Friday, February 24, 2012

"Hello" or "How are you?"

So, just a quickie. I found a social problem to write about that has been bugging me for the longest time.  It starts out with a question:

When did the question "How are you?" elicit the response, "Hi! How are you?" and then end the conversation?

Does anyone notice that this once sincere question has become a salutation rather than concern for another person?  I think the worst part is that I've found myself sucked into this new impersonal trend. I'll pass someone on campus and I say, "Hey! How are you?" as I rush past, totally not expecting an answer. Rude, I know, but I'm trying to get better.  But seriously, I feel this change is more than just a different use of expression. It marks a scary social change that is going on right now.

Life is becoming so impersonal!  It is becoming increasingly difficult to "get real" with people. For example, now that I have finally chosen my major, I've been in classes with the same people for about a year or sometimes more. It is a lot of fun, but we have completely separated ourselves from the type of people we are in the outside world (except for a few exceptions).  Sure we'll talk about work struggles or "I had an awesome date", but then it ends there. No one really cares about what you are really feeling or how you are doing.  It's been nice working with a couple of students in my theory class (we have a sweet study group) because everyone actually cares about the other people. It makes the whole thing more enjoyable.
Wait...did you just say "Tired???"

Another example: When was the last time that you asked someone, "How are you?" (expecting an answer) and they responded with something other than, "Good" or "Fine"?  You probably don't hear much else. I don't know if it is just an American thing, but no one here is comfortable telling you how they really are doing.  However, at the same time, we aren't the best at feeling comfortable when someone does tell you that they are doing otherwise.

Pop Tarts....the secret to happiness

I hate this about the question "How are you?" so I refuse to say anything but how I really feel.  This makes for awkward situations and some people think I'm always depressed or that I'm a pessimist. For example, the last couple of weeks I've been really tired...legitimately tired.  So, when people ask me how I'm doing, I tell them: "I'm tired." or "I'm not feeling to well." or "I'm way stressed."  Then they incredulously say, "You are always tired!" or "You seem to be always stressed, are you ok?"

Are you never stressed? Do you never get tired? You seem to be always "OK" or "Good".  You know what? I think I'm more normal than someone who is 100% "Good" all the time. That's just a little too much for me. I don't know if I've ever been "OK" for a whole day.  Life is full of ups and downs, so when I ask "How are you?", don't make me ask twice. Tell me really how you are.

We need to start a revolution to get society to let us be real people. I'm sick of being a robot. Let's start with "How are you?"  It is not a replacement for hello. It is a question. When asked that question, be real. Don't be a faker and say you are always good....you aren't.  If you are, then next time you say "Good", tell me your secret to the perfect happy life.

Note: This post makes me seem somewhat pessimist, but I'm really not. I love life and I love people. But, I love real life and real people more.

Peace y'all.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

College Life and Funny Stories

Wow, what on earth am I doing at 10:30p on the blog. I've got like 25 projects going on that I need to do, but I decided that I am hitting my figurative breaking point and I need a release. Plus, a class is cancelled tomorrow so I end school at 11 instead of 3 and I can work on most of the projects then.

College life is insane! I love it, but its insane!  These last couple of weeks have beaten me up, and I don't even know why. Well, I think I do, but ... anyways, let's explore:

1st: Work. Holy cow! My job is the best: TA'ing for Dr. Knapp's Soc 310 class and D&C 325.  He is one of the most amazing lecturers I have ever listened to. While 3 hours a day for some people may be too much to listen to one guy, I learn something amazing in every class and I wish that I could take all of my classes from him. Plus, I love working with other students. I don't know why, but I honestly get so involved in how my students are doing that it almost becomes an obsession. I don't want to be one of those TA's who really doesn't care. I really want every student to get an A. Why shouldn't they? If they work at it, they should get an A, too. If anyone has a career path that can let me keep working with students let me know.

2nd: Career path? This brings me to trying to find what I want to do in life. I keep telling people that I am not going to worry about it until later, but I secretly hide the fact that the question is tugging at the back of my mind all the time. Should I prepare to go get an MBA? Should I go into non-profit? What about academia and becoming a professor? I know that sociology should be my major and I'm reminded of that every day, but what do I do with it?

