Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Perils of Being a People Watcher

People watchers are a rare breed. Their brain never turns off. It is always analyzing other peoples actions, words, and patterns all in an attempt to understand the person they are interacting with and to define people's true feelings. Everyone has the occasional moment where they become aware, really aware, of the other people around them, but these are not people watchers.

People watching never takes a break. It is something that becomes a part of that individual. They are capable of talking to anyone and gaining the trust necessary to get the information desired. While good advice and observations and even good listening and perception skills do come from it there are many draw backs to watching from the sidelines.

People watchers are like the coach of any sports team. They try to make a connection with their players and really try to get to know them. They give advice on the field and in life. They become a go to guy; a dependable personality, but at the end of the day the players have not truly gotten to know the coach.

People watching brings a sense of loneliness with it, a sort of insecurity. By spending so much time trying to figure out everyone else, the people watcher fails to partake in normal activities that he/she is observing. A people watcher will walk out of the room and wonder what is being said about him or her. When observing others, he/she notices the talking that goes on when other people are out of ear shot. Thus it makes one wonder. This only adds to the insecurities.

People watchers have their own insecurities and problems, but they don't let anyone see those. They are more focused on the issues that surround the people that they interact with. This may be a result of masking the insecurities or distracting oneself from them, but whatever the case they have developed these reactions. People watchers, as hard as they may try, can not bring themselves to accept that there are times when hidden agendas do not exist, and that there is a time to just let people watch them.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Your Mom Goes to College

This past weekend my fraternity had Mother's Weekend at the house, along with I believe almost every other greek house on campus. Saturday was a day for mothers to come check out the house, hang out with their sons or daughters, and learn a little bit more about what their children are involved with. After the day's activities the mothers had the choice to either go home or stay out late and experience a different side of the college experience.

These mothers were invited to stay and party hard with their sons and daughters. I was surprised at the amount of mothers their were on Saturday night. Normally at a fraternity party you can talk to whomever you would like and it is not awkward; however, if you were trying to meet anyone on Saturday night you got to meet their parents at the same time. The level of awkwardness and the amount of fun that was seen made that night very enjoyable.

Watching the mothers walk into the house was a sight to see. Normally when a group of girls arrives at a party they know exactly where they want to go; these moms on the other hand were a little lost. There was actually a line waiting to go upstairs which I had never seen before. Some mothers were ready to party and experience college right beside their son/daughter, while others were a little skeptical.

These moms were invited to a fraternity party and knew a decent amount of what they would be walking into; however, its one thing to know and a completely different thing to experience first hand. These mothers knew that their children drank, yet watching it happen was almost just a little much for some of these parents. The child that they had seen running around in diapers was not so little anymore.

Their children were old and living life, and I believe that was the difficult part for some moms. It was the realization that their children were taking care of themselves and did not need their hand held. The years of work that went into raising their children had come to a close and now a new part of their life had begun. This doesn't mean that the mothers job is over (most would be devastated) it just means that it is different.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Sober Patrol

If you have ever been to a fraternity party or function of any sort I'm sure you have noticed the group of young strapping gentlemen sitting at the front door just waiting to let you in. These men may even be refereed to as security. Be careful!

People working security both have the worst job of the night as well as the most entertaining. They have to deal with a variety of exaggerated personalities due the consumption of a little to much liquid. Some people get angry, others become very giggly, and yet others become very loving. Trying to keep the personalities under control is almost an impossible task.

Sober patrol's official job is to keep the house safe and the people in it safe. However, sometimes they also find themselves entertaining the people in altered states of mind. Drunk people love to talk to someone who is sober. It is a curious thing, because their minds are functioning in two completely different ways.

I believe one reason that drunk people love chilling with the sober crowd is because it shows them how drunk they are. Most people that go out to drink have an intention of getting drunk. They want to feel the effects and they want people in a normal state of mind to be witness to this. It gives them references as to what occurred that night and how ridiculous they were acting. For many drunk people it is a show.

Another reason drunk people love the sobers is because they feel sorry for them. In the drunk person's mind it is no fun being sober, especially not if you have to sit by the door. However, what these unsuspecting party goers do not realize is that they are entertaining the entertainers. If it was not for them many sober patrol members would not be able to make it through the night. It builds a strong circle that can not be broken.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A Critic's Critic

"So what's good about this..."


"Now what could be changed.."

We are all familiar with these words. We have heard them every Tuesday and Thursday for the past three months. We have sat in a circle, while one victim sits timidly and passes out their entry just waiting for what is to come. We sit and talk for fifteen minuets, and when there is nothing left to say we move on to the next unwilling person. Now what kind of people watcher would I be if I didn't talk about this.

In class and anywhere, I believe, we have been taught to start with the positive and end with the negative, or the not so positive. Throughout this class I have realized why this is. It is so much easier to come up with changes than it is to offer praise for one's work. There are days where we all just sit there looking for something to say that is good. This doesn't mean that it is all bad, it's just that we have been raised to be critics.

Just from this observation, it is easy to find the different personalities in the room. Some people don't talk at all because, as with everyone else, it is difficult to find the good and easy to find the bad. The difference is that these mutes do not want to seem rude or mean. They do not want to be liked less for talking about someone else's work. On the flip side, some people talk so much in order to fill the silence or to get noticed and make a presence in the room. Even with these different personalities, most everyone struggles on the receiving end of criticism.

