Socializing under normal circumstances is difficult for most people, and by most people… I mean me. Putting myself outside of my comfort zone and talking to strangers is not something that I’m sure I’ll ever get used to; adding a pandemic into the mix didn’t help things.
It’s interesting being a communications student and struggling internally to force myself out of the house, but I compartmentalize. It’s easier to do when I know it’s for work or school purposes. I can dial up my social meter pretty easily under those circumstances. However, when it comes to the weekend when there are no deadlines and no real reason to interact with others, it’s a struggle.
This semester has shown me that socializing doesn’t have to drain your social battery. It can actually aid in making you happier after long days of classes.
I mainly interact with my cohort because we already have established relationships. We have gone to pumpkin patches, out on the town and you can’t discount the value of our infamous lunch hangouts.
As much as I love staying in, curling up in a blanket and watching a good documentary, some of my favorite memories at Newhouse have been with my peers.
The laughter and inside jokes are just some of the things that you can’t get sitting on the couch. You start to value the short amount of time you get to spend with these people and realize that you need to make the most of it.
I came to the realization that one day very soon we will all be in different parts of the country and maybe even different parts of the world. I didn’t want to look back and regret the time I had in graduate school knowing that there were really cool and interesting people to get to know, and I didn’t. That was the driving force that motivated me to say “yes” more than “no” to hang out requests.
I can’t lie, COVID-19 has presented its share of challenges in social interactions. Masks are almost always present when hanging out with friends, but by this point we’ve all gotten accustomed to it. I think the biggest thing that I’ve learned from socializing during this time is that it’s imperative to do it. You need to have people in your corner that make the time go by a little faster. If you’re lucky, you’ll meet great people like I have.
Halle Upshaw is a graduate student in the advertising program at the Newhouse School.