Friends who attend research competitions together, stay together. Through all the sleep deprived giddiness I’ve acquired over the past 7 days, I can’t recall the actual wording of that colloquialism, but I maintain that my rendition is comparably accurate. For whatever reason I cannot precisely pinpoint, the kids who do research seem to naturally “click.” Perhaps it’s the common environment that raises us to be compatible friends, or perhaps it’s the fact that we are all collectively so socially awkward that, around each other, none of us are even socially awkward anymore.
“Research cliques” were a phenomenon I first recognized after attending the NC School of Science and Math. After our common struggles of conducting literature reviews, research proposals, experiments…and failing more than once, we all became such fast friends. If I take a step back and contemplate these interactions from a third person perspective, it would seem crazy. Oftentimes, the people I’ve met in the past two years through research are closer friends than the people I had known back home for ages. It’s something about our like-mindedness that is distinctly beautiful and inexplicably compatible.
Reminiscing over my experience at BYSCC, I find that there is more truth to my mantra than ever. All of the delegations were so culturally diverse: Americans, Australians, Danish, German, Ukrainian, and more. Yet everyone was so just so open and friendly that I feel as if I had known them all for so much longer. I must say, one of the most amusing parts is when our accents start to meld together. When talking to the Australian students, I sometimes found myself dropping a couple “r’s” in my pronunciation of words, and vice versa.
On the last evening, we all decided to exchange contact information and to make a Facebook group for the conference attendees, but it’s still sad that I may never see some of these people again. I will absolutely miss all of them, and my fellow American delegates as well. Even though Anne Blythe, Alec, Emily, and I are all from North Carolina, the geographical distance between all of us will make it difficult to gather often in person, especially with Alec and me going to college next year.
Nevertheless, I can say that this trip has given me the experience of lifetime and has helped me make friends that I hope to retain for a lifetime.