Criticism is something that has to be taken with a grain of salt. If it is not, it can be very hard to swallow. No one wants to hear that their work is not up to par, or that their creative take on a subject was possibly the wrong one. It can be looked at from a different perspective, though. The more comments received shows an interest by others in improving the quality of a specific entry. Entries that do not necessarily interest the audience do not receive as many comments because people have a hard time relating to the topic.

People do not criticize in order to be mean, but in order to help. There is a difference between teasing and and criticizing. Teasing has an evil intent, while criticism is geared towards improvement. Remember this the next time you are in the spotlight, and it should come much easier.

Disclaimer: I know there are some of you reading this that believe some comments were geared towards you or about you, which only proves my point further. Everyone has blogs or works, less specifically, that are not their best and also everyone has those that captivate an audience. You're showing your personality; thanks for adding to the validity of my entry.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Earning Brotherhood

As said in a previous blog I wanted to share some fraternal experiences and observations that I have made throughout my journey there. Its weird to use the word brother when referring to the men that are members of the fraternity, that is, until you gain an understanding of what it is all about.

The word brother has many definitions according to dictionary.com. One thing they all have in common, however, is that there is a bond between these people, a common relationship. The bond of fraternal brotherhood is a very strong one; some even say it is stronger than the bond of genetic brotherhood. This is largely contributed to the process of becoming a brother.

Pledgeship is where this transformation takes place. Pledges are working to gain the respect and trust of the brothers in the house. This takes time and a very large commitment. By putting yourself out there and talking to the brothers, helping them with odd jobs, and demonstrating that you have the best interest of the house in mind you are forging a relationship and bond with these guys.

Secrets are another thing that make the fraternal bond so strong. Every fraternity has secrets that only initiated brothers in the house know. This is something that every brother has in common. They know that the rest of the guys around them have all gone through the same experiences, which allows a higher level of trust and appreciation to form.

Recently I went on a weekend to trip to a cabin on the ohio river with some of the brothers in the house. At first I was confused at the selection of the group of people that were going. I didn't see these people hanging out on a regular basis nor did I feel like they were the closest to eachother. It didn't take much time though until I realized that it didn't matter who went on this trip; it was a great time because it was time with your brothers. It was a great weekend with no drama. That can rarely be said with trips of any other group.

Brotherhood is real. It's not something to be scoffed at nor taken lightly. It is a journey to achieve it, but once that journey has been traveled the rewards are tremendous and the lifelong family of brothers will stay with you forever.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Why No Entries?

So as some of you may have noticed I did not publish a single post last week. I would like to first apologize to those of you that read my blog regularly, and second, I would like to explain myself (and of course make a social tie in somewhere).

Everyday last week, after I was finished with classes for the day, I sat down at my computer and opened up blogger. I selected new post and proceeded to stare at a blank screen waiting for the words to flow. I had nothing. Finally in the middle of the week I thought of a great blog idea. It was one I had been thinking of for awhile and really wanted to write. So I did. I pumped out this long entry with lots of feeling and truth and when I was done, I wasn't pleased. I felt that I was not doing the post justice, nor did I feel like it was the appropriate time to publish it.

I realized that the post I had just written would be the last one I published for the year. It needed to be great and something worth reading. It wasn't any of the above. So it sits in my drafts folder just waiting for the day I decide to let it be seen. However, this still left me with no words of wisdom, no witty observations, and no stories to tell. Was I out of material? Was I really that boring? How could I have nothing to say?

These feelings of self doubt and confusion were not comforting ones. Never before throughout this process had I struggled so hard to come up with a blog idea. I usually had something to say even if the post wasn't my favorite, and never had I written an entire post and decided against publishing it even with the knowledge that I would not be receiving credit for the week.

Last week I had a block, and after some reflection I realized what it was. Last week was a very busy and stressful week. I realized that there was no way that I could give advice or analyze what was happening in others people's lives when I had so much going on in my own. All I could think about was stuff that strictly pertained to me, which blocked the creativity and my ability to perceive other people.

Friday, March 27, 2009

A Friend's Approval

For people that have made the journey to college, especially those who made it not knowing many people, leaving those friends and loved ones form home behind is very dificult. Those people played a very large part in growing up and in your own personal development of your ideals and beliefs. Leaving these connections behind is not an option.

When meeting knew people, college friends, and developing relationships witht them, it is hard for many people to feel as close to their friends back home. This can be a very frustrating feeling, and one that is not easily dissmissed. It is definitely easier to get closer to the people that you are in contact with everyday. This is why I believe many people are so eager to have friends from home and friends from school meet and connect.

Once this connection is made, friends from home can give feedback on friends from school and this makes people much more content in the college friends that they hang out with. Also in forming these meetings I believe that it makes talking to each group much easier. The listening party can feel as if they know the friends being spoken about. People are much more reseptive to a story if they feel as if they actually know all the people involved.

