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tuesday, january 16, 2001

my beautiful campus has two problems: it has to be the coldest and windiest part of the local area. it has to be at least 20 degrees colder than the rest of town and the winds have been known to literally pick up people and drag them across campus. i suppose this should be no surprise. the campus is nestled in a bowl at the foothills of our local mountains and is surrounded on three sides, to some degree, by them. the winds come down the passes and whip right through the buildings. yes, this morning was very cold and it was very windy when i got out of class today. practically winter gear weather . . . if you have any.


i proved what an idiot i can be sometimes. i have been trying to reconnect with some of my old professors and such, mostly so i don't feel quite so alone. the campus is huge and overwhelming at first, and you really do feel kind of small until you get used to it. and you do get used to it, it just takes a little time and finding people you know or making friends. being away for over 18 months has sorta brought back some of that small dot in a big pond feeling (and, yes, i do mean dot, not fish . . . dots are smaller). so i have been trying to reconnect with people i know and the ones easiest to find are professors. however, while some of them have become more friendly than others, i really cannot say they are my friends per se. so why do i speak to them as if they are? the ones who have had me in more than one class are accustomed to it, i guess, and know that's just how i am: open and friendly. however there are those who aren't, and it became really awkward with the one got in touch with today. i really do have to learn to back off for some people. I may be comfortable being open like that, but THEY aren't.


i had one class today: interpersonal communication and relationships. today we had a brief discussion of public versus personal and how we gradually move into more personal territory. Being the net addict that i am, this brought to mind the "exception" of online journals to mind. for most journalers, the whole conversation doesn't really apply: they don't personally know their readers, wouldn't recognize them if they walked into the same room, and basically journal in anonymity. but not ALL journalers share that lack of relationship with their readers. i have readers i talk to every day, that i HAVE seen pictures of and COULD recognize in person. i DO have a relationship with these readers as casual friends or whatever the case may be. And other journalers have the same kind of contact with some of their readers as well. And many of these journalers, like myself, are VERY open and personal in their journals. some of us talk about things in these online journals that we would never discuss elsewhere. so what brings out the more personal in this not so personal space?

one student suggested it may be a bid for attention. for some maybe, but i really don't think so for the majority of us. i considered the idea on the way home on the bus and came up with a possible theory. the online journal is a validation of what we are thinking, feeling, and experiencing. paper journals are all well and good, but unless you share it with someone there is no real validation. you may never know your readers, or you may know some of them as close friends or intimate acquaintances, but the mere fact that they come to read what you have to say is a form of validation. what we have to say is important enough, good enough, or entertaining enough for others to WANT to read.

i am sure there are other reasons why the online journal can be so addictive, even to those who are generally extremely private. but i do think this is a big reason we are finding so many journals online. in our real lives it can be so hard to be validated: there is always a student better than you, always enough "noise" around you to make you wonder if you were heard, always the question in the back of your mind wondering if people even care. with an online journal you can see that people are interested in what you have to say and who you are.


and i bet you thought this entry was about something else entirely. ;)

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