Strangers are great. People you don’t know are more likely to ignore you. They’re less likely to spark up a conversation with you on the street than people you know. They’re wonderfully oblivious to your existence.
Maybe that’s why people from warmer climates come up to MSU, to be surrounded by people who won’t talk to them on the street unless they absolutely must. That’s why I came all the way to East Lansing. Just kidding — I grew up ten minutes down the road.
Coming from a local high school has its perks. Going home whenever you want and a pre-existing knowledge of campus are two that come to mind. But there is one major flaw in the decision I made. You see people from your high school every single day.
You might not think that’s so bad. Well, imagine this scenario: you slept through your alarm, no time to shower or comb your hair, and you’re on your way to class. You look and feel miserable. You take solace in the fact that your class is a 200-person lecture and no one will pay any attention to you. On your walk to class, you see a recognizable face down the street. It’s that person from your high school that you share some vague connection with. Maybe they were your lab partner once.
You look down at your shoes, your phone — anything to avoid eye contact — and the panic begins.
Does it look believable? Will they think you’re rude?
Followed by the curiosity.
How do they look? Did they do something different with their hair?
You can’t look away any longer. You decide to take a brief peak. Maybe they already passed you. Nope.
“Oh hi!” they say.
“Hey. how you doin’?” you reply. Who are you, Joey from friends?
There’s a pause but neither of you has stopped walking. Your question is never answered and they keep on their merry way.
That’s the best-case scenario. They might actually try to talk to you, so make sure your posture indicates you have places to be and hope they respect that.
In any given week I might experience 4-5 of these interactions. So, how do you avoid them?
People from your local high school are everywhere. Anyone who grew up within a 15-mile radius of campus probably knows this. They’re on the streets, on buses, in restaurants and in your econ lecture. But it doesn’t stop there. They message you. They surround you. They live with you.
Okay, being roommates with your high school friends isn’t the worst thing in the world. Neither is seeing familiar faces on a daily basis. Truth be told, I’m grateful for the connections I have from my hometown. They’ve led to opportunities and friendships I never would have had otherwise. I’ve known one of my current roommates since preschool and the other since third grade, and now we’re graduating college together next May. It’s crazy that they’ve both been there for me for so…
Now I’m getting sad. Seeing people from your high school at college does suck.
Ean Montague is a senior studying professional writing and film. He is also the Managing Editor for Impact 89FM student radio and enjoys watching and playing soccer, discovering new music and movies, and eating spicy foods.