A few months ago, I found myself in a room with a group of people most of whom had attended the same college as they talked about their college experience. I found myself disturbed (and I use that word quite intentionally) by their attachment to their college experience. Their nostalgia was overwhelming! And more than that, their obsession with their college, specifically it being considered very close to “Ivy League” was more than a little disrespectful to someone who didn’t go to an Ivy League school.
Still, when I hear people wax nostalgia about their universities, I’m not only confused, I’m annoyed, and I’m not sure why. Truthfully, I enjoyed college, I liked my classes and my school. But five years later, I don’t have an emotional attachment to the school. I have the same feeling about my high school. I have no interest to attend a reunion, I keep in touch with the people I want to keep in touch with intentionally, and I just can’t muster up a whole lot of “college spirit.”
One of the pieces of advice I’d give to young women is that your college doesn’t really matter. With determination, drive and relentless ambition, whether you went to a small community college or the most prestigious Ivy League university, you can be successful and rise to the top of your industry. Will a prestigious school get you your first job more quickly? Maybe. But even that name can’t substitute for great internships, phenomenal networking and a work ethic second to none.
So what do you think, readers? Am I off my rocker? Is it normal to be so attached to your alma mater? Or am I more “normal” in my feeling of saying thanks for the memories, but no more nostalgia?
Marcy Twete is the Founder and CEO of Career Girl Network and the author of the book “You Know Everybody! A Career Girl’s Guide to Building a Network That Works.” At Career Girl Network, Marcy provides women with information, resources, and networking to empower them in their careers and to advance the work of women in business as a whole. Prior to launching Career Girl Network, Marcy worked in numerous nonprofit organizations and as a consultant in the field of nonprofit fundraising, marketing, and community relations. Marcy is a graduate of the College of St. Benedict in St. Joseph, Minnesota, and a native of rural North Dakota. She is the Vice Chair of the Chicago Board of Directors for Step Up Women’s Network in Chicago and a member of the Advisory Board for Girls on the Run Twin Cities, and is dedicated to advancing the work of organizations that move the needle for women and girls worldwide.