Today is the second day of Orientation and this morning, as I was getting ready, I found myself feeling… overwhelmed and unexcited. This is a feeling I haven’t had in a while– usually, I’m really excited to meet new people and hear about their stories, etc. So, as I procrastinated getting ready, I figured out why:
I was unknown.
In the majority of groups that I’m a part of, and for almost all the networking events I attend, I know at least a couple of people, or I happen to be organizing the event itself. As a result, I rarely go into situations where I’m not going to know anyone there.
Why was it important for me, to be known? Well, to be frank, sometimes I’m tired and I like having people around me where I don’t have to explain myself all the time. In other words, I don’t have to be afraid of making mistakes or trying to be the best possible version of myself, because my friends already saw all the sides of me. Comfort. Security. Feeling safe. Also, making new conversation is hard and tiring at times. I run out of questions to ask. But when I’m known, I can have an off-moment– hell, even an off-day– and it’s fine because we have a wealth of scatter points that accounts for random outliers.
Of course, when I went to Orientation, I ran into people I met back in March. And we talked and shared and started building a community, so I know it’s going to be fine It just happened to be a different sort of day and I was reminded of the privilege of having people around you who know you already.
I went to orientation today, and the keynote speaker, Cheryl I. Harris, talked about the myth of the independent scholar. This idea perpetuates that students are put-together– the idea of “fake it till you make it.” Before I started college, I remember hearing about the idea of “effortless perfection.” People (and girls, in particular) felt this pressure to perform academically, go work out, look great, bake cookies, be a good friend, and on and on… all the while looking free of struggle, worry, or anxiety.
Harris challenged this myth because ultimately, our best learning does not happen independently. We need not only our notes and our understanding, but other people’s input, reflections, voices, and challenges to make sure we are grasping material. Sometimes that will happen through study groups being formed, but at other times, that also means that we have to be vulnerable and “look stupid” by asking questions.
The values of individualism and self-sufficiency are direct threats to asking for help, because it requires admitting that you need someone else. Dr. Harris is right, of course, with the importance of learning with and from others. The context of understanding, creating, growing cannot happen in a vacuum.
In a year, I read somewhere around 100-200 books. I don't have a TV and I use reading as a form of escape, and I especially like reading outside of academia. It also helps with improving my writing :)
When I'm trying to concentrate, I like having background music that's super dramatic. For some reason, instrumental music is instrumental (pun!) in helping me concentrate. Most of the songs are Korean-drama OSTs (original sound tracks), w/ a few classical music scores in the mix!
I don't categorize anything other than my "random round-ups" because it takes too much work (insert laughing emoji).