Out of Place

I realized tonight at a short gaming session in ‘s room that I simply do not fit in with the latest batch of SWIL. This is, obviously, not attributable to any single individual beyond myself. I think it has also been a gradual change of the last two years or so, one that I didn’t really notice or perhaps to some extent refused to accept.

It is not unconnected with my reduced involvement in SWIL over the last year, although that is partially explainable by my workload, I could have made more of an effort to be involved. It could even explain my lackluster co-presidency. At least we’re setting a good bad example for others :o).

On out-of-placeness in general, it has struck me more this semester than before. Dan and dragged me to Paces for the first time a few months ago, and I just felt like I was out of place – and it wasn’t that I didn’t know people there, but that they weren’t “my people”.

The same happened last Thursday night when I went to see a friend’s opening at the Kitao Art Gallery. I enjoyed the art, was amused by the language used to describe art, but I just didn’t belong there. Had the space that is now the Kitao been assigned to the SCCS, that would have been a different story of course. In the end, Dan and Matt and I stood in a corner talking about programming languages.

It basically comes down to being comfortable. The constant talk of slash, and sex-related conversation in general, even if it’s in jest, is just too much for me. It’s not right for me to ask everyone else to change, so I’m afraid I’ll have to largely fade away from SWIL the social group, and stick to the interesting-to-me activities of SWIL the campus group. There will still be plenty of gaming, I hope. :o) I’ll also still be active on the SWIL mailing lists, and write for SWAPA.

I hope that this doesn’t sound too depressing, because for one thing, I’m not depressed or even particularly upset about it. I’m just making an observation of my social situation, and to some extent explaining why I’ve been more and more absent from SWIL events of late.


27 responses to “Out of Place”

  1. well, then this means i’ll have to go more out of my way to find you and talk with you, you interesting, suave, fellow, you.

  2. I don’t blame you–nothing against the people currently in SWIL, but from what I’ve heard, I don’t think I would have remotely fit in in SWIL either this year, to the extent that even I might have found myself really phasing out my involvement (and I was much more involved than you were, even my senior year when I was already feeling a bit out of place).

  3. I will presumably have less work next semester than this semester. There will be more gaming. This is a promise.

  4. If you think it’s partly swil-specific, i’m not trying to argue that you’re wrong. But i wouldn’t be surprised if there’s also a factor that you’re a senior. I remember feeling somewhat out of place in general my senior year at Swat, just because i was starting to think it was time to move on. It’s a thought, anyway.

    Enjoy the rest of the year!

  5. Quite.

    Mind, I feel out of place in SWIL, too. Though that’s just my personality type or my upbringing rather than any specific issues – I’ve felt disconnected from everyone else my entire life, so I’m sort of used to not being too out of place as the best option there is.

  6. On the other hand, the sex-talk gets to be a bit much sometimes. Despite what people seem to think I don’t instigate it most of the time.

  7. You might be right.

    The thing is, the SCCS has definitely become tighter-knit over the last year. I’m also spending a lot of time with one of my main groups of senior friends, those of us who were in Parrish freshman year, since many of them were abroad last semester.

  8. Perhaps you are moving from the SWIL-current-student social group to the SWIL-alumni social group. This would be a good time to do that, anyway…

  9. I’m with you, my friend. When was I last seen at SWIL table? Quite a few days. SWIL meeting? Over a year. I just like to play games with certain people more than you do, and/or have had more free time to do it in. Make sure you invite Adam to ST:E.

  10. If I may say so, it seems to me that your interest in SWIL is limited to SciFi and comic books, which rather a lot of SWILies don’t care about.

  11. Can I encourage you to come to Alum Weekend and hang out with SWIL-the-alumni? I think you are nifty from that APA we are both in and if you will play board games with me I will try my hardest to not mention slash – this seems like a reasonable accomodation to me ::grin::.

    Ooh, you know what would be *really* cool? An Alum Weekend demonstration of the robots. We’ll all be right there on campus… think about it!

  12. I’ll agree that it’s almost certainly related to being a senior. It didn’t really happen to me until the beginning of the spring semester, but I certainly went through my share of feeling out of place, with the result that I spent even less time than I had before in groups of any sort–my social contact mostly occurred through a handful of individuals from disparate circles, and I very often preferred to eat alone in Sharples rather than with anyone because it felt so out-of-place. It’s related to realizing (subconsciously) that you’re close to graduating, I think.

