Beautiful Brainiacs 

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Socializing Rule#1: Finding a group

Charlie pointed out one of the reasons she’s so good socializing: she’s in a lot of groups. She listed a couple of academic and not-so-academic organizations she’s in. You should find those that have similar interests to you and find one you fit in. 

Unlike Charlie, I dropped out of most of the organizations I started in. I haven’t been a leader in one since high school, and even then the groups were so small there was no comparison. But despite being shy, I seek to be with people, to get to know people. And when I felt comfortable in an organization, I did do my best to keep at it.

Each organization might have a slight different feel: you might feel more comfortable in a smaller organization or an honor society (even though the honor society does look better on your resume or CV). I tried out plenty of organizations, from the Biology Honor Society BBB, to the Society of Microbiology, to even the biotech and biological associations that were not as recognized. I didn’t fit in any of them too well, but I did keep trying. If you find out one organization isn’t for you, that it doesn’t have the feel you want, give yourself some time to get used to it. If you can’t, if a semester has gone by and you aren’t any more used to being there… maybe its just not right for you.

Despite not feeling at home in those organizations, I did meet people with similar career goals to me and similar interests. I gained more acquaintances, broadened my network. Do try to make the best of it, even if you’re not enjoying it at first. Go to the talks, let yourself be known by others, even if its just with a smile. Say hi to that classmate from X Class that you never really got the chance to meet. Never let anything you do go to waste! And who knows, you light just end up liking it!

You see, the key to socializing is initiative, its that first smile, that first hello. Even if at first, or even most times, you wont succeed, even if you freeze up at first or end up having that terrible awkward silence after a few sentences, just smile, because you still moved a step forward. Although the key to socializing might be initiative, the only way you’ll open that door is through percistance. 

Even someone as shy as me found her group: the scientists. My home was my laboratory, my co-workers my family, and my PI a bit of a father figure. I entered a research-retaled organization, and there I felt at home and still keep lasting relationships, despite most of us being hundreds or thousands of miles away. I kept trying, and because of that, I found my niche and had a great college experience. 

Do not, however, limit yourself to academic or extracurricular, formal groups. Some groups don’t even have names. Your group can be the people that hang out at X or Y place, so long as they motivate you to continue your goals and you feel you can be yourself around them, are sometimes all you need. Remember, never change just to fit in, be yourself, and let what you learn together change you. And good luck finding that group! That will be a lot of trial and error!

Best of luck!

Chloe

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