The Start of Something New

College has started – that certainly is new, is it not? Yet, I’m in my dorm around 11pm, writing rather than “socializing” outdoors. What is up with that?

To preface this: I have two blog posts on the back burner, both of which have been stewing far too long, but I simply don’t have time to bang them out. Indeed, I can’t really figure out how to use this blog area either – is this professional? Is this for my own thoughts? Or is it a mixture of both? I’m not sure if I can really decide right now, but for the time being, I’m going to be trying out a bit of everything – just like I’m trying out a bit of everything at Yale.

I’ve been told that the first three weeks of Yale will be the most exciting, as it is the only time that I can go to random strangers and make introductions. Oddly, it seems that sharing names and hometowns only lasts for the 3.6 seconds it takes to speak the name. The wind whisks away the name as it’s spoken, and *poof*, it’s gone forever. What remains is small chit-chat about:

  1. Stereotypes about said hometown,
  2. Preorientation trips,
  3. College majors
  4. College extracurriculars

Perhaps the central issue of this is not silly differentials between “introvert/extrovert” or even intrinsic shyness, but instead, a fundamental problem of knowing myself. On the FOOT trip, I realized that I have a very strong positive quality that simultaneously serves as a handicap. Fitting into society is natural for me; being myself is not. Seemingly, I won’t enjoy fitting into this new society until I can become comfortable in my own skin.

It’s not that I have specific issues that I need to work out, but rather, I would more appreciate an alternative route to this rat race we are all going at right now. I’d say that my peers are all smart, but instead of realizing how silly this introduction culture is, we all happily play along. After all, even the Master of Silliman College here condones the practice – he published an article in the New York Times on this phenomena. Who am I to talk back to that?

Really, this is probably first day jitters. None of the first days are particularly helpful, or even particularly memorable. I can’t barely remember the first day of my internship, or of Interlake High School and any other educational program beforehand. The fact that I’m with other students who seem “well-adjusted” is probably just as delusional. I was walking with another friend this afternoon, and was calling out to some of my FOOT and SSP friends for some casual conversation. She noted that I knew so many people on campus, but I didn’t feel it at all. Perhaps the same people that I see are feeling similarly – appearing to know many people but not actually at the level of comfort yet?

A big problem seems to be that introduction conversations are much more focused on this speed-dating mindset, rather than a long and steady conversation. Because there are simply so many students, it is impossible to get to really know every person’s story. Instead, we freshman aim for a scattershot. If we get to know 100 people, at least 10 of them should turn out alright, right?

I’ll try to be changing myself just a bit more over the next week. After all, I’m still in Camp Yale – that beautiful time when I don’t have any coursework and can focus on the socialization. But perhaps, I’ll try to take it a bit slower, be a bit more reflective, and discover myself. It seems to be the start of something new, again.