Alumni Perspective 2000

Posted on April 23rd, 2010 by

Hafa Adai fellow members of the class of 2000,

As I write this “alumni perspective” from my modest second story balcony, I can hear the waves crashing into the coral cliffs of Lao Lao Bay. It is dark out so I can’t actually see the water, but its gentle rhythm reminds me that it’s there. No matter where I go on this little island it’s hard to escape the presence of the water. What a bizarre place – Saipan. It is truly a pinprick of an island on the globe somewhere in between Hawaii and the Philippines. It takes a whole day to get here (actually two because you lose one mysteriously on the journey) and I’m pretty sure it’s 16 time zones away from the Midwest. Most of the island is covered by jungle – the thick, green, impenetrable kind of jungle that requires a machete (or a chain saw) to navigate. The villages scattered across the island haven’t changed that much in the past 40 years. Most of the villages include a collection of small, concrete homes with tin roofs. It’s not uncommon to see several lines of drying clothes, the rusted out carcasses of a few cars, and perhaps a cow or a couple of goats. But the villages have changed some too. Now they’re connected to each other by mostly-paved roads and feature Shell gas stations, an occasional McDonalds, some car rental shops, and a few other modern amenities. The pace of life here is slow, as it should be on a tropical island. The beaches are gorgeous and one can watch a million dollar sunset over the Pacific Ocean almost nightly.

So it is from this tropical paradise, that I reflect a bit as our ten-year college reunion quickly approaches. It is hard to believe that it has been ten years since we turned our tassels. One of the fascinating and most enjoyable aspects about my four years at Gustavus was the opportunity to meet so many people from so many different walks of life. I lived with roommates who came from four different states. I studied with professors with incredibly diverse academic backgrounds. I wrote lab reports with, ate dinner in the caf with, and presented research with people from all different socio-economic backgrounds, political points of view, and professional aspirations. For four years the 600 of us essentially shared our lives with each other. And each one of us contributed in some small way to the education of the entire class. Our lives crossed for a brief moment and then separated again as we all branched off into our own versions of the “real world.” After ten years it has been fun for me to look back at that “moment” and remember the people I shared it with. I feel blessed to have shared those four years with you all. But I also find it incredibly rewarding and exciting to hear of our classmates’ adventures and successes since graduating. Our collective accomplishments over the past decade are truly remarkable. It’s not often that we get to reconnect and share these stories with each other. I certainly hope to have that opportunity in September.


Josh Stevens


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