Alum reflects after Homecoming

I wanted to write you a great letter. I wanted write you an insightful piece that provides a fresh and heartwarming perspective on Homecoming. I wanted to write you a letter full of the advice and wisdom I’ve collected since leaving Williams. Actually, I did write that letter. But it’s not this letter. This letter is much more important, and I trust that you will pass it on to those who need to read it.

Please tell my friends that I love them. Please tell them – those that I was blessed enough to have spent time with this weekend, and those that I wish I could have seen – that I would not be the person I am today if it were not for their love and care for me. Please tell them that I am sorry for almost deciding not to come back and visit. Because, until this weekend, I didn’t understand the immense importance of their existence in my life.

You see, I have spent the last five months of my life neatly filing away the Williams years, thinking I was moving on. I still kept in touch with some friends, but I knew it could never be the same as it was before – no more long nights in Sawyer, no more midweek lunch dates, no more Saturday night antics. My friends, as I understood it, were a very important part of a very formative part of my life. But that part, so I thought, was very much in the past.

What I didn’t understand, and what I realized this weekend – with every conversation, every embrace, every warm and familiar smile – is that those people contribute to my life every day. Small pieces of them live in me now and will continue to live in me so long as I am living. They inform the decisions I make, the values I hold, the way that I interact with the world. And every time I thirst for love or joy, I draw it from a deep, deep well that all of those people have poured themselves into.

So to my friends: thank you for being you. Thank you for investing in me. And please, if I may ask one thing, continue to invest in each other.

Matt Gustafson ’08

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