Wednesday, June 6, 2012

My Few Days in Grad School or Why It is Never A Good Idea to Be Yourself

It's been a year since I left school.   So upon starting grad school a week ago, I was feeling a little shaky and nervous about being back in the academic setting.  One of my biggest concerns, as was my biggest concern in first grade, is still, "But what if the other kids don't like me?"  So, always quick to be the social director, last week Wednesday I organized an outing for the following Saturday, with the hope that if all the students in my cohort got together socially, we would all let down our hair and get to know each other a little better.

A group consisting of me and six other people from my program met up in Fells Point (a frequent hot spot of the young professionals) for dinner and, it was my assumption, drinks afterward.  During dinner, I began to get the feeling that these were not necessarily my peeps.  Like, maybe these people weren't going to be my best audience.  Like, "oh shit, I'm so alone."   First, there was very little letting down of hair.   All everyone wanted to talk about seemed to be classes and homework assignments.   And not "fun" talking like, "Do you think our professor is a lesbian?" or "That book is instant Valium" but terrible, soul-crushing, "I am concerned about getting extra credit" minutia of the worst order.   One of my biggest pet peeves is people who flip out on the first day of class; asking for specifics on distant assignments, inquiries about extra credit, concern over material covered on a test, etc.   Everyone knows the first day of class is a run-out-the-clock situation where professors try to intimidate you into thinking their class will be challenging, but in reality, if you calm the fuck down and let things unfold as they will, everyone is fine.   Or, at least I thought everyone knew this.    I was ok (but annoyed) with the mind-numbing questions on the first day of class.  But not on Saturday night.  Not in a bar.  Not when a sister's trying to get her drink on.

Of course, since I am a well adjusted human being, the way I tried to combat this terribleness and inject a little fun into the situation was by encouraging frivolous talk and drinking.  This may have backfired.  I'm not only one of the youngest in my program, but now I'm pretty sure everyone thinks I'm the booziest.  And the ditziest.  Which sucks, because I promise I'm actually really smart!  And I mean, one can only talk about being passionately committed toward education for youths (youths: how ridiculous is that word?!  It was used so many times in orientation by my peers) so much.   Sometimes you need to make a dick jokes.   And I'm sorry, I refuse to participate in a one-upmanship conversation about who cares the most about suffering children.   Especially when there is a street full of bars in the near vicinity!

So basically the night was a bust.   I got drunk and flirted with the waiter (who brought the table free shots--you're welcome, guys) while comments directed at me ranged from merely boring to almost hostile.   I have been around enough mean girls to know that an insult followed by a "just kidding" is still an insult. Most bitchy comments disguised as jokes concerned my youth, inexperience, and proposed shallowness...but whatever.  It hurt my feelings, I won't say it didn't.  But at least now I don't have to pretend to like people for the sake of civility.   Ya'll opened that Pandora's box, and now...It's on, bitch.

  Everyone ended up leaving around 10 pm after dinner and one bar which was deemed too loud (it was a quiet dive bar with acoustic music).  I convinced one of my other cohorts to stay until midnight, but I was drunk and disappointed and frustrated that no one seemed to like me, so I'm sure I wasn't as "fun" a brand of tipsy as I'd have hoped.

So now, in class I roll my eyes and think, "Who are these people?!" to myself at various intervals, mostly when I hear the word, "youths". Everyone else is shocked and appalled by how insensitive I am, and also is probably questioning my ability to work effectively with children.   So that's fun.  Luckily I have some other avenues of friendship to pursue, but I'm telling you, when meeting new people--if you're me--"be yourself" is the worst advice possible.

No comments:

Post a Comment