DR. WALLACE: I was not popular as a high school student. I was rather frumpy, a bit overweight and had complexion problems. My only saving grace was that I was intelligent. Actually, this didn't help my popularity; my fellow students didn't want me in their classes because I raised the grading curve. I was the valedictorian of my graduating class and spoke at the ceremony, but I only got a smattering of applause from my peers. Only my family made noise when I walked across the stage to receive my diploma from our assistant principal. Many other students had loud roars when their names were called.
I have now graduated from college and am working full-time on my master's degree. I eventually will earn a Ph.D. and teach in a college or university. I have slimmed down since my high school days, and my complexion is perfect. I've had a full and enjoyable social life at the University of Arizona. I joined various clubs and organizations and wound up as president of my sorority. I guess you could say that I was a popular university student. I will always return to the U of A come reunion time because of the wonderful time I had on campus.
Now comes the problem! My high school is having a five-year reunion soon. The only friend I had in high school is encouraging me to go. I really don't want to because I'm not sure I want to be reminded of the unhappy four years I spent being probably the most unpopular student ever to graduate from that school. I know that if I asked you if I should attend my high school reunion your answer would be, "Yes, go to your reunion and enjoy yourself." I'm not so sure I can do that. Tell me another reason or two why I should go. Do you attend reunions? — Nameless, Phoenix
NAMELESS: You're right that I'm a big fan of reunions. Whenever possible, I attend not one, but three of them: my Emerson High School reunion in Gary, Indiana; the Knox College reunion in Galesburg, Illinois; and the USS Yancey reunion in Norfolk, Virginia. I enjoy them all very much. (It's interesting to see how my classmates and shipmates have all aged, while I have somehow managed to stay young!)
So yes, I would encourage you, by all means, to attend your high school reunion. The fact that you have a friend urging you to go should be enough stimulus to do so. Go with a positive attitude and a smile on your face. I'm almost certain you will be pleasantly surprised. You have far more self-confidence than you did when you were younger. That will make all the difference. A high school reunion is also an excellent place to display the "new you."
Dr. Robert Wallace welcomes questions from readers. Although he is unable to reply to all of them individually, he will answer as many as possible in this column. Email him at [email protected] To find out more about Dr. Robert Wallace and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.