Hello reader, long time no read. I apologize for these small hiatuses. Lately I’ve had a lot on my plate with sorting out university stuff, work stuff and now, first day of class. Also, it is fair to point out that I have not had anything important or interesting to write. I mean, I am quite normal. Too normal for my own good. I do meow through me window in hope someone will meow back; but that’s pretty much it.
Nonetheless, let me grace you with the oddities of my life. First off, as a new graduate student we are offered an orientation and a random pep-talk about how special we are and how we can totally do this. However, this one random talk was given two days before class. Of course, no matter how shy you are, or how much you don’t want to go, skipping the orientation is not an option. Either you go or you go. And so I went.
The orientation was not anything out of the ordinary. The usual ‘here’s where you add classes’, ‘there’s paperwork for everything’, ‘you guys are the 40% of the applicants who applied, congrats’, and so forth. It was a big group of grad students so there was no space for individual presentations and dumb icebreakers. There was, however, a mixer later that day at a nice restaurant/café/bar down the street (23 minutes away from my apartment). I, being socially challenged with a fear of big crowds, decided not to go. However, I was faced with the need to go because let’s face it, I’m alone and I want friends. So I was holding my fear with one hand and I was holding my need for friends on the other.
Whenever this type of problem surges I resort to my not so logical or democratic counsel which is consisted of Mr. Grumpy and Gringa Bestie. They usually give their opinion/order and the voices in my head usually come to a consensus of each opinion/order. In general, Mr. G and GB don’t agree on anything and it’s up to me to work as the tie breaker. However, this time they were both on the same page. They were clearly tired of me whining because I had no friends and I never went out to have fun so they decided to send me on my way to the mixer. At first I had conflicting emotions about it because I wanted to go but I didn’t want to walk 23 minutes to get there; it was at 7:00 and it got dark around 9:00. And if I didn’t meet anybody I was going to cry myself to sleep. You know, the usual. Then again, I really wanted to go out, and have an excuse to wear a dress, I wanted wine and I REALLY wanted to meet people. So after one hour of text-fighting with both of them I caved.
I was well aware how uncomfortable I was walking there. I felt self-conscious and scared. My legs were practically made of rubber and the stress was giving me a stomach ache. When I finally made t there I was able to actually get some words out to a group of people: “are you grad students too?”. And that’s how it all started. Before I knew it I had a glass of wine in my hand and I was talking to people from South Georgia, South Carolina, California and such. I met people here and there, guys, gals, and the unidentified gender.
At some point I met someone from my cohort. It was fine for a while but it was clear she had gotten bored with me and was ready to move on to the next person. I didn’t oppose her and just used the ‘I need a refill’ excuse. I was calm and collected while I was being approached and talked to but when I came back that was not the case. The attention had shifted from me to anybody but me. I was no longer part of any group and I was just standing there drinking wine, a little too fast for my own good.
I finally caved and decided it was time to leave. I mean, I had been there for a whole hour. I came, I saw, I conquered (somewhat). Yet, I wasn’t ready to leave. I liked the feeling of meeting new people and the fact that people were surprised when I told them where I was from. As I was about to leave I spotted a girl sitting by the bar. I was not sure if she was a graduate student but I felt compelled to talk to her.
When I approached said girl, I found that that she was a grad student. More than that, she was part of my cohort and she shared the same concentration as me. And there was much rejoicing! At some point the other classmate joined the conversation and it was a pleasant conversation. We talked for a good 40 minutes until it became known that I had to leave because I needed to walk back home. She freaked and told me she would give me a ride. All in all, I got home alive and unharmed. I was very happy to have met two excellent people. We’re not besties as of yet, but it is always good to have a familiar face in each class.
This whole situation may seem like a no brainer to other people but I have to say, going out to a place you’ve never been to, with people you don’t know, in a town where you’re new at, can be extremely stressful. I’m sure that if I had not placed myself in that kind of situation I might still be bitter and alone. I’m conscious I stepped out of my comfort zone and went for it knowing that I might not get anything in return. But, as life would have it, my effort and stress paid off.
And I guess that’s the lesson of this post. The worst gesture is that which you do not do. Sometimes you just have to step up to the plate even if you don’t know how to bat. Yes, you make a fool of yourself but at least you tried. And that is all that matters; that at the end of the day you can just smile and say ‘Hey, I tried right?’. And if it does work out, then that smile will be even wider.
For all of you out there, going through this or something similar, just do it. Go out. Go have fun. Of course, with the necessary caution and protection. Just don’t be afraid of life because it ain’t afraid of you.
Signing off, TWS