Thursday, April 3, 2008

Duly Noted

image: Joe Shlabotnik
After graduating from high school, I attended and graduated from a fairly well-known, private mid-sized university. At the time, this school was one of my "safeties". Now, this school would certainly not offer me admission if I showed up with the STA scores that I had then. The farthest I'd probably get would be the waiting list. What a difference 14 years makes!

It took me a while to love my school - it was in a part of the country that I had never spent a lot of time in outside of childhood and the culture shock was pretty shocking. It also wasn't my first choice school and so I had to go through the arduous process of changing my admittedly unrealistic expectations about the right school for me. Nevertheless, I learned to love and fully embrace my school and I can easily report that I had a truly great time in college (and yes, I did get an education).

So, as I looked in the mail box, I saw the familiar logo. It was the school's quarterly magazine that is sent out to alumni. In the early years after I had graduated, I coveted this quarterly dose of school pride. As the years have passed - in May, it will have been 10 years since I graduated (dear Lord, I can't believe it) - I have grown less and less excited about receiving this particular tome in the mail. First it was because I no longer recognized anyone in the pictures. Now, as you have probably guessed, it's a more pernicious reason.

Inevitably, the Class Notes for my year and those immediately preceeding and following it now contain the same announcement over and over again: so and so is pleased to announce the birth of their first, second, even third child. My years-range has moved past the marriage stage (that was a few years ago - what the early aughts are now peppering their announcements with) and we've now moved into baby-land.

What's amazing is that if you go maybe a decade back in the classes (so those who are 20 years out from graduation), there are very few birth announcements and its all about what that person is doing for their career. I am stuck in that time frame where my fellow alum's only accomplishment has apparently been the fact that they were either knocked up or got someone knocked up and they had a baby. Are people not advancing in their careers so that their only news is this? We're talking 10 years since graduation!

You have also probably ventured a guess that part of my hostility comes from the fact that I'm jealous as hell. You are absolutely right. But, what I have realized is that in wanting to place that special birth announcement, I would just be adding to the clutter of announcements that, at their minimum, herald and celebrate someone's fecundity - something I can't even come close to boasting about, so far. (Can I send in an announcement that I have endured two years of medical intervention to get pregnant and two miscarriages?)

So, I'm not going to wait to place my announcement when we have a child - however and whenever that blessed event may occur. I'm going to find some other recent achievement that highlights my accomplishments since graduation and send that in. Once again, I will change my expectations of what I should be doing and do what I was really meant to do.

6 comments:

Emily said...

Ugh. I can completely relate. Just got my HS Alum newsletter and thought the same exact thing. I also hate running into old classmates and when they ask what I've been up to. Because then the standard answer was always, "Well, other than focusing on my career ... not much." I hate that.

Denise said...

Until you said it, I didn't even realize I was coming up on 10 years for college grad too. Crap. I remember feeling old when I hit 10 years after high school grad. And it has already been another 4 years? Yikes.

This post reminded me. I once saw a card at Target that you would send out to announce a pregnancy. I couldn't believe anyone would buy it and send it out (if it were me, I, and the pregnancy, would of course have been immediately cursed by it). My immediate thought was that they don't make cards we can send to people to announce that we are struggling (I mean, surviving) with infertility and loss. Maybe they should.

jrp said...

Did you really shred that stuff and take a picture!
I love that.
About three or four years ago I started dumping my law school alumni stuff in the trash as it arrived.
I don't think my college (which was a little state school which might not have a very active alumni association) even knows where I live (and I am happy to keep it that way!).

jp said...

oops, I sent you that first comment from my other account (where my cat maintains HER blog)...sorry.

JJ said...

I cringe when my college magazine comes...I have to avoid the baby-announcements. Good for you for sending in a personal accomplishment!

JellyBelly said...

although i love getting my alumni magazine i dread the "alumni album" section. i also really hate it when university friends run into me and ask me how many kids i have.

why not ask me what i've accomplished since graduating? what i've been doing? why is my uterus so interesting?????