How To Survive Alumni Weekend: 5 Dos And Don'ts Of Your Alma Mater

by Amanda Epstein
Columbia Pictures

It's that time of year again.

For a few short days, you can relive your youthful, collegiate time, and pretend your dreadful adult life didn't somehow manage to sneak up on you and ruin your carefree mentality forever.

This is the only time it's excusable to make a complete fool of yourself, and not be held accountable for it (with limits, of course).

Whether you've been out of college for six months or six years, if you're able to make the trip to your alma mater for just one more last hoorah, you do it.

It's not like you can still go out partying every night, and wake up at 9 am to day drink the next day. And you no longer have free cafeteria food to binge on when you're hungover.

You're also no longer surrounded by your absolute best friends 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

This is your chance. Seize the weekend.

But, don't seize it too hard.

As mentioned, no longer do you have the ability or the stamina to do the crazy, stupid things you once did on a regular basis in college.

For those of you who live for these few days a year, here are five dos and don'ts of alumni weekend that are guaranteed to help you survive.

Make it the most memorable one yet.

1. Do: Reminisce, and reminisce hard.

No one likes the girl who comes into the office every day as if she just got back from crowd surfing at homecoming.

Sorry, the workplace isn't where I want to hear about your collegiate nightly escapades.

Quite frankly, I don't care at all, and I made a promise to myself that I would never be that girl living three years in the past.

But, for this one weekend back at school, you can feel free to talk about that time you ate a whole pie of chicken bacon ranch pizza in one sitting.

Or, you can recount that time you got away with unlimited free taxi rides for two years straight because you became BFFs with the driver.

Damn right, you should say it proudly, and as many times as you want because college is the one place where those things are socially acceptable.

It's also the one place where you are with the only people who truly understand the significance of them.

Take this time to remember all the things you have tried so hard to forget, like the night you drunkenly slipped on ice and got a concussion, got thrown into a kiddie pool at a party or got taken home by the cops after trying to unlock the door to the wrong house.

(I recommend none of these.)

Remember the innocent things, like the endless fire drills freshman year.

Or how about when you took that stupid, clichéd senior year picture jumping into the river?

Or that time you stayed in bed with your roommate, eating Nutella instead of going out?

Wherever your glories day may have been — on the field, in the classroom, in the band or at the bar — these were the best four years of your life.

They should be celebrated with the attention they deserve.

2. Don't, and I repeat, don't: Overdo it.

I know I'm going to be the first person to break this rule, but please try to remember your body is not accustomed to the same level of intoxication and lack of sleep you got when you were young and reckless.

Believe me, I know how much you want to tailgate for the game, get drinks at your favorite happy hour spot and then proceed to pregame and go out, all within a 10-hour span.


Or, if you must do all those things, actually try to do them in moderation.

There's no need to get absolutely blackout at 1 pm, no matter how excited you are or how tempting it seems.

You definitely don't want to be the person your entire class — and the classes above and below you — now refers to as "the girl who puked and passed out on alumni weekend and most certainly does not have her life together."

Do yourself a favor, and be coherent.

Get tipsy if need be, but alumni weekend is supposed to be a time for remembering, not forgetting.

3. Do: Talk to people other than your best friend.

I know you think it's senior year again, and you don't need anyone except your core four, but that's a rookie mistake.

If you didn't expand your horizons in college, now is an acceptable time to open up and branch out.

Those people you were just friendly with in classes, hugged at the bar and considered mere acquaintances, surprisingly might want to talk to you.

You're at the age when the polite thing to do is catch up with people you barely knew, rather than pretending you don't see them.

The years after college are when people mature the most, so they will most likely be genuinely interested in talking to you and hearing what you've been up to.

Odds are, you'll never see the majority of these people again, or if you do, it'll be once a year until you're too old to go back for the festivities.

You probably didn't realize it until you were gone, but those people you shared a few laughs with, did a group project with or had fleeting friendships with are the ones you miss just a little more than expected.

Make time for them.

You never know what will come if it.

Plus, these make for amazing networking opportunities.

I know it's easy to forget sometimes, but you actually went to school for academics.

People in your major would love to collect a sweet referral bonus off you, and those connections you skipped out on in undergrad are so much more valuable now.

Take every chance you can get.

4. Don't: Try to impress everyone.

If college taught me anything, it was to be myself.

Too many times, I found myself doing things to please others, falling victim to peer pressure or not expressing myself the way I wanted to.

It may seem like alumni weekend forces people to present themselves in a picture-perfect light.

While being the best version of yourself can never hurt, molding yourself into others' post-grad ideals can.

You should have a well-paying job. You should be in a relationship. You should have traveled the world.

The list of unrealistic expectations goes on and on.

But, just like your entire life up until this very moment, you truly don't have to please anyone.

What you've done after graduation is solely your concern, and you shouldn't have to shape your career or any other goals to what everyone else is doing.

Spend the weekend your own way.

If you're not into athletics or green life, I'm sure your college offers a ton of on-campus sponsored activities.

So if that's more your scene, check out the multitude of options.

Dictate your own weekend. Don't just tag along for the ride.

5. Do: Make every moment count.

This isn't a weekend for power naps and not going somewhere because you're "tired and don't feel like it."

If you want to take a shot in your sophomore year dorm, do it.

If you want to go to that diner that is absolutely amazing, but isn't within walking distance, do it.

This is a weekend to do all your favorite things in the world, or all the things you wished you would've done while you were still at school.

So, take an excessive amount of pictures. Wear your school colors and gear.

Visit a professor or two. Find the mascot.

There's no doubt the best four years of your life flew by way too fast.

If you just had another 48 hours in college, what would you do?

This is your chance.