Pillbox

A First-year Look at Carnegie Mellon

How I’ve met people over the past few weeks: Often times, the other person will start off the conversation with:

“Hey! You’re in my (insert course name) class, right?”

“Do I know you from somewhere? I think we met at Playfair or something.”

“Oooh you’re in (insert name of school)??? Me too!!!”

Then follows:

“So what’s your major?”

“Oh, I’m (insert name) by the way. And what’s your name?”

“Cool! Where are you staying? I live in Mudge.”

(Because somehow 90 percent of the people I’ve met are from Mudge House).

Introductions to new people in college have become predictable. I have no idea how exactly that came to be, but it just did. Whenever I meet a new person, the same topics or questions will come up. And after speaking with him/her there’s usually a 50/50 chance that I’ll ever talk to or even see this person again. I’m not saying that the predictability is a bad thing; it’s actually made the whole process of meeting people easier for me. I just find general introductions in college very weird.

So far, introducing myself to new people has honestly been an easier introduction to give than other kinds. There’s this template that I can now follow for meeting people on campus. On the other hand, for introductions to new areas, schedules, or classes (for example), I have to just hope for the best. I never know what to expect. Like this one time, when the buses stopped running in some part of Pittsburgh and I had to find another route back to campus. Or the times between classes where I use a different entrance into Doherty and I spend most of the ten minutes navigating the hallways to my find my lecture hall. As a new first year, you’ll find so many instances where you’ll have to think fast and act. We’re often thrown into taking risks and stepping out of our comfort zones, which may make the entire college experience for us weird at the moment.

Back in high school I was so accustomed to the much smaller school community, where I knew every student and teacher’s name. Taking risks seemed to be much easier in that environment because I could easily find someone, whom I knew well, to help me if necessary. After coming to Carnegie Mellon, which has an undergraduate population of about six thousand students, I’ve found it a bit harder to find people I know who would help me if I needed it. I don’t know many people in general at the moment anyway. But that’s where my “introducing myself to new people” template comes in handy.

No matter what stage in life, introductions will always be hard to deal with. They force people to encounter unknown areas, during both convenient and the most inconvenient times. But it’s after getting through the introductions where you can find the most rewarding things. As a first year who still needs to become accustomed to the Carnegie Mellon community, I know for a fact that there’s a lot of look forward to. Even though I may feel weird now, I’ll eventually get to that point where I’ll start to feel more at home.