Tuesday, March 29, 2016

How do I make friends?

On the first day of 20.109, I looked around the classroom and saw a few familiar faces (a.k.a. the people who had also taken 7.03, 5.12, and 20.110 last semester), but no one that I knew particularly well or was friends with, except for Ann.  Ann and I lived in the same suite in our dorm since the beginning of freshman year.  So when Ann and I both declared Course 20, I was excited to have one of my best friends at MIT be in the same major as me.  It was reassuring to know that I would have a friend in basically all of my classes for the rest of my MIT career.  Asking a friend for help on a pset would be as easy as walking a few feet from my room to Ann’s room.

As Noreen explained having lab partners on the first day of class, Ann and I looked around the room and agreed to be lab partners.  Although I did want to meet and become friends with more Course 20 sophomores, the convenience of being lab partners with someone who I already knew so well and was comfortable around overpowered the fear of having to talk to someone new.  Besides, Noreen had said that by the end of the semester, everyone in the class would get to know each other very well.  After all, we will be spending 8 hours a week in lab together.  I still had the chance to make new Course 20 friends without going through the effort of becoming lab partners with someone else…right?

By the time the draft of the protein engineering summary was due, I still had not made any new Course 20 friends.  Sure, I was friendly with everyone in our lab section, but I didn’t really know any of them at all.  During lab, I pretty much spent all my time with Ann. If I had Ann, did I really need more Course 20 friends?  It’d be nice but I resigned myself to not going out of my way to talk to anyone in our lab section.

The morning the draft was due, Ann and I were still pretty confused about what our results had meant.  Desperate times called for desperate measures… Desperate measures meaning messaging Greg and Yasemin, who did the same D23H mutation as we did.  After calming down from the social anxiety of messaging people you don’t really know for the first time, we decided to walk to the student center to get coffee and work in the reading room.  As we looked for an empty room (there were none), we found Greg and Yasemin working in one of the rooms!  They signaled us to join them and I was so grateful that they did.

For the next 7 hours, the four of us worked in the same room, asking each other questions about how they organized their summary and how they managed to fit all the information on each slide (being concise is really hard).  The last ten minutes before the draft was due deteriorated into a screaming party (apologies to all the people in the reading rooms that Saturday):
“Ah! Why won’t this fit??”
“Hurry there’s 5 minutes left!”
“Just send the email already!!!”
“Wait, what’s the email we send it to?”

Those 7 hours was a bonding experience I’ll likely never forget.  Even though it was a stressful 7 hours, the four of us conquered the protein engineering draft together!  And, I finally made my first Course 20 friends (who was not Ann)! 

If lab isn’t the place where you become friends with other people (who are not your lab partner) in 20.109, the reading room in student center where you work on the protein engineering summary draft for 7 hours is the place to go. 

No comments:

Post a Comment