One of the weirdest transitions of my life was when I went from living with and seeing my college friends every day to maybe sending memes in our group chat once a week. Missing them has always been tougher than missing my other friends — these were the friends that stayed up with me to finish term papers, that held my hair back when I drank too much, that watched me grow up over four years and cheered me on when I walked across the graduation stage.
We’re all busy now. Jobs and grad school have pulled us in all different directions, and it can be hard to keep in touch. It was just a few months after graduation that we realized that meeting up once a year in person would be the best way for us to stay close.
Having just came back from our first reunion, I can tell you two things. One, we were absolutely right. Two, it’s much harder to get nine adults to a single location than you’d think.
So now I share my wisdom with you. Here are some tips for an easy and unforgettable reunion:
MEET SOMEWHERE THAT HAS A MAJOR AIRPORT
It’s more than likely that you and your vinas are spread out all over the country, or the world! The key to a smooth reunion (and really, really trust me on this) is that you meet somewhere that is easy to get to. My last reunion was super fun—but it was also planned so that we’d be meeting at our alma mater, not-so-conveniently located in the middle of a cornfield in western Illinois. 🙄
Some of us were flying—me from California, another vina from England—some of us took an Amtrak all the way to Chicago and then back to campus, and the rest of us were driving from all over the Midwest. In hindsight, meeting in Chicago, a city with two airports and plenty of public transportation, would have been WAY easier for everyone. And we would have had way more time for the whole point of the trip: to be together.
My college friends and I now have one rule for our annual reunion: if we ALL can’t get there within a connecting flight, we can’t go there.
KEEP EVERYONE’S BUDGET IN MIND
Not everyone can afford a spa weekend getaway at the Four Seasons, and that’s okay. For our last reunion, we crammed nine of us into two rooms at our college town’s Best Western. It wasn’t the most ideal, but we were really only using the rooms to sleep and shower. When most of us had already lived with each other in dorms half that size, anyway, it was great to have more money to spend on things we actually wanted to do.
If a vina suggests a lower-budget option while you’re planning the trip, there’s probably a reason. There are ways to turn “roughing it” in a lower-end hotel or motel into a memorable trip. For us, it involved a bottle of wine and a game of truth or dare. We were literally back at school, after all.
MUCH LIKE THE BACHELOR, HAVE GROUP DATES AND ONE-ON-ONES
The whole point of this reunion was to reconnect, to see what each other’s lives were like and how much had changed—or didn’t—after graduation. It was awesome that we could all cram into our favorite booth in our favorite college bar, order drinks from our favorite bartender, and talk about our lives.
All nine of us didn’t have to be together all the time, though. We were never an inseparable monolith at school, so there was no reason we couldn’t break off for part of the day.
For example, while the vinas who weren’t adjusted to Central Time napped, a few others went to hang out in the hotel pool, where they got to talk about things that might not have come up to the whole group. Another vina and I broke away to go to the rehearsal of our old improv troupe. There, we got to see our underclassmen friends and bond over the activity that we were the only two in our friend group to do.
An action-packed weekend is a lot more time than you think. Sometimes taking a breather from the whole group can be your best chance to reconnect with a few vinas in particular.
And you’ll still have time for group selfies, I promise.
Are you ready to plan your own college reunion? Tell us your plans in the comments!
(Feature image via @oliviaomega)