Bringing friends back from school home to meet family is also a very big step. By bringing friends home, you are bringing them into the intimate parts of your life. They are now a part of all you know from childhood to present. I believe this forms yet a stronger bond with friends from school. They now know those people that were such a big part of your past. This meeting allows your friends to see where you pick up some of your behaviors and quirks. It helps them to understand you better, which in turn leads to a stronger relationship.

These introductions between new friends at school and family and friends from home are big steps in the development of lasting friendships. Real friends are those that you introduce into every aspect of your life; and not only introduce, but also incorporate. By doing this both parties are more comfortable in talking about other friends and aspects about life that may be more persoal. Why? Because you are now involved in those aspects.

Elevator Music

You have heard a song referenced before as elevator music. It's usually some slow ballad that most likely doesn't have any words and is very instrumental. I always wondered why the management of such a hotel or building of any sort would pick such boring music to entertain their guests for the short ride to their destination. I think I may have figured it out.

Elevators are small confined spaces that, for the not so rich, are pubic. When you are waiting for an elevator you never now what/who will be waiting for you when those doors open. Sometimes it's empty,and sometimes you can barely fit yourself and whatever it is you are carrying. No matter the capacity, however, there seems to be a sort of elevator etiquette.

Now I don't believe anyone was ever taught how to act in an elevator, but for some reason everyone knows. When an elevator is empty it is business as usual, but when it comes time to share the traveling box a different atmosphere is acquired. The change is instantaneous and is never thought about by the parties involved.

When an elevator is shared it becomes almost silent. A group of friends can be walking down the hallway mid conversation or laughing and carrying on, but once they enter an occupied elevator all conversation takes a hiatus. The friends look at each other and smile, and the other people in the elevator do the same. Once the doors open and a group leaves, and conversations are restarted.

This awkwardness in the elevator is something that is not very well understood, but it is fairly consistent throughout the world of elevators. I believe the elevator music gives a break in the silence and a feeling that is much less awkward. It allows there to be a sort of excuse for the breaks in conversation, because everyone "wants" to listen to "Elevator Music".

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


Social networks have been popular for many years now. With the beginnings of xanga, myspace, and eventually facebook social networks have become a common way to communicate through pictures and messages over the Internet. People have the ability to comment on these pictures and feel as though they are learning more about the person and gaining some insight into their life. The kicker is that you never actually have to talk to the people that you interact with on these sites. Some "friends" on these sites have never actually met. All they know is what is portrayed on the other's personal web page. Scary!

Facebook is one of the largest social networks. It provides services such as an AIM style chat, picture portfolios, videos, e-mail type messages, and wall comments. There are also many different applications that are available in order to enhance your profile. One feature that Facebook is known for is its news feed which is how it acquired the nickname Stalkerbook.

Facebook's "news feed" is the home page of every persons account. This section allows you to see information that your Facebook friends are posting and sharing with each other. This takes a lot of the leg work out of stalking. With relationship changes and new pictures flashing up onto your screen you can't help but take an interest. This information is often a catalyst in visiting an individuals' site and searching through their posted information.

I know that the very day that my new roommate information came in the mail, I got on Facebook and searched for him. I found him very quickly, friend requested him, and in a matter of hours he accepted. Once this occurred the stalking began. I wanted to learn everything I could about my new roommate. I looked through his pictures, his likes and dislikes, and even through some of his bumper stickers in order to get a sense of who he was and what he was about. I concluded that he was a weirdo.

Eventually we talked on Facebook and got to know each other that way. Some of my qualms about this new roommate were relieved, and we began to form a friendship. The first day that we met, I already felt that I knew him, and it was not an awkward situation.

I used Facebook to get to know somebody before actually meeting them. However, this is not a fool proof method. I misjudged my roommate and began to associate him with all sorts of stereotypes and other labels. When I got to know him in person some of these were proved to be false.

Many people, including myself, use Facebook as a first reference in social situations. It is used to find more information about a person's personal life. So be warned as to what you put on your Facebook page. Stalkerbook is a resource for social connections and interactions, but it is also a cyber first impression and in today's world that can make or break you.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Don't Drink the Pain Away

The weekend is used as a time for relaxation and fun. A time to get away from the stresses of the week; a time where school and work should not have to take priority. Some people use this escape by going to see a movie or by going bowling, while others like to let loose and head to a party (remember the different types) and hang out with their friends. Some people's idea of relaxation involves alcohol. Now I'm not here to judge that or say whether it is right or wrong; however, I do believe that there is a right and wrong way to go about drinking.

As mentioned in a previous blog, many people use alcohol as an excuse. Other people use it as an escape. I call this drinking with one's emotions. Some people like to use alcohol to celebrate or to cover up the pain of a bad break up or any negative life event for that matter. This is a HUGE mistake. Alcohol is not a mask.

When a person drinks in order to accomplish something (relieve pain, become happier...) alcohol tends to heighten the feelings that were being felt before drinking. This is what leads to fights, words said that were never meant to be heard, and actions that are later regretted. Let's use drinking to cover a break up as an example. There are two paths that the alcohol will lead the individual down:

The first is a more honest state when drunk. The person will be more apt to call their ex and beg to get back together, or they may tell them off. Its a mix of emotions that leads a drunk individual to feel as though they have made progress when in the morning they will realize that there were consequences for those words.

