University classmates

I've always found it awkward, to not see my classmates for years, then see them again. Then not for months, then again at internship talks and career related events, then not for more months, then again at exams, then not, then again at graduation and celebrations.

I guess, I never liked them much, and don't hold any sentimental attachment towards my cohort. In those preclinical days, I didn't like the fact that all the students from local high schools had their gangs, those from residential colleges were close to one another, those on the same train line got to know one another well, those from an Indian background had their own group, as did the exclusive Singaporeans who rarely associated with anyone else, and as did a group of Indonesians who were always so talkative. I didn't enjoy associating with those who were smart but arrogant, or obsessively competitive until they lived biochemical pathways and breathed anatomy notes. Nor did I share much in common with those who boasted about how many times they had sex in a day, those who were more interested in having a drunken good time than learning medicine, or girls who treated every day at school as a fashion show or beauty contest to win.

Maybe I met some nice people too, but I can't recall many. I disliked medical students altogether and avoided associating with them. Truth is, I probably felt that way because I felt sad and rejected about not fitting into their conversations, their backgrounds, their interests, their lives. I guess now my views towards the medical community have shifted, after encountering memorable friendships, friends who I'm thankful for, both at my clinical school and outside that too, with those from other cities and countries around the world. Nevertheless, being back each time reignites some of those negative feelings.

During our long wait in the holding area, as we held small chit chats with those seated around us, I wondered, what makes two people click, and another two get along awkwardly every time they meet? Is it that the other person is awkward (but they don't seem to have issues getting along with mutual friends), or that I'm awkward, or is it just something between us that will never change? On the other hand, how is it that another person may be socially awkward, but be one that you can get along with easily? What makes one person warm, and another cold as frost? How is it that you can laugh and joke with some people in one setting, and not know what to say to say to them, when the setting changes? Why do I feel hated and snubbed every time I interact with some people, or am I hypersensitive and misinterpreting their sentiments towards me? What is it about an interaction that makes two people want to get to know each other, make an effort to be friends, and how do people decide who are the individuals they will politely greet but are happy to never see again?

It's so complicated. My head hurts.


Ziph said...

I think it was hard to get to know people well and find common ground unless you liked "socialising," by which I mean going to med events. Often in preclins you'd often only get to see one side of people, which is why you feel as they dislike you or you dislike them. I think extroverts really dominated medicine in preclins, which makes it feel as though you don’t fit in if you’re an introvert.
Even going back to school, I think first few years I didn’t like a lot of people and I felt they didn’t like me. However, by year 12 I think you got the chance to know a lot people a lot better and even if we weren’t friends we were on good terms. Uni with >300 students - it was just impossible to get to know people well.
What makes two people click?
I often wonder about that too and I think a big part for me is just time. Sometimes you instantly find people who you like and you get along with them well but usually you need more time.

Winnie said...

I think you're right, about time and at uni, seeing only one side of people.

often when you spend long enough with people, you can overlook some of the minor reasons you disliked them for initially. most people have something that you can appreciate about their character, some shared interest, shared memories, or you can find them interesting and unique in other ways.

I think being forced to spend time together, either living with or being in the same group really speeds up that process. either you really get along, or that dislike intensifies. I guess previously, I wouldn't have imagined that I would share anything in common, or be friends with you (hope that's not offensive, I'm sure you're thinking the same thing anyway haha), or even DT & JS etc

but then there are other people that it's awkward, no matter how many times you meet them, how much time you spend with them, in how many different situations, and even if you live with them...


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