July 9, 2010

My mind started wandering while I was reading “Learning XSLT” at work today.  I think my train of thought went something like this:  “funny how I got through last quarter without reading any of the required readings” –> “crazy how much better I’ve gotten at bullshitting papers after having the same classes as Frank” –> “hmm, I kind of learned a lot from my friends.”  Since it’s been a while since my last post and still have nothing exciting to blog about since then (except for New York a few weeks ago [put in for future date search reference if I ever forget]), here’s a list of 11 things I learned from my friends, or if not, things they helped me realize.  The list is in no particular order.  The first one is kind of out of place from the rest, but I thought it was worth noting.

1.  how to bullshit papers better
Undoubtedly, college itself had a great deal to do with this.  But sometime during my fourth year, I felt like the BS just formulated more fluidly and sounded so much more concise (even if it took a while).  I recall skimming some of Frank’s papers, and thinking how coherent the word flow was, and how despite looking like mumbo-jumbo, it actually all kind of made sense.  I picked up some techniques on how to make 3 sentences worth of ideas a full blown 8 page paper that still reads well.  You may already have this skill, but I’m positive there were many students in my class that heavily lacked in writing skills, so that makes me feel better.

2. not to be such a tightwad with money
I tended to wait until the other person showed their generosity/kindness before reciprocating the favor, mostly because it’s hard to tell it they live by the same rule (that is, return the favor–in one way or another).  But when I got to college, my friends were often very trusting of spotting me money (or even paying for things, small things).  What intrigued me was that I barely knew them, and yet they were so easy going with their money.  These little episodes encouraged me to be the first to be giving with things, and that letting a friend borrow a dollar and them not giving it back isn’t the end of the world if it’s clear they’d think the same.

3. be a tightwad with money
I have some friends who just spend money on the stupidest shit.  Their family is way better off than mine though.  Still, it’s just another don’t-do example to learn from.  And in the same token as #2, assholes don’t get crap.

4. be outgoing and not overbearing–or in my case, act like you’re outgoing
I remember the first time I saw one of my friends on move-in day.  He just came into my room and saw my “Franny and Zooey” book and was like, “Nice!” and had a smile on his face.  It wasn’t a fake smile and the guy seemed genuinely interested in people.  Eventually, after hanging out with him more, I took note of his un-annoying easy going and friendly attitude that made him really approachable, and figured that’s something I ought to try to become.  A couple of people are actually like that, which is kind of why I like hanging around them.  Still trying, but I think I’ve made some progress.

5.  not to be so uptight about everything
Talking to people becomes so much more worse than it is if you can’t suspend your own beliefs, listen to the other person, and often, just let things go.  That’s just one thing not be a prude about.  Other things include life in general.  I have to not let things eat away at my mind and–let things go.  I must say though, it’s not working.  I must not be trying hard enough.

6. at least try it
The friend I mentioned in #4 was somewhat of an advocate of this one.  I recall a situation one time where I didn’t want to go to a party cuz I didn’t know anyone besides him.  But he told me, “What’s the worst thing that’s going to happen?  You’ll be bored for a bit.  Or you might have fun and do something different for once.”  I took his advice and went with him.  It certainly wasn’t spectacular, but I had a better time than I thought.  Needless to say, life is just that much more exciting with this mindset.  Though sometimes they were much more blunt with situations where I (or my other friends) played it safe:  “don’t be a little bitch” they would say.  Most of the time, they were right.

7. procrastination only works if you’re smart, and even if you’re smart you should still study
In college, I was the kid who “worked hard” and got in, while all my friends were legitimately smart.  After my first year, I realized I wasn’t on a level playing field and that I had better start locking myself away in the library if I want to graduate.  It wasn’t going to be like high school where I could learn from my friend’s work either cuz my friends were taking different classes.  Then I had another friend who was probably the book-smartest person I know who kept studying even though he clearly knew the material.  I suppose it was kind of inspiring to actually see a nerd study more than he really needs to first hand, and not just see it/read about it second hand.

8. not to get so mad about pranks and jokes done on you, for getting really pissed often makes things worse with the wrong people
Luckily I’ve witnessed more pranks done on each other between my friends than actually have been done on myself.  It usually amazed me how they managed to just laugh it off, thinking how mad I’d be if that shit happened to me.  But they were good sports, and (usually) no harm was done.  Or if there was damage, the damaging party would apologize/pay for the damages.  But that was typically only if the damaged party stayed calm.  I realized that most of the time, what’s done is done, and getting really angry doesn’t help the problem and will usually make you look like an ass.  Handle your business with some class.

9. sharing is caring
I guess this goes back to #2 a bit, though for non-monetary things instead.  A lot of my friends have shared so many things with me and not asked for anything in return most of the times, and letting their stuff be used communally without having to ask them for permission (which is nice since I know they trust me and everyone else enough with their belongings and aren’t all introverts).  Typically it’s a good indication of their personalities in general.  I have found that generally speaking, people who aren’t very pleasant (that’s not to say mean or anything) aren’t very open to sharing.  And with that in mind, I suppose I should try to be more open to sharing things with people who I trust, or at least make an effort to, and not get so antsy when they accept my offer.  So this one, #9, takes a page from #6.  That is, “don’t be a little bitch.”  I’ll have to keep remembering that.

10.  being weird is ok
Some people I know are different from the masses, and they pretty much don’t care.  They’re comfortable with themselves and aren’t concerned with what’s normal, or what they should do.  And people like them for that.  The lesson here is that I should just do what I feel like doing.

11.  moderation really IS key
Obviously, what I’ve listed has to be done in moderation.  Bettering myself would make me go crazy if I went to the wall with each thing.  So in this one, I’m referring to everyone I know since I think what I’m ultimately aiming for is a middle ground of all the different personalities, characteristics, and traits.


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