Wanting to know whether to talk to that cool guy or girl in class? Go for it!

Society tells us that the time to go to college is immediately after high school, between the ages of 18 and 22. These are the years that we form most of our friendships, relationships, and social connections that will carry us through the rest of our twenties and beyond. The problem is most of us enter college with a lot of emotional baggage still left over from high school. We are still nervous if our peers will think we’re cool enough, good looking enough, and interesting enough to be worthy to talk to. These insecurities can prevent us from talking to people who might wind up becoming our friends, boyfriends, girlfriends, or enrich our lives in some meaningful way. It takes years to shake all these insecurities left over from high school. I wish the social skills I now have in my thirties could be teleported to my 20 year old self.
  …..Flashback to 2003. I was sitting in my psychology class in college on the first day. My professor wanted each of us to say something interesting about ourselves as a way to get to know each other. The reserved, handsome, brooding guy next to me stated his name and said, “I play guitar. My favorite song is “How Soon Is Now” by The Smiths”. The outgoing, cute, blonde guy next to me introduced, “I am a comedian. The Berenstain Bears is the last book I read.” I said, “My name is Sydney. I am a writer.”
I had so much in common with those two guys and they actually had a lot in common with me. Playing the guitar, being a comedian, and writing are all intertwined. Not to mention The Smiths and The Berenstain Bears are my two passions that have made me who I am: quirky, morose, reserved, innocent, and a natural curiosity to learn more about those around me. If only I would have been brave enough to talk to those guys. We could have taken on the world. We could have teamed up and created a project whether it be a band, screenplay, or some YouTube wackiness that only we and our other close friends would see.  Instead, I let a whole semester go by without saying a word to my seat neighbors. They also never said a word to me. Missed opportunities happen a lot in one’s early twenties due to a lack of self confidence. In our thirties we become more self confident. We are able to just randomly introduce ourselves to a stranger. We don’t care if our conversational skills are up to par. We don’t care what the other person thinks about what we are wearing or how cool we are.  None of that matters. But unfortunately, by the time we reach our thirties and get ahold of this amazing courage, we no longer are in school where we have this amazing opportunity to freely meet all these cool people our age. Many of us have jobs which don’t allow for a lot of social interaction. Our coworkers are often much younger than us or much older. Our coworkers often are in different phases of life than we are: married, have children, or are single. We find we don’t have much in common with them outside of work. In college, however, most students are exactly your age and share a similar background. This is the one time in life where most everyone you meet will be single just like you, understand your generation, like your music, and be willing to go out with you to all the places you like. Enjoy that time because no other time in your life will be like that. So many opportunities that are yours for the taking. So speak up and don’t be afraid to talk to that cool person next to you who seems “out of your league.” Make something happen.
  If you need some inspiration, I once heard of a girl who was in a taxi in New York. The cab driver picked up a guy who got in the cab next to her. She thought he looked really cool. She just had this “feeling” about him. His stop came before hers. Instead of staying in the cab and waiting for her stop, she decided to get out with him and “pretend” to be going to the same place as he was. She introduced herself to him, “My name is Karen.” He replied, “My name is Brian.” She later told Rolling Stone Magazine, “I just had this feeling that I was supposed to know him.”
Ladies and gentlemen, that girl was Karen O., the future singer of the band The Yeah Yeah Yeahs. That guy was Brian Chase, the future drummer. They met on that fateful night in New York and formed The Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Because Karen chose to be brave and not tongue tied, this magnificent duo met and put their mark on music history.
  So don’t be afraid to talk to that cool guy or girl in class.  He might just introduce you to your future husband. This was the case for a quiet art student named Julia who through a classmate in her math class at community college was introduced to her future husband, Julian Casablancas who was a singer in the up and coming band The Strokes. You never know how your life might change. But you have to learn to speak up first. Unfortunately, we take these opportunities for granted when we’re 20 and in school. We think there will be more or we psych ourselves out of it due to nerves. Life is short. If I knew at 20 what I know now, I would have pushed myself a little harder to talk to those guys in my class. Even if it turned out we didn’t change the world, I could have at least made some interesting friends to talk to. That’s the whole reason we go to college, but it’s so easy for us to lose sight of that when we’re young.


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