I've never been a big joiner-inner as far as alumni things go—I do go to all my Dartmouth reunions (partly because, after all that tuition and those four rather harrowing-slash-dramatic years, I feel it's something I ought to do) and I feel like they're a great way to touch base with the past, reminisce, think about where you are now compared to where you came from—but I think lately I'm having sort of a mid-career crisis (normal, I hope). And every time in my life when I have a crisis of nearly any kind, my first instinct is to go back to school. I don't know why. It must be, like, an Asian-American disease or something—seriously, last Wednesday I was up until 1 a.m. researching part-time Ph.D. programs.
Anyway, I'm not sure all this reunion/alum stuff I've been doing has helped me in any way, but it has given me a lot of perspective—and a lot to think about.
At the Oxford North American reunion last Saturday, I sat at lunch with a man who was the speaker of the house in Canadian Parliament for the last ten years. I also talked with a Berkeley professor who's just started a company that's capable of predicting the probability of the occurrence of nuclear war (or something like that) at any place on earth at any given moment. And I also talked with someone who, back in the day, was on the research team that discovered stem cells. Stem. Cells.
The best (okay, I don't know about best, but definitely funniest) point in all these conversations was when each of these people asked me, in turn, what I do for a living and I'd answer, "I'm a fashion and beauty editor." After which they'd ask what I do on a regular day, to which I would answer, "Play with clothes and lipstick."