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School reunions: 4 reasons why gatherings may disappoint

By Winnie Mabel October 24th, 2023 2 min read

During stints in learning institutions ranging from primary school to university, students often yearn for the day when they can finally toss their graduation caps into the air and embark on the exhilarating journey into adulthood. Dreams of academic triumphs, lucrative careers and life’s grand adventures float around in their daydreams as they bid farewell to lockers, textbooks and the comforting hum of the school bells and clocks on the wall.

The promise of reunions down the road carries a unique attraction- a chance to return as successful, accomplished and maybe even a touch more beautiful or handsome, in a bid to showcase their transformation from awkward adolescents into confident adults. Yet, as these reunions draw near, a surprising revelation awaits, casting a shadow on the long-awaited encounters of former classmates.

Reunions are not often what they are thought to be; and tend to disappoint many. Here’s why:

  1. For many, the rolling around of reunions tends to remind them of the expectations they had while younger and how they didn’t achieve many of the things they intended to. The idealized dreams and versions of themselves they had as students is hit by reality and the prospect of facing former classmates as a ‘failure’ becomes daunting, disappointing and depressing.
  2. While many might have been BFFs and besties during their formative school years, time changes people and relationships. At the reunion, it would be difficult to revive those close friendships if people did not keep in touch over the years. The interactions at the reunions might become awkward if not superficial- the conversation would revolve around small talk, politics and current events or simple pleasantries. You might find that bosom buddy you loved back in school is no longer someone you can relate to as an adult.
  3. Top on the list on why some reunions may disappoint is that people may begin comparing each other in terms of life’s accomplishments. Imagine being voted most likely to succeed but you turn up at the school reunion and introduce yourself as a stay at home parent? A person’s worth and happiness would take a massive hit because they end up feeling inadequate in the face of former classmates who viewed them differently.
  4. Another reason why some reunions might be disappointing is if one ends up running into a group of former classmates who bullied them or made life particularly uncomfortable for them. These unresolved issues may evolve and become more serious problems as they take on an adult nature. Conflicts may arise out of such a reunion, causing discomfort to everyone else.

While school reunions can be fun, sometimes it is better to give them a wide berth if you feel you’ve outgrown your former classmates and no meaningful relationships or benefits would come out of reconnecting with them.