Thursday, October 13, 2005
Don't assign me your peace of mind
::I’m not what’s missing from your life now I could never be the puzzle pieces They say that God makes problems Just to see what you can stand--Elliott Smith::
Since I recently moved to a new location and started a new chapter of my life, I've been thinking a lot about expectations. People's expectations of me, my expectations of me, my expectations of grad school, etc. A lot of people have been doing the same it seems.
I've been surprised at how long it has taken me to get adjusted down here in Athens. Sure, there was no real culture shock as I have lived in the South already (Although Georgia is much more "south" than NC!). But I have had trouble connecting with people. I've been immersed in this community for over two months yet I still feel And not off like I'm normally off. Off as in...not at ease. Part of the problem is that at CMU I met the women (who are now my best friends) on move-in day. One was my randomly assigned roommate and we haven't been apart (mentally) since. At Wake I fell into a group of women who were all a lot like me. We had similar goals, personalities, and philosophies regarding fun (lets have a lot of it!). Similarly, at Clarion I knew a few (great!) people already and met a few more. I had a small social circle but a circle nonetheless. A connection with people at all these places was nearly immediate. My mom kept telling me that people don't normally make friends as easily as I do--but I didn't listen. Then I got here...and felt...a little stunted. I loved everyone. Had a great time with them. Was impressed and enthralled with their ability. But I didn't forge that immediate connection. Of course, in all the previous places, I wasn't near as busy as I am now. School is literally sucking the life out of me! I don't have a lot of down time and when I do, I would prefer to be on my couch with Drew! But still...I was bumming. Felt lonely--even though I was surrounded by people.

However, the past few social events have been AMAZING. I have had the best time with the people here in Athens. I realized something--I was uneasy about a lot of ability, my academic pursuits, my social skills. I was looking for an immediate connection to put myself at ease. But what I really needed was to get back to me! ME is not back in Clarion, or Wake, or anywhere else...I can't look for exactly the same experience here. ME has expanded. I now have a fiancee, I have a more grown up life, I have more reading! I couldn't sit around and wait for my grad experience to be the one I was anticipating. Instead, I have to seek it out. Create it! Live it! If I miss the old days of hanging out in the crappy bars, playing darts--why not go to the crappy bars and play darts! (I did! And we had a GREAT time!) If I miss having lots of girl time--why not take advantage of all the lovely ladies in the department? (I am! And they rule!). But also, I need to broaden my horizons. Just because I had fun at all the other places hanging out in the crappy bars and drinking the same beer, doesn't mean it has to be that way here. The people that I have met can and will! broaden my horizons. Isn't that the beauty of hanging out with really diverse and smart people? I think so!

I wonder how many people are like me--looking for a specific thing. I have heard more than one person tell me that grad school wasn't what they were expecting. That they are unhappy..downright misrable. I guess there is a possibility that it was because they were not sure what to expect when they came to graduate school. Maybe they didn't really want to be here in the first place. Or maybe they are looking for the same situation but in a difference location. Things change people! You can't wait around and depend on other people to provide your stability and "connection." You have to find it yourself. If you don't seek it out, you are going to miss out on a hell of a lot of fun...


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