Week 1 of classes is always enjoyable; we get to see many new faces wondering, judging, trying to break the ice, or just cramped for some of us. In this process post, I will be sharing my encounter with a stranger, which turned out to be a semester-long company.
This is the first week (September 4 to September 10) of fall 2022 classes at SFU. Some professors are generous enough to break the ice for us and create a welcoming environment for everyone on the first day, while in other cases it is simply civil inattention (as cited in Hamblin, 2016). I am sharing an experience from my MATH408 course, which has a relatively small class size compared to other fourth-year courses. I knew nobody in that class—no faces even!
The professor went over the course outline, and it turned out that MATH408 had a group component to it, where you are free to choose your own members, and we had a week to choose. As class got over, it turned out that one of the classmates (named Jake) and I were travelling in the same skytrain coach, and we knew what we were both thinking, i.e., do you want to work together? So it began with a smile and the exchange of basic information such as name, year at SFU,… you get the picture.In my opinion, starting a conversation is a hurdle that, once overcome, gives you a lot to talk about until you hit the point where you are unsure whether this is okay to ask on the first date. The same thing happened to me; we talked, and I ran out of topics to discuss because I didn’t want to give or ask too much in the first meeting.Fortunately, Jake had to get off just before things might have seemed awkward.
I realised that my behaviour is consistent with who I am. However, things get awkward sometimes as I struggle to keep the conversation going, so I just try to avoid eye contact. But with Jake, because we’ll be seeing each other for a long time and talking a lot, I’m confident we’ll be able to pick up where we left off.
Hamblin, J. (2016). How to Talk to Strangers. https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2016/08/civil-inattention/497183/