I have read so many posts about anniversary reunions in the spring and homecoming in the fall that I often wonder why people invest so much effort in holding others accountable for showing up and creating activities to attract people, so they can justify their attendance.
Maybe it’s just that homecoming is a part of traditions that people hold dearly, regardless of who shows up, or it gives them the opportunity to evaluate their journey to success as compared to their old classmates. Whether you seek credibility from others for your accomplishments in life, or are genuinely curious about how your old classmates are living these days, their are psychosocial philosophies in place that are common among anyone whose ever had any apprehension or anxiety whenever they see posts about upcoming reunions.
They are going to prove themselves. To those who not only underestimated their potential, but made them feel insignificant in competing for social acceptance on campus. I believe that the true redemption comes in realizing that your character enhanced the social value of the groups you felt “accepted” by, and that you proved to yourself that you accepted the lifestyle you chose, inspite of validation from others who chose a different path.
They are going to evaluate how well their success measures up to others. To uphold the image that their “followers” had of them and to see how others in their perspective cliques faired in their perspective majors. The philosophy of competing for respect and credibility in corporate America has been a key distractor in those seeking an executive management position in the company, as opposed to becoming a controlling partner in the company.
They are going to find the people with whom they shared fond memories. To know that good friends they had, while developing and preparing themselves to pursue their life goals, had achieved all they desired in their journeys. This is typically the most genuine reason for going, but any shortcomings or feelings of failure will invoke self-esteem issues that will cause the apprehension in attending the reunion (until you are comfortable with your level of success).
The truth, in regard to self-evaluation and redemption, eventually lies in how you perceive yourself in accordance with the accomplishment of your goals. The psychology of peer pressure and living up to the expectations of others still psychologically haunts us after we have ventured out to achieve those goals we told our classmates we would achieve within a certain period of time. Until you learn to live for yourself, learn that your failures are a part of growth, and realize that your real friends back then wouldn’t care, you may never see the need to attend reunions or homecomings because you no longer internalize that there is a home you need to return to.
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