The second path is a "free" state. The drunk person will feel as though the only way to get over their ex is by having a great time and by showing him/her that they can have fun without the other's company. This leads the upset individual to do one or more of the following: get blackout drunk, get sick, be a social butterfly: being either creepy or smooth )creepy leads to fights; smooth leads to intimate activities), and having the confidence to venture outside of the party atmosphere (public places have cops...). All of these actions have consequences that must be dealt with if not at that time in the morning.

None of these actions nor consequences are what were desired in the beginning. The purpose of the person's drinking was to get rid of a specific emotion. Whether the emotion began to go away or not doesn't matter. If it did the person drinks more in order to keep up the effect. If it did not, the person drinks more in order to get it to. Both of these paths lead to consequences that will lead to regret. Drinking with one's emotions never turns out the way it was meant to. It doesn't work. If you are going to drink there cannot be a hidden agenda. And usually if this is a true a person will drink less and come out in the end with a positive experience.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Texting Times

Communication is a huge part of the social experience. With advances in technology such as cell phones, text messaging, and the Internet people today are in constant immediate contact with one another. Some people literally freak out when they leave their phone on their desk when they leave the room. They don't know how they will survive without it. Even if it doesn't ring or vibrate or sing or whatever, people find a sort of security and comfort in having their cell phone with them. Just the thought that someone could get a hold of us is a comforting factor and one that we don't try to be without.

Text messaging is huge in today's society. The technology that was originally created for the hearing impaired has become common place amongst young people, and now as well with their parents. Text messaging is a convenient and quick way to send a memo or piece of information that does not warrant a full phone call. Now I know that's no longer how it is used. People now have full conversations that last entire days through text messaging. The day of the phone call seems to be disappearing.

Now how can this be considered a social situation? Well here's the deal. Text messaging is very vague and requires interpretation. When we have a conversation face to face we can use body language and tone of voice to interpret the meaning of what another is saying. In order to express meaning we spell the way a word would sound. We also ask quite a few more questions in order to clarify what the other is saying. Let's begin the analysis.

The vagueness of texting can be used to great advantages in finding out information, social information. If you are an avid texter you have found yourself thinking about how to phrase something. Most times its because there is a hidden meaning it what you are saying. You are trying to find something out without having to directly ask it. This is much easier with texting than person to person because body language is not a factor. The other person has a difficult time noticing that there is a hidden agenda and will be more apt to say what they are thinking.

Lying is also a lot easier through text message. Don't act like you don't lie, whether its to protect the secret of a birthday party or to protect a friend it doesn't matter. Without eye contact and other body orientated clues it is very difficult to catch another person in a lie. People have to take texting at face value because there is a certain kind of deniability by the sender if they are questioned about the topic.

For these reasons I believe that many people are much more confident through texting or other written media forms. They do not feel the pressures and judgements of those around them. They can say what they feel, and if the other person doesn't like it the consequences do not have to be dealt with at that moment. The situation can be averted by just ignoring the text. Now this can cause many other problems, but it does show how much person to person conflict and interaction can be intimidating for many people. Expressionless media is a sort of escape for many people, while at the same time allowing them to feel connected to friends and others.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Da Da Doo Doo...Just Dance

Dancing...Very scary for some and highly sought after by others. Dancing can be a form of self expression, exercise, a way to be close to the opposite sex, or just a way to let loose and have some fun. The dancing that I'm going to discuss is the "social kind"; not something you would see on America's Best Dance Crew.

Now I can only give a guy's perspective on dancing; however, I will be be able to give an observation of the female perspective. A lot of guys do not particularly like dancing. The reason many of them do dance is to be close to a female. For men this is the beginning of a more intimate journey. One that could go in many different directions. Granted that these guys want to begin a journey (the destination is different for everyone), but getting started on the right path is very difficult.

Many guys feel like "creepers" when they try and dance with a girl. It is a very bad idea to just walk up behind a girl and begin dancing with/on her. Most girls tend to stay with a group of friends, and once they feel like they are being creeped on, a secret code of eye movements and head nods is used causing her friends to take her away saving her from what she feels is an uncomfortable situation. It takes some ground work for a girl to feel comfortable straying from their group or at least adding another person into it.

I have an Australian friend here at Purdue who was entirely perplexed by the grinding situation at an American party. he describes grinding in Australia as a prelude to a "good night". While here in America dancing can literally mean nothing and just be a fun way to hang out. He said he felt like these girls would slap him in the face if he danced with them like that. I explained to him how he should go about it:

I said there are a few key steps that you should practice and utilize. When you're walking through a room make eye contact with some girls that you are interested in. If they return the eye contact that is step one. Next wander over to them maybe strike up a small talk conversation, otherwise make eye contact again and begin to dance around/as a part of her group. Laughing, smiling, and more eye contact means that you're doing well.

After a bit of dancing from a distance make your way closer. Don't just get up behind her; she makes the final decision. Once you get close enough to look as though the two of you are together, but aren't touching she will either go the rest of the way or back away. If she goes the rest of the way you're good to go. Have fun! If not, it's no big deal. Don't push the issue just move to another room and try again.

