Every year I have to face this day, this moment, and this hour. The fateful time where I come into contact with “other people.” I loathe the first day of school because I am forced to enter a room full of strangers who I will have to get to know against my will. I am not anti-social, but I am an introvert, and school takes me out of my beloved comfort zone. I cannot control who I come into contact with, however, I can regulate who I let inside my world. That was until my professor forced me to group up with a bunch of strangers, and speak to them. I was unaware what characters I would discover by them opening their mouths. I was also not interested in laughing at jokes that were not comical, and having to put a grin on my face that was not genuine at all.
By now, I thought that I would be used to this idea of “other people” but it feels like every year, everyone is so different, yet the same. You never know what unique quality of a person you will experience. You never know what capability this stranger has over your feelings. You do not know what power they can possibly hold over your life, your thoughts, and your heart. This is why there is a dreadfulness about other people, because they have the power to give you a sensation. As humans, we mostly respond to what moves us emotionally, rather than what is logically sound. We listen to music that make us feel a certain way. We wear clothes that make us feel a certain way and we surround ourselves with people that make us feel a certain way, even if they are toxic. But there is an unspeakable horror about other people because a stranger could easily turn into a lover, a best friend, a crush or an enemy. This all depends on the impression they leave with you every time you decide to let them in.
I’ve had some interesting contacts with “other people” while being in school. It is strange how I did not care for them at the beginning of the semester, and then somewhere in the middle of the semester I started making connections with those “other people” whose atmosphere I felt comfortable with. It felt great making these relations because class no longer seemed like a drag. I began looking forward to going to certain classes because I was able to see these “other people” who I now called friends, even though they were only temporary—The semester ended and those friendships became lost in the abyss, never to be found again.
This sounds morbid, but it is reality. This may not be everyone’s reality, but this is how school is for me. Everyone you meet is not a friend for life, although it seem that way in the beginning. I believe that college forces false friendships because people stick together while being in school due to natural selection, and also due to professors loving to group students together. I cannot even count on one hand how many friends I have made while being in college all of these years. But I can definitely count on one hand whose name I remember. The rest returned to being “other people.”
There is something so frightening about the college experience. It is unlike high school. You are not with the same set of people for four years. You have to meet new people every 16 weeks for four years. That is so much to ask for someone who rather stay inside hiding under pillows! Okay, it’s not that serious, however, this brings on major anxiety for someone like me. Currently, I’m in a class room full of people who apparently already know each other due to natural selection of being in the same curriculum for almost four years. I’m new to this scene, and I don’t believe that anyone is receptive in getting to know me, or letting me in their circle, and that is okay. This fine for me, because I’m not interested in knowing anyone as well.
What is NOT okay is that I know this particular professor is going to want me to group with these “other people,” and speak to them, and possibly exchange phone numbers and I will be forced to take actions that are not genuine and that makes me slightly uncomfortable. I do consider myself to be very friendly, but cautious, and I am not allowed to be cautious in this environment called the college classroom. Ultimately, the horror of “other people,” do not belong to the students, but belong to these professors who forces us to connect with each other, every 16 weeks for four years or more.