Thoughts on Fall and Social Life

For me, fall has traditionally symbolized new beginnings through inspiring social encounters as well as the rediscovery of routine in the form of mundane daily tasks. Although I welcome any signs of improved self-discipline, the high expectations of a compelling social life filled with meaningful connections have faded over the years. In fact, the closer I am to graduating, the more intensely my research-oriented mind is preoccupied with the joys and woes of problem solving while social interactions continue to play a secondary role in the background. Furthermore, I no longer fully distinguish the changing of the season, the cooling weather nor the general passing of time apart from the never-ending reminders and deadlines on my calendar.

For an “old” student such as myself, university has become a solitary place of study, as my curiosity has shifted towards thematics relevant to my future. Naturally, the gratification that comes with finding one’s voice is the ideal outcome of anyone’s educational trajectories. However, this newfound passion has come at a price, for detachment and isolation from both old friends and university acquaintances have become the norm for me. Indeed, social events and happenings have gradually lost their appeal in my eyes. Apparently, I can properly excel at my studies solely when distancing myself from relationships, and vice versa, I only manage to come across as a social butterfly when the weight of a draining project is lifted off my shoulders. Although excessive social engagement is by no means a necessity, I do wish to attain a balance between those ways of existing in the world.

I wonder if this mentality of having outgrown social commitments is a common phenomenon among students at a later state of their studies, whose minds are set on career prospects possibly accompanied by sentiments of ardor or uncertainty. I am not convinced that I am progressing as a human being, though. As I carry on with my personal endeavors, my friends are not only landing more or less stable jobs in their own fields but also tying the knot and having children. These superfluous yet human comparisons to people of the same age may similarly diminish the allure of those academic gatherings now considered outdated.

Despite the weakening value of fall in my everyday observations, the season as such is sublime regardless of its forgotten charm buried deep in my restless mind. As this is probably the last fall I am going to experience as a student, I ought to embrace it with affection.