The Ups and Downs of Alumni Weekend


By Christian Wood (Vermont)

As time goes on there comes a time in everyone’s life where there is some kind of discomfort, an overwhelming feeling that something isn’t right. This feeling can be anything; a place of feeling vulnerable, playing a position in a sports game you are not used to, being in an uncomfortable seat, or having people in your home that you’ve never met before.

Summit Semester has been a place of almost every kind of emotion possible, ranging from sadness, anger, confusion, and sorrow. When you experience these emotions, the 32 students you are with every single day come to feel like a family that can’t be separated. It had been almost two months into Semester when Alumni Weekend rolled around, a time some of the current students looked forward to but many dreaded.

The leaves were falling and the first car had rolled up to the lodge and my friends and I were not ready for what was about to come.

Strangers Like Us

None of us were ready to talk and be social with strangers when we would rather just sit in a closet and talk to our friends. Quickly the perception that these strangers were intruding changed to them just coming back to their home, a place where they felt the same emotions that our group had felt this semester. Quickly the anticipation changed to excitement in meeting new people, and we came to realize that these people were a part of our family that we just hadn’t met before. Don’t get me wrong, we all felt overwhelmed with all these people but what Summit does really well is create a huge family of people that love God, love the people you are around, and make us love the things we get to learn.

Throughout the weekend there were numerous late night conversations (that turned into late night yelling at the most random things) and sports played.  One thing to know about Semester is that relationships are created through very weird experiences. I thought maybe this was just our group, but that idea was de-railed faster than you can blink, and I came to realize that the group of Semester students the year before mine was much more vocal. Every night there was some experience that either made me feel just confused for there well being or made me appreciate the people in my own class even more. One of my favorite parts was being able to play spike ball, volleyball and ultimate with the alumni.

Bringing People Together

There were times at the beginning of this program where Summit feels like a small world of connected people. You learn quickly that the people you meet are people that your siblings met or your new friends had met a few years prior. It is honestly a bit freaky how Summit brings people back together. The great thing to remember is that these people who were sucked in were genuine people. After conversing with a bunch of alumni I realized that I’d put myself in a place that will have repercussions, in the sense that I will be sucked back into the community of Summit. Seeing this in effect I have realized that it was the best decision in my life.

Life Beyond Summit Semester

I had this feeling that my future would have many different opportunities and that gave me a sense of peace. Seeing the Alumni with their family showed me how strong the community Summit Semester is. I know the people I have been interacting with during Summit Semester will be friends for life. The friends I make at Summit Semester will be here for me no matter what. The conversations, interactions, laughter, and even sadness I experienced through listening to the Alumni showed me what life will be after this is over.

Each moment we saw, from laughing about the most random conversations to crazy ideas, we got a different perspective on life. We are able to bring what we’ve learned here and apply it in the real world, no matter how broken it is. I like to think of myself as a very social guy, but at the beginning of this weekend, I didn’t want to converse one bit.

But by the end, I was talking, laughing, and learning about things with different people each time.

Alumni weekend consisted of all the things I’ve said but also of a sense of community. We all were able to get along and talk freely. This isn’t normal. Since we all were part of the same Summit Semester community, all of us were brought together with a feeling of love and community. Lastly, the overall weekend was better than expected and brought more appreciation to the people that I am with every day. We were all sad but very happy to have them leave because we finally got have our home to ourselves again.