For the past week, I’ve been working as a caller for Lakeside School’s phone-a-thon, my alma mater. The job entails updating alumni’s information and bonding with them through what’s going on within the school, and then raising money so that Lakeside continues with its mélange of activities, ranging from financial aid to arts and athletics.
As somebody who hasn’t set foot on campus for a year, let alone seen some of my classmates, it was interesting to reconnect with them again through what remained of our common bond and the fragile present goal. Some observations I’ve made while working here again include:
1. The people and atmosphere have changed.
Apart from one other person, I didn’t recognize anyone else who worked as a caller with me in the week before graduation. That was for only one day; two were from my grade and I thought I didn’t recognize one of them at first. Naturally, most of the callers came from either rising upperclassmen or recent graduates from the school. I reconnected with one of them who was in my Chinese class, who was now about to go to college. We chatted a little bit on how the school was going on, which leads to…
2. Naturally, school life goes on since graduation.
Two more classes, with fewer people I’ve known from them, have graduated since I left. Several notable members of the faculty and staff, including the Director of the Upper School, made their leave, a failed schedule change was implemented with the intent to go back next year, questions on social justice especially after the election, and many more things I will not experience. The only thing which remains of me is a brick which is not in the room in which I work, but rather in the gymnasium. And I assume people may rarely come and see it.
3. The romance of working at your first job ends.
When I first applied for a caller job before I graduated, I was excited about getting a job, to finally make my own money, and to talk to alumni at the same time. In addition, I felt like I did a service to the school—through giving the school money, more students could partake in the opportunities I’ve had.Two years later, this mission also drove me to come back, along with the opportunity to call my fellow classmates and talk about our experiences. Those times were few and far in between; getting money from everyone else was even more complicated. I find myself getting bored with the constant calling, along with personal frustration.
4. What do I want to do with my life?
Previously, I’ve talked about how I have questions with what to do with my life, such as finding a job or what to do with my time. With everything available on the table, or on the screen, it gets overwhelming. But as I work my job and hear different stories, I want to tell those same things on the other side of the line. I want to offer advice for younger students and hope they’re inspired by my successes, rather than simply hear them.
5. There are small but beautiful moments in life!
Even though life is boring, I’ve noticed a different viewpoint could bring a little joy in life. I’ve talked to people, both on the phone and in person, and that means something to me. During the calling sessions, some of the supervisors organized games of Hangman on the board; when in the middle of dialing, some of us would guess a letter. They were funny, especially when the results end up not being what we would’ve expected.The ideal is that we would find occupations which we both love and make money out of. But even when the times are boring, one must remember to look at the rest of the world around them.