An Introvert's Perspective on the Social Scene and "Green Key"
I've always been the type of person to find comfort in low-key and mellow activities such as reading a book, having intellectual discussions with my friends, or going to a social event that lacks the stereotypical "party scene." I've never had anything to really challenge this mindset; It describes me in my comfort zone, and I never really thought too much about it. However, the small Dartmouth community has prompted me to get out of this "bubble" of mine, and I think this was perpetuated by the annual "Green Key" event. If you don't know what Green Key is, you can read more about it here. To summarize, it is an event full of music, good food, socializing, and letting loose. For me, it is an event that would normally either cause me to isolate back into my bubble or finally step out of that comfort zone. This time, I decided to choose the latter and I can't be more grateful for it.
I suppose a part of my not wanting to partake in the big social events here stems from my childhood shyness. Now, don't get me wrong, in everyday life I would be mistaken as the biggest extrovert you could possibly imagine. I'm outgoing, friendly, loud, and not the least bit reserved. However, if you were to give me the choice of going out to a social event where I have to adopt my alter ego or stay in with a few friends where I can be my usually reserved self, then I would choose the latter (almost) every time. I guess an aspect of not wanting to partake in an event like Green Key is the fact that there are substances present as well. I mean, come on, it's college. For anyone else, it's just a part of life. But, if you remember some of my past blog posts, you know I've seen substance abuse at its worst with my family. So, the two biggest reasons I wouldn't want to venture out to scenes like Green Key are my introvertedness, and my past experience with substances.
Last night was different. Green Key was different. I've talked to you all about how I truly feel that I'm a part of a Dartmouth community that has my back, and that was shown at Green Key. I found myself alone on this Friday afternoon, mostly because I had been busy the entire day. I planned on trying to escape campus and go play golf – something I would normally do to escape any social commitment. This did not happen. In a few conversations with my friends, I found myself urging them to go to Green Key because "it only happens four times in your Dartmouth career," "why not live it up?" Then, I realized I was not practicing what I was preaching. I heard myself say this and ended up in the long line to enter the Green Key concert. What was I doing? I was nervous, out of my element, and frustrated. But I stuck with it. I entered the gates to the concert and got a "Green Key" t-shirt thrown at me from the confuzzled staff trying their best to get them out to all the students… this made me laugh. I then started to look at the other students at the concert – some were in large groups, some small, some by themselves. This comforted me. I opened my phone and navigated to the camera to see if my hair looked good and if my glasses had any smudges on them. Just as I did this, a fellow student came up to me and said, "Don't worry man," "I promise you look good, let's go have a good time." That also comforted me.
Once the concert started and things got heated, I found myself in the middle of the mosh pit that I am usually morally opposed to. And you know what? I genuinely enjoyed myself. I was shoulder-to-shoulder with students I had never met, smiling, dancing, and vibing with each other. No one cared if you were there by yourself or gave a second thought about if you were slightly awkward. Not one substance entered my body, and I still had an amazing time – something I thought was impossible. Every person I interacted with, whether it was elbowing them on accident, shouting incoherent introductions to meet each other, or casting a brief smile and "WOOOOOO," they all made me realize I was at home. We were all there to have a good time as Dartmouth students, and it was a positive environment – sheerly the opposite of everything I thought a party would be like here. Interesting. I realized these social scenes are what you make of them, and although I have a lot to learn, they are not at all what I had assumed.