Treasured tales

At 4 p.m. last Saturday, I opened my door to five eager faces, all of which were attached to women sporting shirts that read “Aberdeen Alumni”. I had just met the former tenants of my house.

Excitedly, they rushed in and took my housemates and I on a tour of our own house, explaining how our kitchen used to be a bedroom and where the balcony had been.

None of us could stop laughing. This wasn’t the first time we’d been paid a visit by a former resident on Homecoming.

As the group of Aberdeen alumni made their way out, we joked that in a few years we’d come back and do the same for the new tenants.

As students, we’re only ever a few short years away from being alumni. Every conversation we have with alumni on Homecoming asks us to look both into their past and our own future.

This Homecoming, we’re all surely inundated with tales of Queen’s past: the good, the bad and the downright strange. We heard about wild nights, bizarre profs and what were clearly the most oft-recounted years of people’s lives.

Hearing about someone’s first date 30 years ago at your favourite park or the late night they spent studying for the stats course you’re currently taking can be an important reminder about how connected we truly are to our alumni network.

But more importantly, listening to stories like these help us to understand how valuable Queen’s continues to be to alumni years after they’ve left.

These individuals still miss their days as students and, while it might not seem like much to us, telling us about those days is an important part of being alumni.

The exchange of these stories from one generation to the next helps us appreciate the school’s legacy — a subject much spoken of, but rarely understood.

Particularly on a weekend like Homecoming, when the opportunities for misbehaviour abound, it’s important to keep in mind that our school has a rich history of tradition, of passing stories from one class to another.

Acting in a way that puts the tradition at risk jeopardizes our ability to do the same for future Queen’s students. It’s good to take the opportunity to have fun, but don’t forget that the point of Homecoming is to make meaningful connections, not drunken mistakes.

Think back to the alumni you encountered last weekend. Whether their stories were short or long, slightly embellished or glaring fiction, what’s consistent among them all is a love for Queen’s and those the school touches.

As individuals on the brink of joining the prestigious ranks of Queen’s alumni, take the chance to listen closely to all the tales coming your way, as well as to cultivate a few of your own.

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