I went to my school reunion recently, as it was 20 years since I left high school. Despite initially being incredibly sceptical for the entire month beforehand, I can honestly say it was one of the greatest things I’ve ever done and I’m really glad I went to it.
Around 50 people went in total which isn’t too bad for a year of about 200 students. Loads of people said they would go and many of them DID go. A few people turned up out of the blue on the night itself, a few people said they would go but didn’t, and a few didn’t want to go from the offset. Everyone is different with different commitments and views on life, so it’s completely understandable.
But I now firmly believe that attending a school reunion is one of the things you MUST do and, because of this, I wanted to reassure people about a few of the most common concerns that they may experience before attending their own school reunion. If you’re unsure as to whether you should attend or not, please think about the things below and consider them all before deciding. It really is an amazing thing to go to and it would be a genuine shame to miss it.
I won’t know anyone:
One of the great things that the organiser of our school reunion did was to leave a few sheets of stickers and some marker pens by the entrance. As you went in, you wrote your name on a sticker, then you stuck it somewhere on you. If you wanted everyone to see it you could stick it to your shirt or one of your arms. I stuck MINE on my shirt but under my jacket, so I DID have it on but I could “flash” it when people looked at me with a confused face. It completely eliminates all that self-consciousness of having your name on display.
You may not be able to think of many names of people who were also in your school year , but as soon as you see their names on a badge it will ring so many nostalgic bells. Faces change, but seeing a name and remembering it being read out in registration every morning really alleviates that uncertainty and it’s a great ice-breaker.
No-one will remember me:
Even if you don’t think you were popular at school, people WILL remember you. I was hardly Mr. Popular at school. I didn’t socialise anywhere near as much as many of my mates did, and I had what I would class as a very tight knit group of 8 or so friends. You could probably sum up my school years with a quick few lines : I kept my head down, was a bit shy with girls, played violin in the orchestra, went to the geeky IT club after school, and 5 years later passed a few exams.
Despite this being quite an accurate description of what went on for me in school, the number of people who remembered me at a reunion 20 years later was huge! This isn’t me bragging about how ace I was back then or how memorable I was. I just mean that, despite any preconceived beliefs to the contrary, people WILL remember YOU. You may not have done anything outstanding at school, but neither did many of the people you went to school with. They were all normal people, who noticed other normal people.
All people will do is brag about their achievements:
People won’t brag about their achievements. That’s really not why people are going. If they wanted to brag about stuff they’ve done, they have far more opportunities to do it than to wait 20 years to tell you specifically.
When I was there I chatted about my kids, joined in other conversations about other peoples kids, chatted about life in general, where I live now and what I ended up doing for a living, where they live and what they were doing nowadays. But at no point did it become competitive. People end up doing such diverse things that it just isn’t possible to BE competitive. One person will have become a nurse, one will be a bricklayer, one will be a full time mum, one will be an actress…. HOW do you even begin to compare lives like these? You can’t! Competitiveness won’t happen because it just isn’t possible.
I didn’t like anyone when I was at school, why would I want to see them again?
Are YOU a nice person nowadays? (You’re reading my blog, of COURSE you are!) YOU spent 5 of your MOST formative years in school. The people going to your reunion also spent the exact same 5 years in the same situation and having the same experience as you. If YOU ended up being a nice person, the chances are that the majority of other people who went through the same things you did ended up being nice too. They may not have appeared nice at school because they put up a front and pretended to be bigger than they were, but despite the impression they gave back then, they were all just like you.
If your experience of school was a bad one, then that is probably the main reason you don’t want to go. But 20 years later, and after living and working and mingling with thousands of other people in their every day lives, NO-ONE will still have the attitudes they had in school. Everyone will have developed into real, mature adults. They won’t treat you like a 15 year old any more, because you’re not. They’ll chat to you, in the same way they chat to hundreds of other adults every day of their lives nowadays.
If you don’t go, you might convince yourself that not going was the best thing to have done, but without experiencing it and having something to compare it against, (going vs not going,) you genuinely cannot be certain.
If you’ve been and didn’t like it then of course, with hindsight, it is possible to regret going. But I don’t see how you can of the opinion that not going was the right decision without actually having been there.
It’s like saying that the only chocolate bars you eat are Twix and, although you’ve never tried any other chocolate bar, you know no other chocolate bar will be as good. You’d never know how great Toffee Crisps are, or appreciate the simplicity of a Kit Kat.
You may read other peoples opinions on how the night went, or hear that a certain person from school went who you didn’t like back then, and base your opinion on that, but again you’re genuinely not seeing a fair viewpoint. You can’t definitely say that you wouldn’t have enjoyed it if you’ve never done anything like it before.
Seriously, take the risk. Go to the reunion. It’s only 3 hours of your life and it is like no other thing you’ll have done before. Enjoy it.