I feel like I’ve become a bit predictable. I’ve written 37 posts for Culture Shock and the vast majority fall into one of the following categories: sports, home and family, science, Star Wars, and politics. It’s not that those topics have been assigned to me, but for whatever reason, I gravitate there.
In my lectures, I sit in the same general area of the room. In discussion sections, it’s almost the same exact seat every week. I almost always eat upstairs at 100 Bay State Road, watch TV from the same spot on my couch, take the same staircases in CAS. Last week, my French professor, in a class of 9, marked me down as absent because my usual seat was occupied and I had to take another. So I guess it isn’t just me.
There’s something comforting in rituals like that. We are attracted to things that are familiar, ultimately, because unfamiliar is just a little bit scarier. Still, is it things like these mundane habits that can take the excitement out of your average Tuesday?
One of the best decisions that I made this past summer was to catch the commuter rail to Providence one Sunday morning. I decided the night before that I wanted to go, and I had no idea what I would do once I got there. I had never spent any significant time there. I didn’t even know where the train would drop me off.
What happened there doesn’t make for much of a story: I wandered around the Providence Place Mall for a few hours, invested in a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup T-shirt and an Auntie Anne’s pretzel, and then made my way back to Boston. I’ve spent more time in malls than I care to admit (one of the few winter attractions at home), but something about that afternoon was thrilling. It was completely impractical, completely unexpected, completely unfamiliar. And it’s one of the things I’m proudest about from my summer.
Maybe tomorrow I’ll sit toward the front of my lecture hall or on the right side of my couch. It’s not quite as sexy as jumping on a train on a whim, but it’s the same thing holding me back. And who knows, maybe next week you’ll see a post from me about music or birds. There’s plenty to life that I haven’t talked about yet.