Amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, virtual reunions have allowed schools and alumni associations to gather their members. The new normal has forced many people to find their way online to connect and check with families and friends. During this difficult time, it can be a good avenue to check on batchmates, discuss various issues in the field, and exchange of valuable information and opportunities. Below are some things that can be done during virtual reunions:
1. Reconnect with former classmates
It’s been several years have passed since the moment you step out from the walls of your alma mater to face the world. Now, you found yourself and your classmates busy with their personal, family, and professional lives. Like you, they have now their own priorities and commitments. While you may have virtual groups, the frequency of conversations is becoming lesser. With virtual reunions, you will be updated about the whereabouts of your former classmates, their current focus and future plans. During the preparation alone, it can fuel conversations and ramp up interactions bringing back memories of camaraderie, teamwork, and collaboration that had defined your batch.
2. Grow your professional network and learn from others
Some virtual reunions are big enough to have the chance of meeting everyone. Depending on its nature and circumstance, it can also be very rare. In my case, the latest virtual reunion I attended could be the last alumni gathering we had as uncertainties surround the sustainability of the educational program that I was once part of since its inception in 1996. Through this virtual reunion, one can build new connections provided the interaction with other members from other batches. Your active participation can open new opportunities for you to connect with these people who are not yet in your circles. They can be a good source of information for various opportunities. This is also a good avenue to learn from the creativity and resiliency of other people in the field during this difficult time. We all have different struggles and their learning experience can be unique to them. The sharing during virtual reunions can help you reflect on your own struggles and learn new strategies.
3. Discuss certain issues
Like many things in the universe, programs in educational institutions can come to end. In spite of being instrumental in bringing the Center of Excellence (COE) in education and almost a yearly 100% passing rate in the licensure examination, educational programs that benefitted many brilliant students before may be reviewed if they are no longer sustainable. As tuition hikes forced the struggling Filipino families to be practical, there is an administrative challenge of continuing these programs. As living testaments of the quality of education, alumni can provide valuable feedback and recommend alternative actions to save worthy programs. With virtual reunions, issues of institutional, local, national, and global in nature can be discussed.
Prior to 2020, there has been no significant virtual alumni gathering that I participated in. But with the health crisis still ongoing, a virtual reunion is the safest way to gather people. It also helps people save time and resources from the actual physical gathering. With a virtual reunion, you can be at the comfort of your home to reconnect and meet with your former teachers and classmates and contribute to its objectives.