Never be afraid to get dirty, but be sufficiently sure-footed to avoid the abyss of contamination.


During my first semester of graduate school, I played softball and went to a weekly games night. I no longer play softball, and the once weekly games nights now only happen a few times a year. Only a tiny fraction of those I spent time a considerable amount of time with that first year are people I still talk to on a regular basis. When I started at Berkeley, an opportunity to spend time with anyone was novel enough to be interesting. When I left for my internship, that was no longer the case.

While I know a few people in Boston, my social habits this week defaulted to those during my start at Berkeley. I made phone calls to people I hadn’t spoken with in years with the hope that they might be in the area this weekend. Unfortunately, a lot of the people I knew in the area were either out of town or already had plans for Memorial Day weekend. I seized the opportunity to have lunch with an old friend and meet a new one today, but after lunch, we went our separate ways.

To stave off boredom, I worked on research after returning to my dorms. Unfortunately, I could only work for so long and decided to go for a walk. Within a minute of stepping outside, I saw a familiar face. While I have had no more than five conversations with this person in my life most of which lasted for only a few minutes, the very fact that I recognized someone made my day.

The experience of being in a new place reminds me of an episode of Futurama in which Bender reboots in front of a bunch of penguins and switches to “Penguin Mode.” With Fry and Leela away, Bender builds a new social network around his Plutonian (the penguins are located on Pluto) pals.

I ended up hanging out with the friend I had run into for a couple hours, during the course of which he invited me to a bunch of social events taking place this week. I gladly accepted all of them.


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