Whatever happened to …

… those lifelong friends?

It was a friend request on Facebook that got me thinking about this.  The friend?  The two of us were great friends in high school and shared an apartment during my second year of university.  We were pretty much inseparable for the longest of times and I thought that it would always stay that way.

As you can imagine, it didn’t.  Jobs took us in different directions.  Throughout university, many more friends were made.  Similarly, they were only transient as well.  But they were everything at the time.

On my bookshelf, I have this …


The directory is impressive, listing everyone along with addresses.

As I always do with these things, I flipped to myself and saw the address listed.  Hmm.  Since then, I’ve lived at six different addresses.  Along the way, I’ve made great new friends and, now that I think about it, have lost contact with so many more.

If one of my old university friends tried to track me down using this paper directory, they’d never be able to do it.  For nostalgia sake, I fired up Google Maps and dropped to Streetview and looked for the places that I’ve lived.  A couple look just the same, a couple have been re-sided, and one has been torn down.

The notion of a paper university alumni directory certainly is certainly a dated one.  The University of Waterloo, not surprisingly, has gone online.  But the concept of alumni doesn’t really stop there.  I took an education program at Toronto and additional qualifications courses at Windsor and Western.  I don’t think that it’s unfair to say “moving target”.

Then, as an educator, you can become an alumni of schools that you taught at.  I’ve had former students reach out to let me know what they’re doing now – as a teacher, there’s no better feeling.  I was also invited to join an alumni group on Facebook.  Just clicking the list of members brings back memories of classes.  I feel good knowing that it’s sometimes difficult to think about the actual academic content but very easy to remember things about specific people.

How about you?

  • Do you belong to an Alumni association at your university or a school where you’ve taught?
  • Do you stay in touch with former students?
  • Have you ever had a person who was going to be a lifelong friend only to find that you drifted apart?
  • Do you use social media in an attempt to reach out to friends from the past?

It’s been an interesting activity writing and thinking about this.  I hope that it was for you too.  Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

Do you have an idea or thought that would be appropriate for my “Whatever happened to … ” series of blog posts?

Please visit this Padlet and add your idea.  I’d love for it to be an inspiration for a post!

OTR Links 11/26/2017

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.