I feel strange coming back. It seems as though it were so long ago that I left the University of Rochester's protective cocoon and embarked on a life as a writer in Manhattan. Now, just days away from my highly anticipated return for alumni weekend, I find myself in a somewhat precarious situation. Having already become perplexingly successful, I've fallen into the habit of walking with an unintentionally arrogant gait. It is the stride of a man who has exceeded every expectation set for him. As you might be able to imagine but probably not it's very hard to adjust when all of your dreams are so quickly realized.
That's not to say that my ascent to glory was guaranteed. Like many of you, I experienced a brief post-graduatory moment of terror, during which I wondered just how one goes about dominating the world. Fortunately, I was armed with academic artillery that released a cannonball blitzkrieg upon the real world. My remarkable resume four years of fraternity membership, a semester as comics editor made it bafflingly easy to land my dream internship. Such resumes carry serious weight in a city like New York, where the climb from intern to CEO is effortless and nearly automatic for a heavily-equipped individual like me. Now, just a month into my internship, I've already found myself following the philanthropic example of my elite brethren and accepting writing assignments on a pro bono basis. This benevolence has obviously received overwhelming support from my parents, for whenever I reassure them that I haven't left my lifestyle for a "'real job,' they burst into tears and offer me money. It still amazes me, the things that pride can compel people to do.
At the same time, it's because of my illustrious career that I have mixed feelings about my imminent reunion with the class of aught-four. While one part of me is excited to see what my former classmates have achieved, another part worries that I won't even be able to recognize some of them. It's been said that high-stress situations have a profound aging effect on people, and I have no doubt that many other alums were duped into full time jobs that mislead them with high salaries and burdened them with benefits. I managed to avoid those pitfalls, and that's what now troubles me. I don't know how I'm going to act when surrounded by those poor bastards that made the ill-advised career moves I so craftily eluded.
It's tough to keep such triumphs from going to my head, particularly when I walk around campus and compare the old dorms to my present living situation. In the five months since I graduated, I was actually successful enough to secure a bedroom that is smaller than any on campus. Never the one to be content with a simple status-elevating dwelling, I went on to work almost full-time for less money than I had in college, which is an accomplishment that remains an inspiration to many. If there are any people left for me to admire, it can only be fellow alums and present roommates Alex "Voetsch" Voetsch and Carl . . ., who have gloriously outdone me by sharing a bedroom in our apartment. Despite what investment bankers might say, I assure you that my roommates' arrangement is the very definition of plush Manhattan living. "Voetsch" and Carl . . .: my hat would be off to you if our illustrious living quarters allowed such a range of motion.
But being that this weekend isn't yet about me, I'm hopeful that my presence doesn't disrupt the wonderful reunion that has been planned. I hope that my fellow alums can ignore how radically inferior their own lives are and just try to enjoy the festivities. I hope I don't spend all weekend fighting off autograph seekers, for though I can't think of any at the moment, a number of projects demand the attention that an afternoon of signing would compromise. I hope I don't condescend down upon my younger friends, who just haven't yet had the opportunities or I'll say it gifts that allowed to me to pretty much coast my way to the top.
Most of all, I hope that I can rekindle the bond I once had with Rochester and all of the students and faculty therein. Each person played an integral role in making me the unfathomably successful man that I've become, and I would hate for any ill-will to surface and ruin that relationship. Instead, I hope they'll greet me with open arms and say, "there's always a place for you in Rochester!"
Because I really hope I can stay.