1996 to 2016

Birmingham reunion 1996 to 2016 – Words and pictures by Neel Jaiswal

Before we all knew it 20 years had passed upon graduation with our BDS in grasped hands and thoughts were turned to arranging an anniversary reunion.  Previous reunions hadn’t been successful and when everyone has modern busy lives the challenge was how to congregate everybody.

We qualified in an era where mobile phones had just started, there was no Facebook and we didn’t panic if there wasn’t any Wi-Fi.  Our first port of call was Facebook where we set up the homepage but strangely found not many of our peers were actually on social media.  After a lot of detective work we managed to find everybody’s mobile numbers and created a WhatsApp group which proved to be successful.  We set a date six months ahead for the summer time and provisionally booked a venue that could host some dancing and some late-night drinks.  This also coincided with the opening of the new Dental School which we were lucky enough to be shown around on the day by Professor Lumley.

Class of ’96 with Prof Lumley

On the evening of the reunion within minutes it was like 20 weeks had passed and not 20 years. We are pretty much look the same but I know eyesight does fail with time.  It was wonderful to see familiar faces whom keep in touch socially or at conferences and it was also fantastic to see many faces whom we last saw at graduation.  We are all older some of us are little wiser, some married, some divorced, many have children despite not being themselves functioning adults.  It was great to see that many of us still enjoying our dentistry despite the challenges of our punitive regulatory council. Indeed we felt lucky not to have the same pressures that young graduates now face.

Many of us engaged to catch up sooner rather than later and already the date has been set for another reunion.  These events do act as markers in your timeline; where before you know it – minutes becomes hours, days becomes years.  The dancing hadn’t improved with the time but the music still took us back to those glorious university years.

(Editors note – the reunion clashed with the Graduation Ball but it was good to see Craig Barclay who was a member of staff at the time on the Photos)