I know it’s a broken record to revisit, but I was surprisingly enlightened into some of the social politics amongst the younger members of the department. I know I’ve been distraught previously over the difficulty in socializing with graduate students & postdocs in the department. Friday garnered a little more than coincidental information about that.

Through random conversations with some graduate students, conversations came up (entirely spontaneously) about the cliquey nature of the students in the department. The first dialogue brought it up amidst a talk about the various Christmas parties that were going on last Friday; he related how awkward it was to socialize with many of the students within the department because they’re so cliquey, as a rationale for why he was disinterested in the departmental party. The second dialogue—late in the night after the departmental party—was also a spontaneous arising of the cliquey groups being so awkward to move between, if at all.

Both individuals admitted there were certainly solid exceptions within each group. The same few who have been very comfortable to socialize with when I’ve had the opportunity. They just happen to be localized within cliquey groups, and tend to stick to the same.

This really confirms a lot I’ve seemed to witness, although I really thought it was my own paranoia or overthinking of the situations. It doesn’t really tell me anything new, just that it exists. And others are similarly frustrated by it, and they seem to be better off because they’ve had longer to adjust & appropriately deal with it.

Other randomness, the departmental party was fairly fun. The technician next door invited me over for pre-party drinks. Further enhanced by a student from that lab with wine. And further again enhanced by the senior social butterfly of the department, when he & his friend showed up with enhanced Jäg bombs. I was lit before I even hit the party.

And didn’t show up early enough to get much food in me! So, I had three more beers. And two pieces of crostini. I was so shot for the night. I spent a decent chunk of it socializing with my mentor & her husband. There was a little more socialization at a table until the music started, after which most of the people vacated to the dance floor or the other room. I couldn’t find anyone left to really chat with, so after some reluctance just sitting & listening to the music, I let the alcohol get the best of me and decided to just go dancing by myself on the dance floor. Rare event indeed. I’ve never been a comfortable dancer, especially if going it alone. But I sucked it up, decided I needed to save the night with some fun, so I let myself get into the music.

Just another small step towards social independence & self-confidence, I suppose?

Reminds me a lot of a video my dear friend Susan shared on more than one occasion. She rocked the single life (at least outwardly), and has been a role model in that regard. It strikes home to me on a lot of levels, both from events in the past & some current. Friday night’s activities was only a reaffirmation of it.

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