fields and hard to contact). Thinking back to my brick-like Vodaphone and looking at my current sleek Blackberry sums up the distance we’ve come in 25+ years. I suppose the question (in some ways) is whether we have been going forwards or backwards…
    SquareSparrow recently posted…Two birthday cakes down and still celebrating…My Profile

    • Mumonthebrink says:

      I hope you have a fab time! What really worked for us is everyone standing up and giving a 5 minute account- it helped start the conversation afterwards, as you didn’t spend ages repeating yourself. I definitely recommend you put it forward in an email to the organisers. A couple of folks bought photos too that got passed around, that was great too.

      As for going forwards or backwards? I honestly think it’s both. Our society is breaking down and becoming more fragmented. With social media you link with like-minded people and are actually not forced to deal with differences. You ultimately create your own little bubble.

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