High School Reunions: Strategies for Coping & Creating an Enjoyable Experience

Santa Barbara, CA, April 29, 2015— Do you have a high school reunion coming up soon? Are you interested, but also experiencing a swirling mix of emotions when you consider attending? If so, you’re not alone.
Reunions are iconic events in the lives of many Americans. They can trigger excitement, a flood of poignant memories, and some anxiety, as well. On Saturday, May 30, the SBCC Center for Lifelong Learning (CLL) will launch an innovative 4-hour class that will explore the complex feelings that can arise during a Reunion, and how this event inevitably brings us face-to-face with the different parts of ourselves – with the different ages and stages we have experienced during our lives.
In High School Reunions: Strategies for Coping & Creating an Enjoyable Experience, Dr. Gail Eisen will offer students a unique opportunity to re-visit the rich landscapes of high school, exploring ways in which adult identity and ideals might have been shaped during the adolescent years. The class invites students to review salient relationships, reflect upon their “sense of place” within their childhood communities, examine feelings of belonging or exclusion, and consider ways in which their “personal narratives” may have evolved over time.
The class is practical in focus, designed equally for community members and for counseling professionals who work with adults as clients. In a safe and respectful environment, students will explore the reunion experience through the lens of adult development and will learn a host of concrete action steps for planning the evening, lowering stress levels, and feeling more comfortable and confident in attending this milestone event.
Class highlights include:
• Lively discussion on the roots and reasons for the widespread ambivalence surrounding reunions
• What did the high schools years mean to you – both then and now?
• How do childhood friendships compare to adult friendships?
• An exploration of age reminders and “off-time” life events
• Practical concepts from life-span psychology that offer poignant application to the lives of individuals
• Discussion of change and continuity over time, especially in relation to personality, identity, and values
• The often indelible impact of high school friends, mentors, and unresolved relationships
• Ways in which high school reunions can trigger awareness of personal mortality
• The components of a typical reunion, and the increasing presence of reunion planning companies
• Building confidence about attending a high school reunion
• Practical “action steps” that can help you in planning your experience and enjoying the evening.
“This class illustrates the bold and expansive subjects embraced by the CLL,” said Andy Harper, Executive Director of the SBCC Center for Lifelong Learning. “We welcome the community to engage with experts like Gail Eisen, whose classes provide a dynamic mix of the practical and the poignant, and whose teaching methods inspire new insights into past, present, and future stages of the life-cycle.”
Eisen, a former Fulbright Senior Scholar who has taught at UCLA, Michigan, California State University, and five overseas universities, will devote one part of the class to exploring the ways in which our childhood sense of place and culture might impact our lives and identities as adults. Her classes are known for their interactive format and a fusion of practical research highlights with poignant applications to students’ personal and professional lives.
The cost of this class, which runs from 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., is $32. It will be held in Room 3 of the SBCC Schott Campus, 310 W. Padre Street, in Santa Barbara. The class is open to students of all ages and will also be of value to counseling professionals who work closely with adult clients. Four Continuing Education Units (CEUs) are available to MFTs, and LCSWs who wish to review these foundational concepts from the literature of life-span development.
Students are advised to register in advance. The SBCC CLL website is The link to the registration page for this class is:,1

About Gail S. Eisen, Ph.D.
Dr. Eisen is a teacher, editor, and curriculum specialist, with research and teaching experience in the fields of life-span psychology, communications analysis, and cross-cultural studies. A former Fulbright Senior Scholar, she has taught at UCLA, the University of Michigan, and California State University, as well as at universities in Kenya, Bulgaria, Egypt, Israel, and India. She has presented customized seminars and training programs for an array of Fortune 500 companies, non-profit agencies, medical conferences, and regional counseling centers. A sampling of her print media and radio interviews can be found on her teaching website:

About the SBCC Center for Lifelong Learning (CLL)
The SBCC Center for Lifelong Learning mission is to be responsive to the diverse lifelong learning needs of adult members of the Santa Barbara Community. CLL aims to be the educational, cultural and social hub for the Santa Barbara community, continuing a nearly 60-year tradition of excellence. CLL is online at, and on Facebook (sbccCLL), Twitter (@sbccCLL) and YouTube.


at, and on Facebook (sbccCLL), Twitter (@sbccCLL) and YouTube.

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