Now he did put this advice to use one night and came back with a wonderfully funny success story, eventhough he did say that he still felt awkward and wanted to go back to his personal space. Most girls love to dance, most guys love when they do. However, there is a process in order for the journey to be successful and for the awkward creeper feelings to be at a minimum. Have fun dancing!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Confidence Juice; Truth Serum...An Excuse

What makes alcohol so appealing? Maybe its the taste...except that a vast majority of people won't drink something if they can taste the alcohol. Ok, so that's not it. Maybe its the hangover the next day...haha. Well, than what can it be? From what I have observed, alcohol has been called many things. I've heard it being called confidence juice and truth serum, liquid gold and poison; however, more over I believe alcohol is just an easy excuse.

Alcohol is a very common drug that is used by people all over the world to achieve a desired effect. Alcohol lowers people's inhibitions. They are more confident in what they are saying, in what they are doing, and in what they are feeling; however, these effects are only short lived. the decisions made during the brief period of self-confidence are often regretted the next morning once a person has a chance to recal or be re-told the night. The reason for this is simple. Alcohol is lowering the inhibitions that are put into place by a sober mind. It is being used as an excuse for otherwise normally unaccepted behavior.

Some people say that they drink in order to be more confident. Well this is indeed a truth about alcohol, and possibly if used in moderation the desired confidence can be a achieved. while still making decisions that will not be regretted in the morning. Whether this confidence is in the form of talking to members of the opposite sex, dancing, or just being comfortable in a normally intimdating social enviornment. However, the problem is that most people do not know when they have reached that level. They get excited about the "confidence" they feel and therefore continue to drink in order to obtain more of this feeling. This mentality is what causes a person to drink to much, lowering the inhibitions further causing actions that will lead to regret.

Once a person completely breaks down these barriers, the desired actions begin to advance to a level that they were not intended to go. instead of just talking to members of the opposite sex a person begins to "creep" on them or may advance the talking to actions of a more intamte level. In normal conversation many secrets and privlaged information are shared with an audience that they were not inteded for. This causes all sorts of drama and turmoil. People get angry over broken promises and "true feelings". Later people excuse the behavior by saying "I was drunk".

This phrase is an all to common one. People excuse behavior that they would normally scoff at because they were drinking. Instead of owning up to a mistake they blame alcohol and expect everything to be forgivin. Unfortunately that is not the way the sober mind works. So a word of advice not only from observations but also from some personal experience, don't use alcohol as an excuse; it will only get you into trouble.

Friday, February 20, 2009

The Big Questions

So normally at the end of the week I write a blog pertaining to the weekend social life. Tonight I decided not to do that. I had an epiphany this week and I just needed to write about it. This was one of those moments where the light bulb just comes on, and it all makes sense. It has to do with the way people learn and how they think. I believe that everyone has one big question that they ask, and almost anything that they remember or learn pertains to that question.

The questions that I'm talking about are the simple one's that we learned in the 2nd grade; who?, what?, when?, where?, why?, and how?. So here's the theory: everyone has one question that they particularly cling to. Most engineers want to know how things work; historians of various sorts ask the who and where questions; and psychologists want to know why. These different questions shape people's lives by giving them something specific to study and analyze.

The question that I ask is "why?". This question drives my very being (now don't think that, I do have a social life). Even the blog that I write in twice a week is an analytical approach to why people act the way they do. I find that when I can figure out why something is the way it is then I can understand it. These understandings come from something as simple as a math process to something as complicated as the human brain.

In math I find that I can do perfectly in the class if I know why the equations work the way they do. If a process is just thrown in front of me, I will be able to do it, but I won't be able to do it correctly all of the time. Some people are the opposite. If they learn why something is the way it is it only confuses them more. They want to know how to do it or what to do, but when it comes to the question of why they would rather not know. I believe this is why some people can do so much better on certain exams than others. If the subject is difficult to attach to your personal question then it is nearly impossible to attach any amount of importance to it. Without importance it is very difficult for us to want to remember or care about a specific subject. These different questions shape the way that individuals learn and think.

In more social situations I am constantly analyzing why people sit where they sit, or why they say a certain phrase. Other people are perplexed by how someone can talk so fluidly or act so ignorantly. While the rest are trying to get the facts of the stories down. This is just a difference in that personal question; contributing to why each individual takes something different out a a situation. Different interpretations come from different questions, which can cause great confusion but at the same time give great incites into different situations. So next time you find yourself studying math or a social situation, try to figure out what your personal question is. I think you'll be surprised.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

From "Friends" to Friends

Let's take a trip back to the first weeks of school. BGR week with all of its activities and no worries, syllabus week where we were reminded why we came to school, and then finally the beginnings of real work. Oh what wonderful memories. Now I want you to think about the people that surrounded you that week; your new "besties". Now look around you today. Who surrounds you now? I would venture to guess that good deal of those "besties" don't play such a large role in your day to day life anymore.

The first couple weeks of school are a time to meet tons of new people and get acclimated to life on your own. New freshman, myself included, needed to find new friends and associates to take place of those that had to be left behind. Roommates, BGR group members, and floor mates are the first people that really break the barriers of small talk. Spending a majority of time with these people allows time to hang out as well as for more in depth conversation. We begin to learn about these other peoples' lives before college. We feel like we know them and we are on a social high. Nothing could go wrong. All of these people are so cool. Hmmmmm...sounds a little to perfect.

