Reconnecting with my MBA ’95 classmates at Reunion Weekend 2015 inspired me to write a letter to my young sons for down the road.
• You will reunite with old friends – people you knew well a long time ago who are, at once, exactly as they were and also changed in interesting ways.
• Life doesn’t always afford you the luxury of second chances, but reunions are pretty much engineered for them. You will enjoy time with people you hadn’t known well in school and will feel grateful for the chance to connect.
• At a certain reunion mark, you will give yourself permission to max out your phone’s font size because you realize everyone else has. My texts make more sense now. God knows what autocorrect has been up to these last few years.
• At our 2015 UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School Reunion, I experienced tear-producing laughter 30 percent of the time. Now that is what I call great ROI!
• At reunions, you will forever be the character you played while you were at school – much like birth order in families. Good friends allow you to ‘Meryl Streep’ the range of this character to show your fuller, more complicated self.
• People get better with age. They are less self-absorbed, have earned their humility and are confident enough to share some of the absurdities of their lives. Remember, vulnerability and the capacity to inspire are positively correlated, so keep it real.
• Focus on spending time with your class, but don’t miss the dinner with the alumni awards. They provide useful context for the event, and the advancement team works hard to bring alumni together. Oh, and be a net-giver. Forget the excuses and make a gift to the annual fund.
• Your friends’ spouses and significant others are worth knowing. Be inclusive and generous of spirit.
• Learn something, teach something, walk around campus and pack ibuprofen. Bring home t-shirts, new ideas and a (more) open mind.
Thanks to my UNC Kenan-Flagler classmates for inspiring me to post.
By Dan Cooney (MBA ’95)
This blog has been adapted and republished with permission from the author.