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Shades of Gray

“Don’t worry, it’ll just happen.”

That’s what I heard about study groups before I enrolled. It’s code for “complicated” in my experience. People say something will “just happen” when they can’t explain how it happened to them or how it might happen to you. You hear it most often in reference to incredibly complicated experiences like falling in love. I was skeptical. How complicated could forming a study group be?

For me, it all started with Trent. We seemed destined to meet. I ran into him everywhere except the ladies room, and even then I’d run into him on my way out. During the technology orientation we were sitting together (of course) and he leaned over and whispered in my ear. Coincidence culminated in friendship.

The next night, my boyfriend and I went to a small group welcome dinner. On arriving, we found only one other student, Emily, and her friend-date for the evening. The four of us had a fabulous time. I later learned that the rest of our assigned group sat outside. What a happy accident that we came inside instead!

Later that evening we ran into Trent (of course) and he joined us for the pub crawl. Over several hours and several beers, we discussed topics as typical as movies and as taboo as religion and politics. By the end of the night, we vowed over a basket of fried cheese to study together. “There it was,” I thought. “It just happened.”

I was wrong. The group didn’t form all at once; it continued to grow and change. The three of us began to meet during Foundations and we invited other students to join us. We were seeking hot little numbers – literally, people that are hot with numbers – and we met people from lots of backgrounds that simply charmed us. We liked them, and we wanted to be liked in return.

We won some and lost some. We gained Luis and Jannike early on, from Crimson Greetings. We tempted Sumi away from his first group when they stood him up one morning. And now Elizabeth may join us (We’re the best, we really are!). Several other people checked us out, but then decided they weren’t interested in us. We were sad about losing them, but we didn’t take it personally. Sometimes things just don’t work out.

So now we are a study group of seven, if everyone stays, and we each have our own story about how it happened. For me, it began with coincidence, grew through recruiting and popularity jostling, and somewhat resembled dating. I’m sure we’ll have some adjustments to make along the way, but we’re ready to take on what the future brings us.

It’s complicated stuff, falling in love with a study group.

September 23, 2002
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