Reunion at Davidson +15
Paul’s blog post inspired me to write a quick note about my thoughts of our reunion weekend and reflections of Davidson College. I do agree with Paul that I wish we were able to find a way to keep in touch more regularly with Davidson friends and acquaintances. Even with increasing communication mediums like Skype, Facebook/Whatsapp, and Facetime, staying in touch is still difficult. Paul is right: as our lives diverge, it is just harder to make the time to stay in touch and when we do get in touch, the first few moments may seem a bit awkward. But, alas, that is why we have reunions – to allow us to come together, to celebrate our time at Davidson, and to remember what makes us so similar, our Davidson-molded minds.
I enjoy our reunions and stupid fun that i have at them. I get to see who is balder than me (damn Fritz you are winning!), have good laughs with old friends (Covell, Nurica, and Brown twins), pretend like I’m dancing at Phi Delt, drink beer at Pika with Fritz, Case, Denise, and Graham (which I didn’t do 15 years ago), eat lots of quesadillas (which I ate 4 at 2AM), steal golf carts (no attempt this time), take batting practice and so on and so forth. I get to do all of the fun things I did 15 years ago that I don’t get to do anymore.
That is exciting, indeed, but that is not the reason I eagerly come back to Davidson. The joy in returning to Davidson is to learn where their lives have taken them. In my travels across the world and in meetings with people – I meet a lot! – I do not often meet people who think like we do. And for years, I could not understand why I have a different impression from Davidson people than all of the others I meet.
At first I thought it was because of how we lived our Davidson lives. We studied so darn much just to pass. Nah, that was not it because some of you didn’t. Perhaps, it was the parties down at the court. Nah, you never really remember parties, do you? Then, I thought it was because we shared some common interests but surely that’s not right because not everyone likes baseball as much as I do or even at all. But, Eureka! This year, I think that I may found have the answer.
The Davidson College education imparted to each of us a similar approach to how we think, work, and act in our everyday life. This approach is a value system that many of us embody. We respect all people regardless of where he may come from. We take the Davidson College work ethic to our jobs and personal lives and we have the desire to continuously learn. Most importantly, we try to search for meaning in our work and feel a sense of duty to make the world a better place. Most young college graduates do not leave college with these traits. And that common value system is why I have always felt this inexplicable bond with people from Davidson. Furthermore, these values I seek out in my friends and people with whom I work.
Where does this way of thinking come from? It comes from our four years of Davidson College. Our honor code system taught us to do what is right, to always take the high road – except when borrowing golf carts of course; our religious studies opened our minds to different ways of thinking – who would have thought Davidson’s Buddhist and East Asian Studies would have driven my interests in Asia and meditation; our discussions with professors and students offered a forum to debate topics and to not accept the status quo; the rigor needed to just pass our courses set our work ethics for the rest of our life – I still pull all-nighters several times a year; lastly, our course work always taught us to think, draw our own conclusions, solve problems, and offer ideas on what would we do to make this world a better place. The way our professors and coaches helped to shape us is the reason we have some commonalities.
For those reasons we possess a common bond even though what we do is not in common. When I caught up with all of you during the two days, it tickled me to not only hear southern accents again but to hear all of the great jobs people were doing: teaching and leading at schools, starting a publishing company, architecture firm, restaurants, organic farms and a doggie shop, buying new companies, starting new funds, living in different places around the world, MCing at a radio station, working for the Obama administration, preaching the good word, saving lives, and doing just against corporate greed. I revel in the diversity of professions of our classmates because what each of us chose to do are are all worth doing because each of you has found meaning behind it. This is the search for meaning that Davidson instilled in us during our 4 years.
In the next five years, many of us may not speak again or perhaps David, Cabell, Paul, Jeff, and I won’t cut a business deal together but each of our lives will evolve in different directions. Some of us may finally have families and some families will grow up. Some companies will go bankrupt and few will succeed. Others will continue strive to help change lives in their day to day activities in the classroom, the courtroom, the churches, and for our country. Some of us will lose more hair and some of us may pass away…. We should not wait till we are 57 to stay up and drink beers with each other until 5AM.
But in 2019, I hope to see all of you again, share more stories, and learn about how our lives are so different. And in 5 years, when you approach that person you have not from in 5 or 10 years, or maybe you did not even speak to much when you were at Davidson, you can remember that we are not entirely different. Then, that first moment may not be so awkward.