I’m convinced the primary goal universities have for Doctoral students is to make them even more socially awkward than they were when they showed up. I realized this at a party the other day when I noticed I wasn’t talking to people as much as I was observing them. I used to be interesting, now I’m just weird.
This education-induced awkwardness doesn’t start in graduate school. Remember your elementary school days? I’ll bet you were a happy, outgoing kid with a lot of friends, right? Remember High School? How did those years work out for you socially? See what I mean. More education equals more social awkwardness and it doesn’t stop at high school.
OK, so just because there appears to be a correlation, it doesn’t imply cause and effect. But really, what else could explain my need to observe patterns associated with behavioral economics over dinner with my husband and his parents and then feel compelled to go home and write about it.
One reason I might appear socially awkward is because when I relax, things I’ve been struggling to understand all day suddenly make sense. A glass of wine somewhere—anywhere—other than my desk sometimes makes me see problems more clearly. There’s nothing quite like having an AH-HA! moment in the middle of a cocktail party and feeling compelled to try to explain it to someone. While everyone else is talking about what happened on Dancing With The Stars last night, I suddenly say, “You know I’ve just had a thought, I wonder if values gates are the reason decision sets change? Let me explain…” They never assume I’m brilliant and might be a Nobel Laureate someday; they just smile politely, assume too much time in a windowless office has finally driven me mad, and discretely move to another group.
I’ll be really glad when my degree program is behind me so I can work on being interesting again. In the meantime, I need to work on my small talk. Anyone know what the Kardashian’s did this week? I’ll need at least 3 reliable sources to support your information.