Opinion

It pays to be social

I am so ready for The Social Experiment. Given all the attention the game has recently garnered, I hope it can live up to the hype. I’ve always been fascinated with massive groups of people doing fun things together, and this game is drenched in opportunity for awesomeness.

My friends have long been obsessed with instituting an on-going student body wide event of some sort. While The Social Experiment doesn’t offer the same possibilities as, say Humans and Zombies, it is much more plausible on our urban campus. The only thing stopping the experiment from working is our own social awkwardness or the “I’m too cool for school-ish activities and building a sense of community” attitude.

What’s the worst that could happen? They’re paying us to participate, in their nice Columbia way. Show up to a sporting event, get a t-shirt. Exchange silly words and phrases with a stranger, 500 dollars in the bank. The perks of being a student here are seemingly endless, even if they might seem slightly pathetic to outsiders. But we have to take advantage of them.

So, Columbia, let’s do it. It’ll be fun! Release your inhibitions, like that song says. Don’t just make eye contact as you walk to class, follow it up with a “Hi.” Take off those headphones so you won’t have an excuse to act like you can’t hear. When you have to sit with new people in John Jay because all the other tables are full, don’t just pull out your “reading,” actually strike up a conversation.

If you’re nervous about all the social interaction, start slow. First ask your actual friends and the “friendly acquaintances” you see everyday. Move up to the people in your building, and don’t waste the bonding opportunities of laundry room and elevator time. I’ll admit that beyond this level, talking to actual strangers seems a bit daunting. But that’s the point. And if we all feel silly together, then there’s no reason not to participate.

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