Why Participate in Alumni Functions?
I attended Georgia Tech (Go Jackets!) for my undergrad and Georgia Washington University (Go Buff and Blue!) for my graduate degree.
If coaxed, I might be able to rattle off a few names of folks with whom I went to Tech. With GW, I truly can’t remember ANY of my fellow alumni.
During my time at Tech, I would go to work a few blocks away and then buzz (pun intended) back and forth between class and work through the day. I really didn’t have much time for “the college experience” and didn’t miss it (hard to miss what you don’t know, right?). However, this singleminded focus on “getting out” (as they call it at Tech) resulted in few relationships.
Likewise, I got my Masters degree at an intense time of my life: 26 years old, newly married (3 years), in a new city (Baltimore), and with two little girls. School was in DC and required having to drive over (pre-Internet – no online classes) there a couple of nights a week. I have memories of coordinating my flights for work to land at National versus BWI so that I could take tests and exams. Try taking text books with you in your briefcase/luggage while on a business trip…yikes.
So what’s the moral of the story?
It’s never too late.
Since we moved back intown Atlanta, I have gotten involved in mentoring programs, led the local alumni networks for both schools (helping get the GW local chapter up and going), participated in planning for events, led fundraising efforts, etc. During this time, I have learned more about my respective alma maters and created new relationships. Selfishly, it has burnished my credentials and given me exposure that I never had. It certainly doesn’t hurt that both schools are on an ascendant trajectory (indeed, I sometimes wonder if I could have achieved admission if I applied today). I am involved because it’s the right thing to do for the schools AND because it enables me to involve my family in what also doubles as soft marketing/business development.
I may not have been ‘José College’ while attending, but I am giving (and getting) back now. Think about it, and get your pom-poms out!