Let’s Be Friends Forever
By Felicia Schwartz, The Dartmouth Staff
Published on Friday, June 29, 2012
As our beloved alma mater predicts, the Dartmouth spell remains as alumni disperse around the world. Despite the challenges in distance and life changes, alumni of all ages said they maintain strong relationships with friends they made at Dartmouth.
Following graduation, many alumni move to East Coast cities with a large group of their classmates, allowing them to recreate the college dormitory experience in completely new settings.
Liz Leonard ’04 said she was glad that so many of her friends were with her in New York City.
“We all spent a lot of time together on the weekends,” she said. “It was a reliable community I was able to utilize to hang out with and answer job questions.”
Carrie Rosenblum ’10 spent a year in Greece after graduation, but said her move did not affect her friendships.
“A bunch of my friends also went abroad, and it brought me closer to them because they were going through a similar experience,” she said.
Dennis Zeveloff ’12, who recently began work in Houston, a city that traditionally does not attract a big Dartmouth crowd, said he intends to work hard to keep in touch with his friends.
“Even as I meet a lot of new people in a new city, my college friends are still constantly on my mind,” he said in an email to The Dartmouth.
Some alumni admitted that time has strained some friendships. Leonard said she found her college friends were more free to spend time together immediately after college.
“People were career-driven [right after graduation], but not the way they are now that they’ve reached more senior positions,” Leonard said. “But a Thursday night birthday party now, for example, might not attract the same amount of people that it used to.”
Somewhat surprisingly, many alumni reconnect decades after they graduate, putting down their briefcases and picking up their phones and address books.
Karen Calby ’81 said she found the years immediately following Dartmouth to be a busy time when people experienced changes in careers, family and location. Now that she and her friends have reached stabler stages in their careers, they have more time to reconnect with each other.
A few years ago, she and other six other women from the Classes of 1978 through 1981 took a golf trip together. She also recently vacationed in Utah with a good friend from her sorority and freshman floor.
Calby said that social media makes staying in touch much easier, especially with friends who live across the country. Calby, who lives in Connecticut, said she can see what her California-based friend’s kids look like as they grow up without actually seeing them in person.
“It’s a heck of a lot easier to feel connected with email, cell phones and Facebook,” she said.
Bob Ernst ’65 said that phone is his primary mode of communication with old classmates.
“I would 10 times rather pick up the phone and call somebody than use Facebook or Twitter,” he said.
He added that while it can be hard to call someone with whom he has not spoken in a long time, people are usually happy to hear from old classmates.
“If you haven’t talked to someone in a long time, it gets harder and harder to call them,” he said. “But for the people that I was close to, even if we haven’t talked in five years, it’s immediately the same old friendship you had before.”
Calby and Leonard said they have also built new connections based on their shared Dartmouth experience.
“Some of your closet friends from college you don’t even meet while you’re in college,” Leonard, who did not know her current best friend while at school, said.
Leonard estimates that she sees Dartmouth-affiliated people at least once a month.
Calby has built a large Dartmouth network through the Alumni Council and lacrosse reunions.
“There are many people I have become better friends with than I was when I was on campus,” Calby said.
Ernst, on the other hand, prefers to have a small group of close friends rather than a larger group of more distant friends, he said.
Although alumni agreed that major life events, such as moving to a different city or having a family, inevitably change some friendships, the bonds facilitated through the College outlast most obstacles.
“Even though I don’t live next to these people or see them that often, when I see them I feel like I’m transported to right where we left off,” Calby said.