College Life: Missing small talk during break from classes a new sensation

By Toni Pennello - [email protected] | December 23rd, 2017 6:00 am

You don’t know what you have until it’s gone.

That is a special problem, because you also don’t know that you don’t know what you have until it’s gone, until you lose something, and then realize that you had it.

I just confused myself.

Anyway, I’m started to notice one thing I have, and that is friends from school.

I’m not really the type to go to parties or have a list of people I can text to have lunch with. I find that I spend a lot of time by myself at school, and if I go out, it’s with a few longtime friends of mine from my hometown that ended up in Wilkes-Barre with me. Most of them live with me. It’s like my life has built-in friends.

However, with all of the extra free time I have since break began, I’m noticing that those friends are not in the same boat as I am. They work a lot, and our schedules often don’t match up.

So I am often alone in my apartment, with only the sounds of my hissing radiator and the soundtrack from “Legend of Zelda” to keep me company.

Why does not being in school have me so lonely? I didn’t think I had that many friends.

I think I’m missing small talk. I might not have a lot of close friends, but what I do have is a whole lot of acquaintances that I enjoy as people, but don’t spend time with off campus. That’s a recipe for small talk.

I never, ever think about small talk. I’ve never come home and thought to myself, “Ah, I got a lot of small talk in today.”

I don’t even think I like small talk that much. I always thought it was less than genuine, and I never agreed with the convention that everyone must always say they are fine when asked. If I am a big, sleepy mess, and you ask me how I am, I am inclined to tell you that I am a big, sleepy mess.

Despite my regular disdain for it, now that I don’t have as much of it, I’m starting to notice.

I’m an extrovert, which means I have a low level of baseline stimulation, and I need to do things and talk to people to feel anything but loneliness and boredom.

As it turns out, small talk and class discussions have been keeping me stimulated. Who knew?

I suppose that gives me one more thing to look forward to once next semester starts.

By Toni Pennello

[email protected]

Toni Pennello is a Wilkes University senior who works in the Times Leader newsroom.