Well, there’s a first time for everything. This Saturday, October 3, marks the first time I’ll attend an Alumni Event at Ryerson University. It’s been 40 years since I left those hallowed halls of what was then Ryerson Polytechnical Institute. Although I’ve been back to the “campus” a few times when I’ve been in Toronto, I’ve never really been back. So why now?
Partly because it’s been 40 years—that’s a milestone in itself—and because I’ve recently connected with other Ryerson grads in the Kingston area, where I now live. I’ve also connected with a couple of the women from my “Class of ’75” although that’s just been online and by phone. Meeting in person again will be fun. It’s not about reliving the past, or telling “boring stories of Glory Days” (thank you to The Boss, Bruce Springsteen, for that line.) It’s about connecting, or reconnecting, with people who understand a bit of your past and want to learn about your present, and maybe your future. It’s about getting to know each other again. I’m also curious to see our old “lab school” at the Early Learning Centre, see new buildings and maybe revisit some old ones on campus. It’s about learning from each other and maybe seeing how we might help each other in whatever careers we have now.
The career I have now is very different from the one I had after graduation. I’d spent four years earning my degree in Early Childhood Education (now called Early Childhood Studies) and I used that knowledge for many years working in child care centres as a teacher and supervisor. I also used that experience when I organized a conference on Early Learning Outcomes many years later, and wrote much of the report from that conference. That allowed me to combine my work at Captions Communications as a freelance writer, writing instructor, and event organizer with my experience as an Early Childhood Educator. A few years later I taught future Early Childhood Educators at the Akwesasne Adult Education Centre. It felt like my life was coming full circle.
Now it really will come full circle as I’ll reconnect with women who shared those four years of my life. It will be fun to learn what they’ve been doing for the last forty years—and I hope that we’ll stay in each other’s lives for the coming years. That will be even more fun. I’ve learned from friends and colleagues in PWAC—the Professional Writers Association of Canada how important networking is, and how fun and helpful your friends in that network can be. That will be a secondary benefit though. I just want to reconnect with those women and make some everything-old-is-new again friends.
I’ll be taking lots of photos on Saturday at our events, so come back next week and I’ll post some here.
Have you been to a reunion? How did it feel reconnecting after years spent apart?