Alums.

This morning as I lazily munched on a bagel in bed and caught up on the TV show Leverage, I got a text from a former student.

“Lunch? I’m back in town for Thanksgiving!”

My plan for today was to laze around, clean a little, do laundry, and maybe grade some papers.

But I know how limited time is for students home for the holidays, so I texted back “Sure!” and figured out a new plan for the day.

First stop: put gas in my car. On my way out of the station’s store, I ran into my very first editor-in-chief for the newspaper. Big hugs and a promise to stop by during deadline week, and I was on my way.

Next stop: lunch. Loved hearing all about college life from one of the most mature, well-adjusted students I’ve ever known.

Final stop: Target. On my way in, I ran into a student who I never actually had, but who I knew from his time spent in the journalism room. As soon as I checked out, ran into my friend Ashley, who technically was one of my students 10 years ago, but we’ve now been friends for so long that I don’t even think of her as “former student” anymore. Caught up on her exciting life and got to giggle and make faces at her adorable 14 month-old daughter. Then as I walked to my car in the cold and wind, another alum–a newspaper staffer from my first year advising–a fantastic person who has written me a letter from college every year she’s been gone.

I love running into alums and catching up with them. It’s one of those intangible fringe benefits that come with teaching–never knowing who you might run into when, but feeling so happy when they see your face, then smile, and give you a big hug. I’m so grateful that they don’t turn around and walk the opposite direction when they see me.

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