By Taylor Griffin
New York – Hi, my name is Taylor, and I’m a closeted introvert; that is, I’m an introvert pretending to be an extrovert.
My friends would gladly deny this, as in small circles I’m typically the loudest and most obnoxious. However, when it comes to making new friends — as well as other social situations — I’d rather peel off my fingernails. True, it’s hard for anyone to make new friends, but for me, it’s actually physically painful, especially at times that require it.
Such is the anxiety I experienced when I made the trek to New York in August. I stayed with a couple of my married friends in Long Island the few days leading up to the big send off. When they dropped me off at the apartment, I clung to them harder than I did my mom on the first day of kindergarten. I was in a room full of strangers I knew I’d have to befriend if I wanted to survive the semester.
Going in, I thought they all knew each other, considering they were film majors and I, hailing from the journalism department with only a minor in film. “Great,” I thought. “I’m going to be that weird kid in the group.”
I remember in that first group gathering in our classroom space at the apartment building, looking around for a friendly face and still feeling like the odd man out. That night, my anxiety had gotten the best of me, and I went back to my room and tried to hold back the tears as I talked to my mom on the phone. How is it that mothers always know when something is wrong?
Luckily, as the week went on, I was more comfortable reaching out to my classmates and, in that, found plenty in common with the “other” major. I think more than anything I felt inferior to their seemingly supreme knowledge of the film industry that made me appear to be a poser. As it turns out, we’re all equally as savvy and passionate about this industry as any other film student would be — perhaps we like to think of ourselves too highly.
It’s refreshing to be around people who appreciate my fascination with cinema and share my ever-learning eye for it. In my other circles of friends, I’m usually the only one who, for example, cares that the composition made “12 Years a Slave” so powerful. People hate going to movies with me because I’m unable to simply watch a movie any more — movies aren’t simply “good” or “bad” to me.
Even after two weeks into the program, I’ve felt like I’ve known them for ages. I enjoyed nerding out at the Museum of the Moving Image and learning about how art has influenced film as we know it. We all gushed for a month during the New York Film Festival as we saw some of the best (and worst) movies of this fall and have formed a collective hate for the artist Jeff Koons. Talk about the worst case of the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon.
If you’re lucky enough to befriend a film major, keep them in your life; they see the world much differently than others. They believe reality is much more honestly expressed through film than any other art form simply because it speaks loudest to them. I love sitting in a room with future directors, cinematographers and editors who I can tell will create an impact on whatever field they pursue. They’ve certainly opened my eyes to aspects of film I hadn’t previously considered. Plus, only film students would answer questions with the word “rosebud” and find it absolutely hysterical.
I grew up going to a Christian school with relatively the same 70 students in my class since preschool. While I met new people along the way, I never learned how to introduce myself in group settings. For 14 years, I was set with friends. Thus, I developed a huge sense of anxiety and insecurity in this area when I got to college. Luckily, I found a community in journalism that has since alleviated a bit of the stress. News junkies are also good to keep around, for future reference.
This weekend a few buddies and I remembered our program’s first meeting in Waco the day we all found out we got our golden tickets to New York. As we sat in both relief and anxiousness listening to our next steps for the fall, all of us knew we’d end up becoming friends by default. The curious part is that despite this realization, we never spoke to each other during or after the meeting, leaving months and months before we moved here to get acquainted.
It’s funny to think about that meeting now, knowing that I was sitting in a room with some of the most genuinely beautiful people I’ve met at Baylor. Again, I let my fear of meeting new people inhibit me from forming relationships with them; I certainly missed out on those few months.
The best part of our newfound friendships is that with the exception of our December graduates, I get to continue hanging out with these people when we return to Waco. Together, we’ve experienced both the bitterness and excitement New York and encouraged each other every step of the way. I like to think of it as my New York to-go box.
I’m thankful to have friends up here who are as goofy, cynical and passionate about the art of cinema as I am. I think the Muppets put it best: “There’s not a word yet for old friends who’ve just met.”