Lying awake at three in the morning a few weeks ago I was reflecting on my university days and realizing that this coming summer will mark the 25th anniversary that I met all my undergraduate friends. We were in a bit of a special program - a Co-op program in Economics at Concordia University in Montreal. The premise of co-op programs is to give students the dual benefits of a university education and practical work experience. So, we would have one semester at school and the next would be a hopefully relevant job placement.
The application process for the program was a little more rigourous than for the general program: as I recall, we had to write a letter of intent and had to interview with the program director and, of course, you had to have decent grades coming out of the Quebec CEGEP system or high school elsewhere. Somehow, I made the cut and was admitted into the program.
I remember, with some clarity, a meet-and-greet being held in the summer of 1989 before the start of the semester. That's when we all met each other for the first time. About fifteen of us started out in the program. We all took our classes together, studied together, would go to Ottawa together and live together and go to Co-op functions together. On the whole we became a pretty tight knit group with some clusters of us becoming closer than others. I cannot believe how smart these people were as a group. Academically, I was so outclassed by these guys that I can only guess that a clerical error was responsible for me getting accepted.
As Dickens wrote about other circumstances, my undergrad days were the best of times and the worst of times. What I appreciate most about those days, though, are the people I met. Those I was closest to in those days were far better friends to me than I was to them and I was, and still am, grateful for their friendship. Though I've lost touch with many of my former classmates, I am still in touch with several.
After graduation, we all scattered all over Canada and the world, so I hardly ever see anyone any more and I quite miss them. If any of you are reading this and are ever in Ottawa, please be sure to look me up and an early happy 15th anniversary.
Man, cue Bruce Springsteen's "Glory Days." I hope I haven't embarrassed anyone with this uncharacteristic sentimentality.