Disconnected

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(c)2010 Toothpaste for Dinner

It’s Restaurant Week here in we-all-know-where-but-I’m-not-saying-it. A week or two ago a fellow grad student sent an e-mail to a small group of womenfolk to see if anyone wanted to take advantage and do dinner tonight. I was up for it initially. When I saw that the best reservation we could get was for 8:30, I kind of already knew how that would play out. (Me and late plans don’t mix.) But part of me still wanted to give it a go, so I decided to wait and see.

I just e-mailed to cancel.

Bedtime-related excuses aside, I’ve realized that since coming here I’ve done the opposite of what one should do to build a social network, and that hasn’t been an accident. Case in point: I live 20 minutes away from campus. This kind of distance is trivial in many places but in WAKWBINSI means that almost every guest arriving to a ‘ladies’ night in’ I hosted at my place in December commented on how “far” I live. Living outside of town works well for a lot of reasons–more house for the money; when I leave campus, I can really leave campus; and I’ve never had to think about football traffic or undergrad neighbors–but has also made me an infrequent attender of happy hours and other similar gatherings.

That? That’s not really true. If I’d found some fast friends or other people that I just really enjoyed being around en masse, I’d make the trip. (And in fact, I do and have for semi-regular brunch dates with an astronomer friend.) No, what’s really up is that, aside from the rare and marvelous occasions in which that chemistry is just there, in the grown-up world making friends takes work. It’s an investment. And I just haven’t been willing to put in the effort to build up that kind of love for people knowing that in relatively short measure, we’ll all part ways. Uprooting myself to move here was devastating in a way that I’d never experienced. So I think the internal logic goes- who the hell would knowingly sign up for that?

It’s weak, I know. And I have, without a doubt, missed out on fun times with good, smart people. Also, though I am by nature solitaria and generally quite happy that way, I’m pretty sure that my ability to interact with people close to my age in a non-professional setting has suffered–seriously, I think something has atrophied, and that is not a good look.

So slowly but surely, I’m going to start to try. Maybe not so much here, but still. It’s time to live a full life again. Looking forward to it.

3 responses »

  1. I never really connected with the students in my cohort. I did connect with people in other programs within the Ed School, but that was partly because a good friend (who I also had a long-term crush on) was in that program. That program also had another guy I soon began to crush on. Um… lots of connections are made that way.

    Anyway, since I was staying at the same school/in the same city, I knew a lot of people and didn’t really want to make new friends. I already had my support system. I didn’t live in the grad student housing like the others. I don’t know how much different my grad school experience would have been if I’d connected more with those women and man (9 to 1 ratio).

    I did connect much more to the next cohort and the other people who share my advisor.

  2. It sounds like you ended up with a nice bunch of friends- and it’s really nice that there were those pre-established relationships with friends and family to sustain you as you were building them.

    Our program does some things that I think reinforce boundaries between cohorts, which is not to say that you can’t make friends with newer students- but I think it happens less frequently. Our cohort was pretty socially active, but most of the people whose company I most enjoyed were farther along and were also parents of young children, which meant making the most out of time together in classes and meetings since additional outings can be that much more complicated to pull off.

    (I was so happy to see that you’re drafting chapters, btw.. can you see the end?)

  3. Pingback: Feral. « definition:

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