Being part of a group is always a comforting feeling. It makes us feel that we are rooted, and that we can always go back to that group if nobody else accepts us. Even though we may feel like we’re misfits with weird habits, we can’t be so different from the group we belong to. After all, we’re a part of it, right?
The Taylor Swift concert on Monday reinforced all the above ideas, and made me happier for being a part of the Harvey Mudd College community.
Everything that was scheduled to happen between 7 p.m. and 11 p.m. at HMC was rescheduled to accommodate the concert. That my study group changed its midterm study plan was the least of it. All tutoring sessions were cancelled; of course the tutors wanted to go for the concert, but even if they stayed back, there would be nobody to tutor on campus. Old faithful Jay’s Place opened three hours late at 11 p.m.
At about 7 p.m., hordes walked south from the HMC campus to the concert hall, as if to a marching tune. Swift’s “You Belong With Me” and “Love Story” replaced the marching tunes. Waiting outside Big Bridges, everyone knew everyone else, and the sponsors handing out freebies to everyone gave me the feeling of being at a fair.
Once inside the auditorium, I was all the more convinced that I was at the concert with everyone from my college. An engineering student had devised an illuminated “I love TS” sign using LED indicators. A math major’s shirt’s slogan said, “My favorite math series is the Taylor series.” Everyone jeered emphatically when the presenter cracked the most trite of Harvey Mudd jokes: “I hope there are no Caltech students in here!”
However, the greatest satisfaction was knowing that we had all worked together to bring Swift to Claremont. Everyone dutifully voted every day to make this happen: fans of Swift, friends of fans of Swift, alumni and even some professors. Even cynics had a little bit of hope that maybe a small school of fewer than 800 students could bring an international music star to their campus with the power of their votes.
The Taylor Swift concert showed me the value and reward of acting as a community. Anything that’s common between some people can be used to start a group. Like horror movies? You have a group. Like playing basketball? Make a schedule to play together. The key is to make the commitment, however small or big, and stick by it. Everything becomes more fun if you do it with the people you love, be it eating pizza rolls at Jay’s Place or singing along to “Our Song” at a Taylor Swift concert.