The first couple weeks for me were blissful. I had a really good group of guys and had met some really cool girls through BGR. Me and my roommate talked at night and got into some deep conversations pertaining to life. I spent a lot of time with the guys in my BGR group and didn't really know much about my floor. After awhile I started realizing that there were quite a few inside jokes that i didn't understand and that no one would explain to me. Dane Cook says in one of his skits, that every group has a person that nobody like, that becomes the butt of everyone's jokes...Every group has a Karen. After awhile I began to realize that I was the Karen of the group. Wow! Now what? It was time to start finding people that liked me for me.

I believe everyone has gone through something like this while here at Purdue. The people you get close to initially begin to show their true colors once you actually get to know them past the surface layer of their character. Everyone loves everyone and no one fights the first few weeks of school because no one actually knows what anyone else is about. It takes much more than a few BGR activities to truly know anyone. While some people do get matched up with the right people during roommate selection and BGR others do not. During those first few weeks you do meet all kinds of new people; however, they are not the only people on this campus. Never stop meeting new people, because somewhere a "bestie" really does exist, but it takes much more than 3 weeks to know exactly who that is.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

A Party for Everyone

Parties are a great way to meet new people, even though sometimes they see you the next night and meet you all over again. Now let me start off by telling those of you that are not big party goers that their are many different types of parties, as well as many different types of people at these parties. There is literally a party for everyone, and not everyone that parties drinks. Many people have learned the art of having fun while sober. So don't always associate parties with forced drinking. I'm going to review a few different types of parties and if I don't hit one that fits you if you ask I'm sure I'll have a match for you.

We will start small and work our way up. Apartment parties can range in size, but because of their limits in size the crowds are usually kept to a more familiar group of people. If you are the type of person who would much rather just be a round a group of close friends this is probably the party place for you. Apartment parties are usually much more casual (hoodie and jeans). They also present a much more intimate conversation atmosphere. Many times there will be games like Rock Band or Guitar Hero being played. Also at an apartment party there is plenty of furniture for the people there, and if there's not the floor is usually pretty clean (unlike many larger parties). So lets recap. Apartment parties are excellent avenues for smaller tighter knit groups, or groups that want to become more closely knit. They also provide seating and other avenues of entertainment besides just talking.

The next level up on the intensity scale is the house party. Now these parties are a mix between the apartment and the fraternity (which we will talk about later). House parties have a bit more space than the classic apartment and provide a couple of rooms to party in). Extra rooms means that different personalities and and activities can occur and not interfere with one another. Depending on the type of house party the kitchen can be a place for various card and skill games (take it as you will). The living room can serve two purposes. If the atmosphere is a calmer one as in an apartment party classic wanna be video games are played with much intensity. If the party is one of a higher intensity the living room can serve as a dance floor with music blaring and people of all types strutting, or attempting to, strut their stuff. So what have we learned? House parties are for people that are still looking for a familiar atmosphere, but don't mind meeting new people and letting loose a bit more.

Now for the Fraternity party...dun dun duhnnnnnn!!! Now fraternity parties can be a bit intimidating for some people. These are venues with a ton of people most of which you do not know. The music is loud, dancing is highly encouraged, and intimate conversation is not an easy task. If you get claustrophobic these parties are not the place for you. Another thing to keep in mind about a fraternity party is that it is actually someones home. So they do get a little testy at times when people they do not know are disrespecting that (possibly another blog entry). Most fraternities offer a lot of space. If you get bored in one section just start to wander to another. There will be new people to meet and hang out with. Most people at fraternities like to be social and are OK with new people coming up, introducing, and talking with them. Now don't be a creeper about it, but Fraternities are a great way to meet tons of new people that eventually could end up being some pretty good friends. The fraternity parties scare some shyer (not sure if that's a word) people away, but they are a place where everyone is looking dance, to meet new people, and to leave having had a great time.

There truly is a social setting for everyone. Don't ever think that because you aren't the most social person that you can't go out to have a good time with friends. Now don't get me wrong not every party is for everyone. Some people hate going to fraternities while others think that apartment parties are boring. I personally enjoy both. The different social atmospheres bring different positive attributes to the table. Parties range in size, intensity, and type. Don't be scared to find your fit.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Uh oh...didn't see that comin'.

Its so interesting to watch how quickly peoples reactions change in a given situation. People will go from laughing hysterically to being very concerned or angry. Most times this occurs because the severity of the situation is not understood initially, and once it is understood it is seen in a completely different light. Now this picture on the left describes this to some extent. This young child probably thought it would be funny to sneak and get a cookie right before dinner time. Now look more closely at his face. He knows hes been caught. Mommy always said not to spoil your dinner, and there he was headed to time out for sure. he might have laughed about getting away with his dirty deed for days on end, and who knows, maybe even tried it again. But in an instant all this came crumbling down. He was in trouble, and the situation was much more serious. OK, so I get this is a pretty poor example. You may not be convinced. Tell me you're not a believer after this.

