I spent the weekend in Dallas visiting friends in med school at UT Southwestern. A flashback to student life -- the existence of summer vacations, free evenings and weekends spent hanging out in friends' apartments, parties within a largely confined social group which revolves around people in your field of study (medicine) and class year (MS1).
As I was entering my second hour of lounging in the pool on Saturday, I thought vaguely about how different the med school life is from my life in New York now. NY means no summer vacations, little socializing to speak of on weekdays, every other party is a new crowd with new faces who I may or may not ever see again. It means thinking about what you wear even to go to the bookstore or Central Park, unlike in Dallas where everyone shows up to parties in jeans.
In New York, I have a core group of 5 or 6 friends who I see frequently, and everyone else shifts in and out of my wider social circle depending on circumstance and situation. In med school, my friends have a core group of 10-20 people who they see frequently, and which also serves as their wider social circles. They rarely meet people outside of med school.
It's interesting. I wonder which social situation leaves people feeling more satisfied, having more stable friendships or having a more steady flow of new acquaintances.