I was pretty nervous about meeting people when I came here to Kansas, because I don’t really see myself as someone who is particularly good at making friends. And to endure these ten weeks without any friends would make it a terribly long and lonely summer.
Keith has told us that we get have clicked and bonded as a group faster than any of his REU groups before, which is awesome news. I think that the fact that we’re all very far from our homes and we don’t know anyone here but each other has kind of forced us to spend a lot of time together and get to know each other. I feel very lucky to be a part of such a fun, welcoming circle of people.
On the other hand, we haven’t been together long at all (in terms of the average friendship lifetime), which means that it can still feel lonely sometimes. We’ve grown together pretty quickly but there’s not any promise that the friendships will continue as strongly after July 31st, when we all part ways for our respective corners of the country. That sounds pretty pessimistic, but in reality we all know that everything about this experience is temporary.
Plus, there’s the pressure to be constantly social: I feel like if I missed out on a big social event (especially near the beginning), the group’s bonds would continue to get stronger without me, and I would get left out or left behind. But, trying to keep up socially to avoid that FOMO (fear of missing out) can get pretty exhausting for poor introverted Maggie. I’ve been trying to balance the need to make friends with the need to, well, not.
I think this is good for me because, in general, I’d say that my balancing tends to lean towards anti-social-ness. Hey, at least I’m self-aware, right?
As time goes on, I feel more and more a part of the squad, so my worrying is eased. Spending time with this group is pretty much a guaranteed good time, and I’m happy to know I’m part of the squad. It feels good to be a part of anything, really, but this is a pretty good group.
I’m sending lots of love home,