A friend of mine told me this story: "I was walking back to Shreve one night and this boy rode past me on his bike eating a bag of Doritos". (talented right) "Well all of a sudden he wiped out and was lying on the ground" (This is where we laugh; it's what he gets for trying to multi-task while operating a moving vehicle.) "Then i realized he was moving. I went over there and he was seizing. He had fallen off his bike because he had a seizure. not only was he seizing, but he was also choking on a Dorito." (If you don't want anymore details skip to the next paragraph) "He was turning blue, and I knew that there was nothing anyone can do for someone who is having a seizure. It has to run its course. I called 911, and they took care of it from there." Now for all of you that are terrified, this multi-tasker did live.

Now as we can notice in the previous paragraph, a seemingly hilarious situation can turn very serious and dangerous once we realize the severity of the given situation. Not all of these situations are life and death. Some are as simple as getting caught with your hand in the cookie jar to getting caught with some stolen property that you thought would make a funny addition to your room. These situations occur all the time. Let's have another example.

Last night Cary had a fire alarm go off, meaning the fire department and police all showed up. (You think you know where this story is going...you have no idea.) After inspection of the facility the fire department turned off the alarm and allowed everyone entrance. Of course their job is not finished. They have to stay and make sure everything is under control and inspect other causes for the alarm. (Stop trying to guess the ending...you can't.)

I was back in my room nice and cozy eating some easy mac with a buddy when to more guys from the floor walked in all giggly. One of them is holding a garbage bag with a mystery object inside. We closed the door all curious as to what was so funny. We open the bag and in it lies a nifty little hat. Oh it's not just a hat; it's a firefighters helmet. (Told ya you wouldn't see that coming.) We all started cracking up. I mean come on it's not everyday you have a piece of your age 5 dream job sitting in front of you. We played with the light and eventually it was time for bed, so I kicked everyone out of my room. If only that was the end.

Upon walking out of the room, we realize that the RA's are on the look out for a fire fighter's helmet. Ahhhhh....complete 180. This is no longer funny. This is serious. In case you didn't know, stealing a fire fighter's helmet is stealing from the government. They don't take that lightly. Well it didn't take long for the police to show up fine the suspects. They were caught, brought in for a nice talk, and were given a bed for the night. I think you know what I mean.

What's funny one minuet comes completely retarded the next. Everyone who wasn't directly involved but laughed originally are now experts on crimes and the stupidity of the other individuals. It is just so interesting how quickly people change sides and how they view a situation. If you ever find yourself in a "funny" situation make sure to take the time to analyze whether that situation is truly hilarious, or a mistake waiting to happen.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

The Emotional/Physical Battle

Oh hormones!! They are so small, yet they play such a huge part in our decision making. This is especially true when it comes to members of the opposite sex. Yea, I went there (however I will keep it G rated). As hard as we try, and no matter how good we think we are neither men nor women will ever be able to unlock the mysteries of the other. Some people get close, and sometimes you may believe you have it down; each person is diferent, and feelings and emotions change in an instant. So whats my point?

Many people make the mistake of attaching physical attraction and interaction with emotional feelings that never previously existed for this person. Whether it be a hook-up at a party or a friend that you have known for awhile, it doesn't matter. Previous to that kiss, or whatever..., you never thought of this person in a relationship context. However, after this incident of passion you feel yourself thinking about this person or turning over the posibilities of dating this person. Now this doesn't make you wierd; it just makes you confused.

The limbic system, center for emotions, loves to play games. When a physical attraction or incident occurs hormones and other chemicals are released into the brain and other areas of the body that bring emotions into play. Now here is where people make the mistake. Those feelings are not real, they are not genuine, and they won't last. Sorry! Unless there were feelings there to begin with, physical attraction and physical situations can not cause nor sustain an emotional connection. Now I don't expect you to take my word for it, so lets set up a scenario.

Now if we take a look at this we will see why it will not work. You are attending a "function" where the music is loud and people seem to be coming out of the walls. You begin to scan the crowd. Ding ding ding! We have a winner. You start the usual small talk (major, hometown, residence...) and while doing so you are checking this new found friend out. This is where the physical attraction begins. "Oooo...my favorite song". You begin to dance (sway for some). Now where it goes from there is up to you, but I think we get the picture.

Now all you know about this person is, hopefully, there name, hometown, and other minor details. You might have their phone number, and the next day all you can think about is that person. You may even text them and soon realize that this conversation has no substance. Uh-oh. Should we keep trying and forcing this conversation to last? No! You don't like this person, but your limbic system does. The emotional-physical battle is one that is fought all to often. People find themselevs head over heels for someone they just got to know in more intimate sense. While the physical is fun at the time, it is absolutly necesary to remember that true feelings for someone can only be real if there is not a recent physical situation coming into play.

Monday, February 2, 2009

"I love him/her to death, but..."

Most people have more than one person that they would call a friend. Forming a group of friends to hang out with and talk to when needed is something that comes naturally. People need that social contact. Some groups are small and more tightly knit, while others are larger encompassing a wide variety of personalities. While the ideal situation would be that everyone in the group could get along perfectly with one another or have all members together at all times, this is merely impossible. With different class schedules, commitments, and interests different members of the main group will be separated at different times.

