s Thoughts from the Physics Chick: No man is an island

Monday, July 03, 2006

No man is an island

I'm starting to wonder just how much human contact I actually need to be happy. It's something that's been in the back of my mind for a few months, ever since I discovered that all of my fall classes will be online courses. (The courses are designed for students enrolled in the distance learning program.) There will be some definite advantages to this, such as not having to brave the elements to walk to class in the winter, but I’m concerned about the lack of real life interaction, because I've often had an easier time making friends in classes than in other, more purely social situations. (We automatically have something immediate in common, because we’re all enrolled in the same class, and my inherent, inescapable nerdiness is much more acceptable in an academic setting than in a social one.)

My recent trip home has only exacerbated the problem, because I’ve had a chance to spend time with many old friends, and to be reminded of how much fun we used to have (and could, presumably, still be having if I hadn’t moved away). I’m sure that I’ve got rose-colored hindsight (to mix metaphors), but such institutions as Poker Night, Katya Day and every Board party in between aren’t to be replicated anywhere else.

Heaven knows I’ve tried to make friends in Illinois, but it’s been rough going. For a variety of reasons, it's easier to socialize with Mormons than with non-Mormons, but I have yet to make a good friend in the ward, and I'm increasingly pessimistic that I ever will. They are too orthodox, too serious and too, um, unimpressed by my vast mental store of random information. (Or, conversely, I am too heterodox, too inclined to laugh at the world, and too nerdy to fit in. It's fair to place the blame on either side, but it doesn't change the situation.) Worse yet, it seems that every time I make an effort to attend a ward activity or social, I come back feeling more depressed and lonely than if I hadn’t gone at all. (A classic sign of introversion, I believe.) We'll get some new faces in the ward this fall, but I'm not counting on finding a kindred spirit.

Which brings me back to my stock of slowly dispersing friends. I would prefer to interact with them in real life, but I’m fortunate enough to live in an era of email, instant messaging, blogs and other online forums, not to mention the old standbys of postcards and letters. Not that I’m going to cut myself of from human contact completely, but I would probably be less annoyed with the members of the ward if I wasn’t counting on them to replace my friends from back home.

If it’s a choice between trying to force close friendships where none are likely to develop, and putting in a little more effort to maintain the long-distance ones I already have, I would be wise to do the latter, I think.


At July 03, 2006 7:23 PM, Blogger ambrosia ananas said...

I think the worst is when you have people over and then end up wanting to hide in your room. And by you, I mean me. Maybe I should move to Indiana, and we could get together and have knitting parties every few weeks.

At July 03, 2006 10:45 PM, Blogger Peter said...

I don't suppose we could convince you to do something with us sometime, could we? Perhaps we need to come visit.

At July 04, 2006 11:00 PM, Blogger Squirrel Boy said...

Even as painfully introverted as I am, I have a hard time going without human contact. Some of the jobs I've hated the most have been ones where I've had no friends or have been left alone all day, while the jobs I've loved the most have been the ones where I've had good friends. Good luck with the online classes, Katya.

At July 05, 2006 12:07 PM, Blogger Ethan said...

To be completely honest, I am a bit nervous about this happening when Heather and I move to Seattle. We are moving to her home ward and she knows a fair bit of people there. While I know that some of interests are common with her father, he and I aren't exactly "peers" which, at least for a while, will make things rather awkward. And the only things he and I have in common are my secondary interests (camping, hiking, fishing) and not primary interests.

I used to be an introvert before I came to BYU. I'm a little worried I may regress with this move...

At July 05, 2006 5:06 PM, Blogger Katya said...

Ambrosia - Definitely you should move out here. I at least want you to see Needleworks some time in your life.

Peter - Right this very second, I am still in Utah, so you're pretty far away. Should I plan a trip for fall semester of perhaps before school starts? (I'd really like to visit the Frist Museum, actually.)

At July 05, 2006 5:11 PM, Blogger Katya said...

squirrel boy - Well, I do like having friends at work, but I'm glad not to have a job where I'm expected to talk to people all day long. In my cataloging job, at least, I'll be moving this fall from working on a solo project, to being part of a cataloging "pool." That may provide some more opportunities for human interaction.

At July 05, 2006 10:29 PM, Blogger Melyngoch said...

Maybe everyone should move to Indiana! Shortly before I move away! Never mind!

Oh, and, you know, good thing we have a cell phone plan together and stuff.

At July 06, 2006 1:52 AM, Blogger Saule Cogneur said...

I can relate. Of course, you can claim your options have been somewhat exhausted. Me, I'm just lazy. Ten singles wards, and I only went to one of them; my gender must be ashamed.

At July 06, 2006 2:23 AM, Blogger Th. said...


Of course. Blogger kept me from commenting earlier and now the party's all crowded.

This sucks.

I'm outta here.


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