Actual Updates from the Alumni Bulletin

The Swarthmore Alumni Magazine came today, which is always a tasty treat. Here are real, honest-to-god updates for my fellow Swatties:

Jason‘s third album, The Epic Album, has been released. If you are interested in listening to his experimental rock and medieval epic fantasy, please contact him at [email].”

Julie is still living at an orphanage in Monte Cristi, Dominican Republic. She runs the English Institute in town and leads an environmental education project in the local public schools.

Qian is composing, working at the Asian and Pacific Island Wellness Center, and volunteering at The Walden School. … He recently served on the 30th Anniversary Coordinating Committee for Community United Against Violence, an LGBTQQ anti-violence organization [I would never have guessed — ed.]. On a recent Northeast tour, he enjoyed [Swattie’s] opera and celebrated enlightenment with [other Swatties]. Qian also recently attended the Queer Contra Dance Camp in Aptos, CA, with [Swatties].

There’s not quite enough room here to report everything Hollis has been up to, but selected activities include ice climbing, running the outings for the local Adirondack Mountain Club, running the crisis hotline in upstate New York, traveling as national secretary for the national crisis hotline board, teaching suicide intervention professionally, sitting on New York’s state trainer board, and, oh, getting his pilot’s license, of course.

It goes on and on. The sad thing is, when I went to school with these people, they were all three-dimensional. Though I try to remember them like that, more and more in my mind they become caricature. Except for all my friends, of course, who don’t write in to the damn alumni magazine. That might be because they’re not “still in Hawaii working on a doctorate in the neuroendocrinology of reef fish” or “exploring the rat research world,” or even “still living in DC and looking forward to the summer after traveling to El Salvador as an electoral observer early in the year and preparing for early summer travel to Italy (for work, not play).”

I shouldn’t be disgruntled. I like my life. There is no need to mock / envy other people’s achievements, even if my most striking recent accomplishment has been bringing friends and one of their mothers to Drag King Bingo.

In fact, I just heard from a young woman to whom I made a difference five years ago. Via Facebook, she wrote:

This is a strange question, but I was wondering if you’re the Ester who was an RA at [summer camp] in 2004. Completely out of the blue, flipping through some things, I found the literary magazine from that summer, remembered poems that Ester (you?) had written and smiled.

Cutest message ever, right? I wrote back in kind, and then she replied:

There was at least one in the lit mag that summer, yeah. It might be embarrassing now – I mean, it was 5 years ago and I already see a younger version of myself in the writing, but I remember it meaning a lot to me then and just generally enjoying chatting with you during the session.

Thanks! I really loved my first year at Smith and am counting down the days till I get back.

Funny how those things are. I’m struggling to remember my own RA’s name from that summer, but I guess, probably because of the poetry, that you still stick out among it all.

I still stick out, and not because of the boobs. (Or so she tactfully claims.) Isn’t that adorable enough to rival Puppywar? It made my Friday, anyway.

8 thoughts on “Actual Updates from the Alumni Bulletin”

  1. Sarah Rose eats cookies for dinner instead of protein/vegetables/whole grains. She still resides in Cambridge, MA.

  2. I've found that reading the Swat Alumni Bulletin is a great way to start feeling inadequate, especially since I'm neither having humanitarian-focused adventures abroad nor earning an advanced degree of any sort.

    But like you, I try to remind myself that I like my life, I have worthwhile ambitions and do worthwhile things, and I don't need to jet-set or add a bunch of fancy academic abbreviations after my name in order to be accomplished in life.

  3. Ha!
    It's not what you do, it's how pompous you make it sound: "Ester, who just finished her first novel, is working for an exciting start up (add in some more do-goody/cutting edge material here) in New York while gathering material for her second book."

    p.s. Sarah–I am totally on the all cookie diet too. That plus coke 🙂

  4. you're all right (and wise). emily, you're especially right. i feel lucky that only one camper has managed to track me down so far.

  5. well, i know someone who only sends in fake stuff – "james is currently working on nuclear submarines" and they always print them . . .

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