Speed Dating: Campus Clubs Version

Spread across the lovely Park Blocks in the heart of campus, white tents line the mossy walkways. The rain and the monocloud have decided to skip this part of town (for the time being), leaving us with a glorious day to mingle amongst our fellow academic compadres. The enthusiasm is electric. And it helps to having a rocking live band in the middle of it all.

“Come row with the dragonboat team!”

“Spin the campus housing wheel for some swag!”

“Here, have a frisbee.”

And the two words that college students love more than “bongs” and “beer”: “FREE FOOD!”

I love the Party in the Park that happens during the first week of the fall term each year. While I already have a fairly full-ish plate with classes and a new job, I can’t help checking out what the campus has to offer in terms of stuff that doesn’t include being holed up in the library for three hours. You know, social stuff. It’s all so exciting. All these different groups of people with the common interest of wanting to get together and have a good time. Students flit from table to table, where current club members tell us all about how great and wonderful and fun their club is and why you should join and before you know it, you feel like there was a connection and you give them your name…

What inevitably happens, though, is I sign up for twenty different and equally tantalizing clubs and then maybe show up to two meetings – maybe three. Same thing every year and I know it’s going to happen just like that, and yet, the pattern continues. Why?

Could it be from a deep, inner longing to be a part of something – to belong? All these people in all these groups, these mini-tribes- can I be a part of it, too? Will you be my friend? Or will you reject me, like I absolutely positively irrationally know you will…

Ahem, excuse me, my fingers must have slipped on the keyboard.

What I’m getting at is that… Well, I don’t have a single, solid point. So let’s bullet point this bitch:

  • Everyone should join some sort of club, especially if you’re new to the school – spending your whole day studying won’t help you reach fulfillment, Poindexter
  • Or at the very least, have a friend – or if that’s overreaching, just an acquaintance – to small talk with once in a while [Even a small talk curmudgeon like me enjoys some light conversation with someone once in a while]
  • I miss being a part of student government [Sometimes. And then I remember why it’s ultimately unhealthy for me, but that’s a topic for a separate post]
  • Macadamia nut cookies are the bomb
  • No matter how antisocial a person like me seems, I still love people [Really, I honest-to-goodness do, but don’t tell anyone]

All in all, the world is beautiful, people are awesome, school is… school, and the meaning of life is still 42.

What clubs are you in or have you been in? Any interesting experiences? What is the importance of clubs and other social gatherings to you? 

Read more:

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Small Talk (Warning: Awkward Ahead)

Setting: College cafeteria, lunch hour, daylight pervades the room. Brain dead students scattered around tables.

Players: Two college students, not previously acquainted with each other.

Ready… and… ACTION!

Socially Adjusted Person #1: [Takes the open seat opposite stranger] Hi, I’m Socially Adjust Person #1.

Socially Adjusted Person #2: Hey, I’m Socially Adjusted Person #2. Nice to meet you. [Extends warm, friendly hand]

SAP #1: [Takes hand] Nice to meet you, too. So, what are you majoring in?

SAP #2: Political science. You?

SAP #1: Awesome. I’m majoring in underwater basket weaving.

SAP #2: [OMG face] Whoa, there’s a major for that?

SAP #1: Yep. And it’s totes amazing.

SAP #2: It sounds like something a writer would make up in an effort to be funny.

[We’re straying from the point]

SAP #1: Hey, let’s hang out sometime. I know this really cool italian restaurant served by dangerous convicts.

SAP #2: Sure! That sounds great! See you later, new friend!

End scene.

What just took place? Based on extensive research conducted with large social samples compiled over the course of 18 years, my sources inform me that this is what is called “Casual Small Talk” or CST, as I like to call it. [No, English Prof, this is not a run-on sentence.]

Although I have observed CST for a considerable time, studied its nuances, and recorded its rhythms and patterns, the phenomenon still baffles me. What allows a human being to possess the incredible ability of CST? Is it genetic? Is it random? Is it caused by bites from mutated spiders? The research is ongoing.

As a member of Homo Sapiens Awkardiensis (HSA), I seem to lack the social component that allows me to interact like CST-carriers. The ease in which they engage in conversation with complete strangers is quite extraordinary. How do random topics come to them? How are they capable of voicing these random topics without difficulty? Have they no fear of rejection? Have they no fear of the “awkward pause” phenomenon?

Homo Sapiens Awkardiensis is void of the CST gene or whatever causes the development of CST. When faced with social interaction, particularly with strangers, HSA tend to exhibit one or a combination of these traits:

  • Involuntary freezing
  • Speech impedments (stuttering, sober slurring)
  • Extreme volume levels (mousiness VS obnoxiousness)
  • Hyperventilating
  • Blank mind (can’t think of anything to say)
  • Lack of excitement/general reaction (mistaken for disinterest, actually signifies timidity)

And these are only a handful of attributes of the HSA in action (or inaction).

Has interesting and insightful conversations with friends... in head

Even penguins are socially awkward

In college, the HSA is at its weakest. We are forced into entirely new environments in which we know absolutely no one. With minimal knowledge of our surroundings and of what to expect, we are Doomed. You see? I just capitalized “doom.” You know shiz is serious when it’s unnecessarily capitalized.

However, no guts, no glory.

Immanuel Kant wrote “Enlightenment is man’s leaving his self-caused immaturity.” Similarly, socializing is man’s leaving his self-caused seclusion. To survive, to thrive, humans must adapt. We must be able to at least pretend to be capable of keeping up with the daunting evolution of social interaction. Introduce yourself. Smile. Read HowStuffWorks and Cracked for interesting topics to randomly talk about.

The previous paragraph is an example of hypocrisy at its finest.

What do you think of small talk? Love it? Hate it? Share your socially awkward moments (college or otherwise) in the comments.

Read some more about social awkwardness:

How to NOT be socially awkward

Awkwardness

Embrace Your Awkardness

Team Awksome