All my life I have been that introvert who seldom says more than ‘Hi’ to their neighbour. It’s not that I have something particularly against most people; it’s just that I like to keep myself to a few people and these few people are unaware of my introvetrsy.
And so, when one day I somehow got selected to participate in a one day event where necessarily I had to go up to strangers my age and talk, introduce myself, look interested and be prepared to remember their names, at least for the next few hours, it was nothing short of a nightmare for me.
To fulfil the need of the hour, I upped my ante and decided that ‘Hey, I am Paridhi, I am from IIT Guwahati. What about you ?’, should be on the tip of my tongue for the next few hours along with a non-threatning smile.
Starting from 7:00 PM to 11:00 PM at a networking dinner one day and then from 8:00 AM to 11:00 PM the next day, it was all talking, interacting, introducing and a definite test of my memory. I never knew that networking could be so exhausting. But its not the fatigue that I want to address. It is what comes after that!
For days, after I had returned to my college, I had to resist the urge to go up to every stranger I see and introduce myself. For days, I was perplexed, a little confused as to why the strangers around me are just passing by and not smiling at me, or even acknowledging me with a nod. More than that, I was puzzled with my own behaviour. I felt like an alien inside my own body. It wasn’t a good feeling, though, of course it wasn’t particularly bad either. It was just new.
Would I attend more of these meetings, knowing fully well that this feeling of ‘alienation w.r.t my own body’ will be replicated every time? Yes, perhaps, and hopefully in a field I am really interested in, not something I applied to just to test whether I could get into some events like these. Because, it sounds silly but I emerged a little more confident about my future plans than I was before this ‘19hr Networking Marathon’. A little more confidence never hurts anyone I suppose.