I Like People?

12 December 2018

I can’t live without other people. As an aspiring engineer, I am afraid to say that in some ways, I do fit the nerd stereotype, the one that depicts me as a bespectacled, math-team-shirt-wearing science junkie who can’t help but to explain calculus to anyone who brings it up. Yes, I’m a bit socially awkward, and maintaining eye contact is a challenge for me (do I stare them down or analyze their foreheads?), but contrary to stereotype, I love being around people – they teach me so much. I’ve learned from my friend Rachel about having three siblings, from my neighbor Peg about growing up in the 1950s, and from my cross-country coach about winning races – all experiences I will never have. However, with some people, we don’t even need to talk to learn from each other. One Saturday evening after Mass, my friend Jenny and I went to play hockey at an outdoor rink by her house. Both of us were terrible at hockey and ended up lying on our backs in the snow, watching our breath condense, appreciating the cold and the snow and the clear, dark sky. We didn’t talk or move or think. We just were. In that silence, we connected more than we could have in hours of conversation. Without her, that experience would have been chilling, dark, and lonely, but in sharing it with another person, it transformed into something profound. There’s nothing wrong with spending time alone, but even a nerd like myself could never enjoy life without the company of others.

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