Making friends

Postgraduate life (or graduate student life, to my American readers) is a very different social milieu from undergraduate life. Everyone spends less time on campus. A number of people work. People who are from London have their existing social circles. In my programme we don't do group projects, and the kind of readings we're assigned are the kind best done on your own, at least for the first pass through the material.

So every time I've had a proper conversation or gotten together outside class with someone from my programme, I've felt like tweeting immediately: "Making friends. Woo!" Yes, in some ways it feels like kindergarten all over again.

What's really helped, socially and academically, is a couple of students taking the lead to organise an informal reading group that's open to everyone in my programme. Anyone interested gets together one evening a week to talk about some extra reading from our core course, and after about two hours of whacking away at it, we adjourn to the pub for a drink.

Plus we started a blog that my coursemate Dan christened Potlatch (I suggested Posterous to him because it's particularly handy for group blogs). There isn't time enough in the world to look at all the links and readings everyone's been sharing, but it's great for collecting ideas and inspiration in one place.

Tonight a bunch of us went to a talk at an Chisenhale Gallery ("Can anything genuinely new emerge in a political landscape that is clogged with ideological junk?") by Mark Fisher, then over to a pub where we contemplated: a) the end of capitalism, b) the spectre of the Terminator movies, c) whether the theorists we read would have come to similar conclusions if they were born in the developing world, d) how philosophy can get beyond people discussing things in a pub.

Making friends – woo!



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