My 20th College Reunion

My 20th college reunion was this past weekend. I must admit that I didn’t think much of it, but I appreciated that several friends and former roommates/suitemates were coming into town for the festivities, and I wanted to see them.

I didn’t attend any of the official events, but I still got to see the old friends a few times: a low-key game night, an outdoor dinner, a pre-event hangout at our condo (complete with a tornado watch), a smaller dinner, and a brunch. It was fun to reminisce and get to know who we all are now; there were also some quiet moments verging on awkward, as so much of the time we spent together was based on an activity, not just talking.

There was a fun discussion on my livecast last week about college choices: If you look back at the choice you made in regards to college (to attend or not to attend, your school, your major, etc), is there an alternate reality that you’d be curious to glimpse at?

For me, I’m really glad that Washington University brought me to St. Louis, as the city is a good fit for me. I’m also glad that I went to a school with such a great Japanese program and a great study abroad program. Plus, I think it was good for me to get out of the bubble in which I grew up to meet a much broader variety of people.

I think the most likely alternate reality would have been for me to attend an in-state school (UVA or William & Mary). I’m not sure where I would have ended up, though I definitely would have paid off my tuition debt faster with either of them!

2 thoughts on “My 20th College Reunion”

  1. Hi Jamey!

    Like yourself I studied Japanese at university and that brought me to Japan. Originally I was looking for a course to study Spanish as I had been teaching myself how to speak it and I wanted to continue to study in uni. My brother came across a course that was called Applied Languages – Japanese and Spanish. The course had a year exchange programme, and I was very excited about going to Spain for a year… I moved to Dublin from my small town in the centre of Ireland to study and a few weeks in I found out that because my Spanish was intermediate and my Japanese was beginners level, I had no choice – my 3rd year had to be spent in Japan! I knew nothing about Japan at the time – I only chose the course to be able to continue with my Spanish studies, but year 3 came along and I found myself on a flight to Tokyo not knowing what to expect. At the start I was pretty homesick and frustrated because my Japanese level was too low to make Japanese friends and I was just hanging out with foreigners and speaking English all the time, but eventually I found a job in an Irish pub with Japanese staff and finally in an environment where I had to speak Japanese. Once I got to grips with the language my whole perspective changed and I started to love the place.

    After studying for a year in Japan I had to go back to Dublin to finish my studies. After graduating I worked for 2 years to save money and then headed straight back to Japan… That was 2003, and now, 20 years later, I am still here!!

    I would be very interested to see where life would have taken me if I had not taken that course, but I have to say that I am very happy with the way things have worked out. There is no doubt that things would have been very different and there is a good chance that I may never have even visited Japan! I would never have known what I was missing.


    • Thanks for sharing this, Pat! I’m glad you found a way to make it work and that you ended up connecting so much with Japan.


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