Right now I think I'm heavily leaning towards becoming a professor. I love the idea. I do get to work with these students. You get to have a group of professors that you work with, so it isn't like you are boxed up in a cubicle the whole time...you get fun (hopefully) coworkers. You get to do research. Now, according to some of my professors, you really don't choose what you research since in order to be published, you have to work on something that the journals have decided is interesting, but I think it would be cool. Dr. Knapp is researching the sociology of suffering. Isn't that interesting!? Plus, sociology is so broad you can study almost anything through it. I figure that becoming a professor is a glorified professional student, so what is so bad about that. Plus, I have always wanted to teach. Teaching is my favorite thing in the world.

3rd: School. 18 credits!? Shoot me. But hey guess what, I'm doing it again!  Next semester!

What?

Ok, so around last semester I decided that it would be pretty awesome to learn another language and go visit another country.  I didn't want to just do a study abroad or a visit in which I see the historical sites and read the pamphlets in English, how boring. I want to get involved with the people and talk with them. What is the point of visiting a country if you don't get to know anyone? So, I'm taking an accelerated Portuguese course that's a total of 8 credits and next semester I'm doing level 2 accelerated with 8 credits, then Winter 2013 I will take the 300 level course and hopefully go to Brazil that summer. :)  Exciting I know!

Yet, 18 credits is beastly. I thought it wouldn't be too bad since I only have a total of 4-5 classes at one time (one class starts next block in preparation for going to Italy). There is always some project to do and some homework I am neglecting :) Somehow, I'm getting it all done though. My worst test score this semester so far is an 89.  That's pretty sweet,

Wow, I just realized how boring this blog post is for you. I'll continue this in my head so you don't die from complete lack of interesting anecdotes or information.  I'm sorry I don't have any social problems or dating woes to address. My life has been quite delightful up to this point. WAIT!!! Maybe this story will spice things up:
So, I like to think of myself as pretty easy going when I talk to people and I never feel that I really have to search for something to say or get embarrassed for saying the wrong thing and the wrong time. I guess I liked to think that ...

I'm debating posting this still, so if you are reading this far, obviously I decided to share a damaged bit of my soul. It really isn't that bad, but it got my mom laughing at me for quite a while when I told her on the phone and when I wrote it to my brother on the mission he sent me back 4 whole lines of "HAHAHAHA"  I miss that kid.

Anyways, an undeterminable amount of time ago (well, it is determinable, but I'm trying to be ambiguous), a girl I was interested in was in the building across the street from me on the second floor walkway which is a little like a balcony (I'll see if I can find a picture). Let's call her Stella. Wanting to show that I was interested, I decided I should probably talk to her. So, drawing off all of the tact that I had learned, I called to her with the poetic words of "Is that Stella?"  ....  (Smooth, Erik)

She said, "Yes?"

I decided to try another beautiful line of poetry in response: "Hey."
Really?
....

Oh poo, now what.  I had absolutely NOTHING to say. I was stiff and my mind would not work. It was sooo weird! This has never happened to me before and I didn't know what to do. So, I reverted to talking about church stuff (we are in the same ward) since I knew that would be a simple excuse for talking to her. As we are talking, she remarks that she feels like Romeo and Juliet (since it was the whole balcony scene) and then proceeds to quote Shakespeare, "Romeo, Romeo. Where art thou Romeo" (or whatever the correct verse is).
Wait, she just quoted Shakespeare at me?  How sweet is that!  I have to respond with something amazingly romantic, and hilariously teasing:

....  uh  .... 

Well, that was a fail. I seriously couldn't think of anything.  To make matters worse, a group of 3 people from the ward were passing by and one was like: "You can't talk to him! He's a Capulet! We Montague's don't associate with their kind."

Darn it. He had a witty comment.  Here comes mine:

"Oh, that's too bad." 
.
.

Words cannot describe my shame. As I walked away and bid the Juliet/Stella farewell, I reflected on my stupidity and decided that any hope I did have was gone. But alas, she has said yes going on some dates :)

But really, I said "that's too bad." How lame is that?  Think of all the romantically flirty things I could have said, the very least could have been in response to the Capulet comment such as "Blood cannot keep me away from my fair lady" or something to that effect...and I said: "that's too bad."

So, here's a toast to becoming flustered. It's a new, yet somewhat refreshing experience. At least it gave my brother and mom a good laugh, and who knows. Maybe you laughed too.