This separation can be good however. I have found that when two or three members of a larger group have time alone together that is when the more personal conversation arises. People feel that they can be more open in more intimate situations. This allows for the different members of the group to get to know one another more and in more depth. This is when it seems that the real bonds are formed. Be warned though. This is also a great opportunity for those members of the group to talk about the quality of the other people that make up this group of friends.

Now hopefully no one enjoys sitting around the TV degrading and finding all the faults of someone that they call a friend, but it does tend to happen. Whether this is caused by an event that happened earlier that day or from a lack of other conversation it tends to come up quiet regularly. The phrase "I love him/her to death, but..." is a commonly used one when people are talking about their friends. This phrase shows that the person talking does indeed care about that person, but there's just something about him/her that isn't right. Most times this conversation between the small group is never supposed to leave the group. It is just venting or a discussion in order to attempt to understand a person better. Right?

Unfortunately this is not always the case. As hard as people try it is very difficult for them to keep their mouths shut about anything. Once another void in the conversation occurs and another small group begins to talk. Secrets are let out and the drama begins. What started as small talk easily turns into "true feelings" and rumors. This occurs all to often. Whether eves dropping on a conversation or participating in one I'm sure that you have all realized how much people begin to talk about one another, especially those that they are close to. But why do we do it?

It happens for a variety of reasons. Some people talk about there friends negatively in order to make themselves feel better about themselves. Others talk about these people for the simple reason that they do not understand the situations fully or the person fully. No one likes it when they figure out a puzzle or problem. Therefore they begin to talk it over in order to try to understand. The same happens in social situations. I believe the main cause of gossip and rumors is because people are genuinely trying to find a reason for the behavior or words of a friend. However, in the end they only end up hurting that individual.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Rush Scene

Greek Life is something that brings to the surface many differant opinions. The movies make it out to be a slush fest with some very permiscuous teenage students. However, this is yet another label that the world loves to place on something that can not be fully understood by the general movie watching population. This semester I am pledging the Delta Chi fraternity here at Purdue, and while I will not be able to discuss the inner workings of a secret society I hope that I will be able to shed some light where previously only stereotypes existed.

The greek community here at Purdue is a very large and elite social network. The rush process is used in order to describe the first couple weeks at a Fraternity or Sorority. Since I have only witnessed first hand the Fraternities' process that is what I will be refrenceing. Students that are interested in the greek comunity are encouraged to visit different houses during organized times. These visits include a free meal (enough to draw many poor college students), house tours, and talking with the brothers of the house. Most rush events only last two hours so utilizing this time is crucial because otherwise the selection process is mostly based on first impressions. It takes some effort in order to help people past appearences in order to fully understand someone in time to be selected.

Rush events are very awkward. An interested student is forced to step out of their comfort zone and imerse themselves into this tightly bonded group. The brothers do not need to make the effort to seek out the rushies and talk to them, because they have already gone through the process. It is the rushie's job to seek out the brothers in order to let them get to know the rushie as much possible. This is very intimidating.

The easiest way I found to accomplish this was to sit next to a group of them at the dinner table. That way I could introduce myself to a large group, allowing more than one person to get to know me at a time. This also allowed for fewer awkward silences. It allowed me to participate in many conversations in order to get to know a little about them and to see if these brothers fit me.

Now honestly not just anyone fits into any house. Like personalities tend to migrate toward each other. Some houses are for specific majors and have other requirments; however, with 47 fraternities on campus there is a fit for anyone who is interested. The hardest part is realizing where you fit. Many people try to rush a house because of its reputation not because of the guys that live there. This is a huge mistake. By trying to change yourself to fit that profile you lose who you are and in the end those are the people that drop or get weeded out. Taking time to realize what youre are about and who you are is vitally important when deciding which house is right for you.

Some guys look at the stereotype and think that is exactly what they are looking for. Those guys quickly realize that a fraternity is about a lot more than dirinking and "good times". Its about building a close relationship witha group of guys that you can trust and rely on in times of need.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

First Impressions

Many people say that they don't care what other people think of them. That's great! However, they are also probably lying. Without an abnormal psychological personality disorder it is human nature to care or at least wonder what other people think of you.

The main reason people claim that they do not care is because they know that people are getting the wrong first impression, or that they themselves don't fully understand what impression they give. These individuals have given up trying to change people's opinions about them, hence the "not caring".

First impressions last a very long time, and no matter how hard someone tries not to judge or jump to conclusions it is very difficult when you are sporting a crazy hair-do. Classmates, friends of friends, and employers all use first impressions in order to put all of the new people surrounding them into a category. Sometimes these first impressions can cost someone a job or make the first days of classes very awkward and unwelcoming.

I'm not saying that anyone has to fit a certain mold or act a certain way; I'm just saying that everyone needs to be aware of what type of vibe or impressions they are giving off to those around them. Most people do not even realize that they seem unapproachable, slutty, socially awkward, geeky...

These stereotypes and labels can come from a wide array of factors such as body position, clothing choice, facial expressions, and many others. All of these factors seem very specific and picky, but they are the subtle things that people pick out in order to help them feel like they know you or understand you. It's inevitable. People are going to gain an impression of you, good or bad, the first time they even lay eyes on you.

So just be sure that the things that you are doing, or not doing, are what you want to be remembered by when someone thinks of you.