In 2009, I threw my college graduation cap in the air and received the validation that I was an educated young person. In the subsequent five years, I've found myself to be desperately single, drowning in student loan debt, and jarringly bad at meeting new people. My dreams of taking over the world, with a supermodel at my side, have been replaced with the hope that someone from work notices my new cardigan.
Times have changed.
So, when my college and fraternity encouraged me to come back for a five-year reunion, I was a little hesitant. Wasn't I supposed to have accomplished more since graduation? I had spent life postgrad morphing into a male version of Liz Lemon, while Facebook continued to notify me of pending nuptials, job promotions, and the dramatic weight-loss of my peers. Somehow, between the years of 2006-2010, my college produced the Benjamin Buttons of swag because all of my friends had gotten exponentially cooler with age. How the hell was I supposed to hang out with them? And, secondarily, why hasn't Facebook set up an engagement filter yet?
Swallowing my fear and dawning a bro tank that broadcast my capacity to "work hard and play harder," I travelled back to Pittsburgh to see people who had existed only as green g-chat dots since undergrad. As my eyes readjusted to the abnormally low lights associated with bad choices and college bars, the undeniable roar of 15 fraternity brothers shouting in genuine excitement greeted me. Within a minute of being in their proximity, I realized that any trepidation, fear or anxiety was completely misplaced.
Some things stay the same.
Has my postgrad gone exactly as I had planned? Absolutely not. But, neither did college. Or high school. Or any other aspect of my life. Though, social media is awesome, it also skews our perceptions. I'll never be able to stack up to the Instagram filters of others' lives, and honestly, I don't want to keep up with the Kardashians. I'm single, in debt and socially awkward -- and I'm happy everyday about it. I've found a passion that I get paid for and can tear up a dance floor, what more do you want in your mid-20s?
No matter how much your friends have changed or stayed the same, the times that you cared for each other were genuine. Through this trip, I was reminded of how rare that is. Instead of stomach pains at the thought of a college reunion, we should be thrilled every time those invitations are extended. After all, who needs Facebook when you've got real life?