Ah, the second day. There is nothing like the "Dilemma of the Second Day".
First day of the course is pretty straightforward. You come in basically knowing no one, so you pick a seat that seems comfy (and probably doesn't attract too much attention), then you get to know people who sit around you and enjoy learning with them and from them.
But the second day is more complicated. You come into the room, you see those who you sat with yesterday, and you start asking yourself, "Should I sit with them or should I move to sit somewhere else?" You might also think "I'm here to connect with as many people as I can. So do I move somewhere else so I can meet more people, or should I stick to the same group to know them better?" And a few of you might think "I think I could find a more enjoyable company than yesterday, but would they feel hurt if I don't sit with them?"
That's the Dilemma of the Second Day. It actually happens on every subsequent day, but it first hits you on the second day. I'm sure the phenomenon itself is nothing new, but I took the liberty of coining the name for it anyway.
My personal advice, based on my experience from last year, is to try to sit with different people every day. After all, there are no strangers in Macy courses; only friends you haven't yet met.
I know that this phrase can sound very cheesy and is also highly disputable, but for Macy I have to agree with William Butler Yeats. One day during the Macy course of last year, a traffic accident caused me to arrive late, and I simply could not go to sit with my friends without causing too much distraction to the class. So I begrudgingly slipped into the empty seat that was closest to the door, firmly placing myself between two strangers that I had thought I had no business conversing with.
You know what, we have become good friends. And now, one year after we first met, we still keep in touch, with plans to get together soon.
There is nothing wrong with sticking to the same group, of course. But I you have the chance, I strongly encourage you to move around, at least just for fun, if nothing else.
Atipong Pathanasethpong, MD, MS
Atipong Pathanasethpong, MD MMSc (MedEd) (Educators ’15, Leaders ‘15) is a graduate of the MMSc in Medical Education Program at Harvard Medical School. Atipong works as an anesthesiologist and medical educator at Faculty of Medicine, Khon Kaen University, Thailand. He is currently active in instructional design and in disseminating cognitive science concepts to his trainees and colleagues. You can reach Atipong via Twitter at @AtipongPath.