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This Column Is Ironic: Well, Thank God That’s Over

Good job, everyone! We made it. Another Reunion Homecoming Weekend down. We all woke up Monday morning to a campus commute hampered only by the usual limb-mangling bike accidents. No more trying to dash past confused alums while furiously running to math lecture. None of us will have to experience this madness again until that horrifying weekend in April when ProFros descend on Stanford like locusts from some biblical plague.

I mean, let’s face it: Reunion Homecoming is nothing more than Admit Weekend for alums. They come back to campus after years away to gawk at all of the new buildings and reminisce of days gone by. Yet, really, they just end up being another obstacle for me to bike around. I mean, seriously, there are enough Asian tourists on campus trying to photograph Stanford students on a daily basis. Do we really need alumni getting in on the act as well?

I can forgive those alums from the classes of ’60 or ’70 who ventured back to the Farm this past weekend for such a heinous transgression. After all, I’m pretty sure Herbert Hoover was still in his junior year while they were on campus. The most irritating technology they had to contend with during their time here was Sigma Chi blasting ‘The Entertainer” for the thousandth time on the campus’ sole phonograph. They really don’t know any better.

No, it’s those of you from the class of ’05 that I’m looking at right now. Come on, guys. You only graduated five years ago. Facebook was around when you were here. Let’s come to grips with this: your time at Stanford just wasn’t that long ago. Is it that difficult to leave this place? Half of you probably co-termed, too. I’m sure you have better things to do at Goldman Sachs or your consulting firm. It’s kind of tough to relive your glory days doing body shots at Sigma Nu when you were just there as a sketchy grad student a few months ago. I know the real world is hard (or so I hear—I don’t want to be there yet), but you don’t have to clog up the Circle of Death when I’m late for class.

When it comes down to it, I’m really not allowed to say any of these things. I’m violating one of the central tenets of being a Stanford student: know how to network. Why do you think Stanford is a top-tier school? Sure, we’re smart, but there must be something else that really sets us apart. It takes a little more than sheer brainpower to overcome the 7-percent acceptance rate here—a stat that’s plummeting more than the Dow Jones Index every year. It just so happens that all of us here had that little something extra: we know how to present ourselves.

In the end, I like to think this is why Reunion Homecoming exists. It’s not for our alums to step back on campus and relive their glory days. (“Hey Bob, remember that time our buddy Eldrick from the golf team had a foursome with those girls from the water polo team? Christ, whatever happened to that guy? He was such a bro.”) No, Reunion Homecoming is here to make sure we know how to schmooze. More specifically, it’s here to make sure that seniors haven’t forgotten how to schmooze.

Think of things this way: seniors are only one step away from the real world. Right now, they’re running around trying to snag a job or get into grad school. Deadlines are bearing down pretty quickly. Problem is, it’s been a good four years since they had to schmooze their way into Stanford. They’re rusty. They’ve been stuck in dead-end internships or the cubicles of a research project for the past four years. By the time senior year rolls around, Stanford students have just forgotten the benefits of networking. Here lies the beauty of Reunion Homecoming, my friends. It affords these seniors a chance to hobnob with the Fortune 500 CEOs and Supreme Court justices that Stanford churns out at an alarmingly fast pace.

Luckily, as a junior, I still have ample time to relax. I don’t think there’s any need to hone my real-world skills just yet. I still have another year before my time comes. Sophomores and freshmen—aren’t you all still taking IHUM? Get back to that. You don’t really need to worry about this for a while. But remember: when you crash into that old guy with a nametag while biking during some weekend next October, make sure to get his business card before they load him into the ambulance. It could really work out for you.

Dear alums: if you find Shane at all entertaining or funny and would like to offer him a really great internship for this summer, then e-mail him at [email protected]

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