    That said, the feeling isn’t pleasant, but it is normal and hopefully won’t get much worse than a moderate feeling of displacement. And yeah, SWIL seems a rather different beast now from what it was in the not-too-distant past…

  13. As I am gradumutating this year, it’s unlikely that I’ll be back this summer, as I will have just de-Swatted all of my stuff.

    I’ve been to AW the past two years because I was working at Swat over the summers. Much fun.

  14. I think your free time is just more flexible. My free time tends to come in intermittent blocks after 10 pm, when most people (including me) do not want to venture out of their dorms.

  15. It is probably attributable to being a senior – but since I haven’t felt detached from my other social groups, I have to assume that either SWIL has changed relative to me, or I’ve changed relative to SWIL, in terms of interests, methods of socialization, etc.

  16. Bzzzt! Sorry, wrong answer!


  17. yeah, there is a lot of slashy stuff and it’s weird coz i never talked as dirty before i started hanging around with a crowd that spent a lot of time talking about such things. and now there are a lot of people who actually *do* such things…

    i don’t know where all this came from or if it existed in milder form before i got here. i know i’m not the instigator, but i am the one who joins in on and amplifies running themes.

    i don’t think it’s just a graduating thing. conversations do get disturbing, and there are many people like me who have little interested in computer science or star trek but will go on about linguistics or picard/q or eating babies or something.

  18. Well– despite Angharad– I felt disconnected from the SWIL of my cohort (to the extent of not joining) because it didn’t talk about sex. You win some, you lose some.

  19. > The constant talk of slash, and sex-related conversation in general, even if it’s in jest, is just too much for me.

    I’m sorry. I’m definitely one of the people making it a problem for you– I didn’t know you were uncomfortable, I’ll try to lay off when I see you around.

  20. (rephrasing, because there’s a good point here): You care a lot about SWIL-the-organization, and SWIL-the-organization-type events, especially those actually sci-fi-related (i.e, not so much board gaming), as opposed to the frienzied and silly association with geeks characterized by those who eat 13 meals a week at the SWIL table in the small room.

    Is that better?

  21. I had thought I was the only one who objected to the puritanism of the previous regime.

    Last year, it was possible to avoid the talk of slash and to change the subject. That made the final shift away from not talking about sex a welcome thing to me–finally I was with people who I wouldn’t offend by my normal behavior patterns. If it’s gotten truly inescapable, though, then that would be a problem.

    There’s nothing wrong with fleeing the social group but staying in the organization. As long as you have a social group to flee to, no harm done.

  22. Objecting last year generally made it worse (see “There is no subtext!” in any SWILNews from that time), possibly because people didn’t think I was serious. That’s why I haven’t complained this year.

  23. It never ceases to amaze me that people can observe my friendship with without drawing the natural conclusion that we have a great deal in common . . .

    It’s a bit unfair of me to attribute impatience with SWIL solely to the lack-of-debauchery issue, since low tolerance for big-group activities (fifteen people in the same conversation, and the ones who talk at all shout) was the actual deciding factor. But certainly I was struck by the contrast between my group of SCA friends and SWIL, on first arrival.

  24. Closer, however I also hang out the SWILtable and participate vociferously in the silliness. Not as often as other people pretty much only because a) I have strange eating habits, and b) I have non-SWIL friends I see pretty much only at meals, so I have to set some time aside for them, too.

  25. (fifteen people in the same conversation, and the ones who talk at all shout)

    I totally hear that.

  26. i’m going to jump in here a bit late and remark that this is most likely heavily due to being a senior. i’ve noticed the same things within some of my social groups… i’d hate to think that i’d outgrown them somehow, but there is that possibility. of course, other groups seem to have pulled me in closer. i’ve spent a good portion of this year job-hunting and going out to the bars/clubs, so i’ve somewhat lost touch with some of the younger guys i know…

    i suppose that all of this is part of growing up. who knows. i think that trying to put yourself out there and trying to get back into the swing of things, rather than isolating yourself, is the best way to go about anything… but i could be wrong. and then again, i don’t usually take my own advice on anything.

    see you at the breck alumni soiree?

  27. and oops… that was jangie. heh.

Nurd Up!