Dear Ladies and Gentlemen:
I note that I have, once again, received another piece of mail from your organization. I am always curious how you manage to hunt me down, although I must have moved 7 times since I attended your school.
I have not taken the time to open your mail yet, but I can already reasonably predict what I will find inside: a short commentary on the current year, the great things that are going on in your school, and an invitation to "help" with making the goals of the University move forward.
Ironically, I do not remember this same level of care of attention during my period of time there. Yes, I had very good and very attentive teachers and yes, I did get a lot of useful information (most of which, for the record, I do not use in my current career) - but, in all fairness, I was paying you (rather good money, I might add) for those things. The softer things, the things that seem to make such a difference now in people leaving college - internships, a career network, even a "Hey, how are you doing?" letter - all this was either non-extant and left up to me.
I might submit to you that after that experience, requests for aid might not be as well received as you might believe. For me, that part of my life was very much a transactional affair - like many graduate students, I worked a full time job and took classes and attended the college functions that were useful to my major. I assure you that all of this did not build a great deal of attachment, any more than it would at any other job I did.
Which, if I think about it, is a great deal of what it became to me. A job - in this case, one with a certificate at the end instead of a happy hour or rather foolish memorabilia, but much the same concept. Oddly enough, my former employers do not send me mail letting me know of all the great things they are doing and how I can still "reach out" to help them.
Sadly, the most clear memory I have of the school - beyond the friends I made there (who, sadly I have lost touch with - that would be something worth getting a letter over!) is that sense of loss when I realized that while an internship was highly recommended and in some cases provided, in my case I had neither available and ended up spending the summer working to pay for fall semester. I assure you, there is nothing quite as disheartening as thinking one thing will happen and find something else will instead.
I am grateful for the education - it has made many things possible for me in my life that could not have happened otherwise. But I think both of us would be fooling ourselves if we pretended it was anything more than a fee for service experience.
That, unfortunately, will not change no matter how many newsletters make their way to my door.
Your Obedient Servant,