Why I actually wish my small town high school had a reunion
Many people find high school reunions unnecessary. They tend to think there’s no point of going through the trouble, since we can already see what everyone is up to online. The common argument is, “If you can see what they ate for lunch on Instagram, what else is there for you to know?” Another common reason people do not attend reunions is that they believe if you lost touch with former classmates, you probably don’t care much about what they’re up to anyway.
The town I lived in as a teenager is so small that generally there aren’t more than 20-30 people per graduating class at the high school. There aren’t reunions, at least formal reunions ones that are publicized. If we had them, my 10-year reunion would be in a few months. And I would absolutely go, despite being able to friend many of my former classmates on Facebook.
The thing is, I don’t think being able to see what people post on social media is a substitute for seeing them in person. Not everyone shares all aspects of their lives online, and most of us present ourselves a certain way and keep some things private. I post photos of my travels and of activities my husband and I deem worthy of showing our friends and family. I link to some of the articles I write, but not all of them. Although these posts show the things I do for fun, I don’t think they fully demonstrate the person I am. I don’t think the photos or posts shared by my former classmates show a full picture of them, either. I may like photos of former classmates’ weddings or of their kids, but I could still be surprised at what I learn from a discussion with them.
In an ideal world, I could call a bunch of my former classmates and arrange to meet up for coffee, but I don’t live in the area anymore. And when I’m in town, I don’t have time to visit with each person I went to school with, unfortunately. But if we were all in the same place at once, it would be easier to reconnect — not to mention less awkward than calling people up out of the blue and asking them to hang out with me.
And all of this only accounts for the people each of us are friendly with online. Wouldn’t it be fun to discover a person you disliked in school (and therefore may not be linked to via social media) is now someone you would be friends with? That probably would have to happen in person.
It’s worth mentioning that some people don’t use Facebook or Instagram (the horror!). And there are those who rarely post. Many of my high school classmates simply don’t show up in my feed regularly, even if they post often. Several of the people I know from high school stayed in the same area, and might not use social media the way I do. I moved out of state and then across the country. I lost touch with most of the people I grew up with, except for a few close friends. But my hometown is still a part of me.
I’d be lying if I didn’t say showing people how much I have grown since high school isn’t appealing to me. My high school days were full of drama with boyfriends and problems at home. I was insecure. Sometimes I wasn’t kind. I made several bad decisions. But I grew up. And I bet the people I went to school with did as well. I’d love to see how they’ve changed for the better, too — and maybe even become friends with some of them. Although most people won’t establish a relationship in one evening at a high school reunion, they can begin to.