You have left a world where your friends were constantly available, and entered a world where you may live alone, in a new place with no activity director to help you become a part of a vibrant “community” (unless you live on a cruise ship or a nursing home, neither of which are likely).
You want to remain a part of the life of your alma mater, but you don’t want to be “one of those graduates” who cannot let go of their college glory days and grow up. The investment you made in friends and your campus was valuable and you want to continue to serve as you enter into a new relationship status of alumni.
So, How do you stay connected?
The first way you can remain involved is to stay connected through social media. We live in an age where connection is much easier than it has been in the past. Most universities and their alumni associations have Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, blogs, and other social media outlets. You can view photos and posts of past and present campus events, as well as participate in contests with your friends. This is also a great way to announce major life events and celebrate with your friends. You can literally be around the world and still connected to your university, while keeping them informed about your life as well.
Social media is not enough
Although social media is an amazing tool, it is not enough if you want to remain a part of university life. To remain fully engaged as a graduate, you need to return to campus to attend major events or to volunteer. You cannot feel the embrace of an old friend, hold their newborn baby, or play another game of tag football in the Quad through social media. Most alumni associations have boards, volunteer groups, and committees on which you can serve. What many graduates don’t know is how much alumni directors love receiving emails or messages from graduates expressing an interest in serving or volunteering! It is a major task to identify people who are willing and able to serve, so we love hearing from people who are interested. You are not presumptuous if you express an interest. We want to hear from you!
Pray for your campus
Prayer is also a significant way you can stay connected to your alma mater after you graduate. As an alumni director, one of my favorite stories involved an alumnus who took the time to pray over the phone for a student, her upcoming mission trip, and their future. The student was calling him to ask for a gift to student scholarships, and the alumnus chose to make a contribution to the life of that student, even though he could not give financially. His prayer was a worthwhile investment the student will never forget. The impact prayer can have on the lives of college students is immeasurable. It also gives graduates a way to remain a part of the life of their alma mater.
“Rejoice always; pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
When we are focused on rejoicing and praying for others, we are less focused on ourselves and our own feelings of loss. Suddenly, instead of thinking about the loss we may feel after leaving college, we are rejoicing for the experiences we had while we were there, and praying for current students to be transformed during their college days.