By Adam Siegel ’15
The first year out of college was both exciting and terrifying for me. I, like many of my friends, moved to a new city to start a new job, where I had to do new things like figure out the difference between an HMO, PPO, and HDP. There was an overwhelming amount of change happening, and on top of everything, I was beginning to feel some existential dread about my career. I didn’t yet know how to do my job (or if I even liked my job) and all I could think was, “Is this it? Is this what the rest of life is?”
The only thing that made it feel manageable was being surrounded by a community of great friends from William and Mary, most of whom were going through the exact same challenges and asking themselves the same questions.
In those first few years, we all got better at our jobs, navigated the healthcare system, and discovered what got us excited about work. We met up for happy hours to commiserate over how much we missed college, and to remind each other why we chose our respective career paths. We celebrated the big moments–engagements, promotions–and the small ones. Each year we would gather for “Friendsgiving”, and it felt like just as much of a family celebration as any traditional Thanksgiving dinner. The highs and lows continued, but we didn’t endure them alone.
My William and Mary circle has continued to expand over the years, no matter what city I move to. Some of these new friends have come through mutual connections, and others I’ve reconnected with during Homecoming. This annual pilgrimage back to Williamsburg is a chance for me to reinvigorate and re-center myself. In the midst of my constantly changing life, Williamsburg is familiar, my second home. Maybe more importantly, my time back on campus helps me to remember that there are more important things than promotions, new apartments, or the next job. Everyone always says it’s the people that make William and Mary so special, and it’s true. But sometimes I need to be back where it all started to remember that and reconnect.
The legacy of William and Mary continues to grow. Every year we welcome a new graduating class to the alumni community, who will face their own challenges. The last two years have been a time of unrelenting change in everyone’s life. I know that after 18 months of virtual connection, I need to surround myself with William and Mary friends again, just like I did after graduation. That’s why I am so excited for my 5+1 Year Reunion. I can’t wait to eat a Cheese Shop sandwich, walk through CW, and hold court on the terrace once again. I can’t wait to see some old friends, and maybe–hopefully, probably–make some new ones as well.