Once in a while, it’s nice to be able to talk about Flunk Day without first having to explain what it is and why it’s so important. It’s nice to hear the phrase “That one time when I was on the Gizmo patio …” or “Remember that conversation we had in Founders at 3 a.m. …” again like they happened just last week, not years ago. It’s nice to slip into a crowd and act exactly the way I always act but feel slightly less awkward in comparison to everyone around me.
It’s nice to be “Knox” again. Thank goodness for alumni pub nights and big anniversaries that bring out the busiest and most elusive of our kind, even if only for a few minutes.
Chicagoans celebrated Knox’s 175th birthday Wednesday, Feb. 15 at The Green Eye Lounge in Bucktown, right off the Western Blue Line stop. It was my first trip on the Blue Line, although I’ve lived in Chicago for more than a year, and after reuniting with a few old classmates last week it seems as though I’ll be traveling it again soon. Before disembarking from my first trip, I fastened my Knox alumni pin onto my gray work sweater — 6 p.m. starts don’t leave much time for changing when you work until 5 p.m. — and I was set to go.
It’s funny how often people recognize Knox outside of Galesburg, especially in Chicago.
Some describe it as cult-like, because Knoxians are always so excited to see each other in completely unexpected places. Walking to the train at 7 a.m. a woman who lives in the apartment complex next to mine introduced herself as a ‘97 graduate after seeing my Knox sweatshirt; a man on the Red Line (who graduated the year I was born) saw my Knox paraphernalia and tells me about how he also had George Steckley for history classes. But last week, I entered The Green Eye Lounge with the expectation of seeing everyone, and wasn’t disappointed.
My boyfriend, Daniel Dyrda ‘10, accompanied me to the event. His former roommate and a friend I hadn’t seen since she graduated two years before me quickly followed. I had a drink with one of the few alumni younger than me and we swapped stories about what we’ve done since graduation. I had conversations with people I barely knew while I was a student but who have a surprising amount in common with me.
Alumni old and new were present and networking for those who are still in need of steady employment — an unfortunate given in our economy, even for a Knox grad. Lucky to have found a good job myself, I’d advocate for anyone who made it through 12 terms of Knox coursework finals — especially if they had everything finished in time to enjoy Midnight Breakfast — because it takes an incredible amount of intelligence and motivation to make it that far.
I will always cherish the time I spent at Knox, and if I had a dollar for all the people who told me they “really need to go back and visit Galesburg soon” at The Green Eye Lounge, I would be able to take an early retirement.
It’s always nice to be among friends, even (and perhaps especially) the ones you’ve never met before. Happy birthday, Knox!
Editor’s note: Laura Miller ’10 is a past editor-in-chief of The Knox Student. She is now a contributing writer.