Wot I Think: The Average Everyday Adventures Of Samantha Browne

The Average Everyday Adventures Of Samantha Browne [official site] is a free game, a short story about the experience of social anxiety, and indeed the experience of making a mug of oatmeal. And it’s really rather special. Here’s wot I think:

Samantha Browne is, I discern, an American student studying in the UK, living in shared halls of residence, with a shared kitchen. And I know that as I write that last part some people will have read and said, “Uh huh,” while others will have felt a cold shiver down their spine. The first group is rarely aware the second group exists. This is a game about someone in the second group.

It is, I suppose, what is now known as a visual novel, a game in which your involvement is to make occasional binary choices that impact the direction things take. It’s all presented with some really splendid doodly drawings, occasionally animated, and with excellent music from Adrianna Krikl. But more than anything, it’s an attempt to convey the sensation of terror at having to leave the safety of a locked room and enter a shared space with unknown people. And it works.

I’m grateful that my particular brand of anxiety disorder, while crippling and brutal in its own ways, doesn’t include social anxiety. While I may be tearing myself to pieces about other matters inside, being the centre of attention or showing off in a room of people I’ve never met has never bothered me at all. While an introvert, I can revel in extroverted moments so long as I know there’s a way out, a known route back to the safety of solace. (Take away my exit strategy and I’m a gibbering mess. I wait until I’ve gotten home from such things to then lose my mind worrying about imaginary concerns of things said and done.) So it’s fascinating to have such a different form of the tiresome condition explained in such a specific vignette.

Browne hasn’t eaten all day, presumably because she hasn’t left her room all day. An online friend, most likely from back home in the States, nags her to eat something, and so she commits to creating a mug of oatmeal. Which involves opening that door, walking down a corridor, and desperately hoping that the communal kitchen will be empty. It won’t be.

So much is so quickly captured by the game in tiny details. You’re told by Browne in her catchy, gentle chatter that she’s living in “dorms”, but for some reason everyone around her calls it a “flat”, so she’s calling it that too. A tiny thing, but it immediately highlights her otherness, her desire to adapt to fit in (at least in her head). Once you get to the kitchen there’s a lovely moment where she’s daunted by the prospect of using a kettle – again, a sweet observation of a peculiar Atlantic division: almost all Americans don’t use electric kettles. (As a Brit, this is inconceivable when first learned – the idea of putting analogue kettles on stoves feels like something you should only ever have to do when camping, and then only if your extension cable ran out somewhere on the A38.)

If you’re not a social anxiety sufferer, then the rest is up to your empathy. For most, popping into a room to heat some porridge is a forgettable moment, but for Samantha it’s the lowlight of her day, the thing she’s been building up to for hours. This is best captured by the microwave scene, the agonisingly long time it’s taking, the grinding clinking sound of the spoon stirring in the ceramic mug, the chatter of others in the background, and cruelly, the introduction of Samantha’s heartbeat to ensure the sense of tension. I felt it, that need to get out of there! To be done, to get back to safety.

My first time through things finished with Samantha Browne sat on the floor in the corridor, sobbing, with a mug of oatmeal going cold beside her. My second time I made it back, I did it, I ate oatmeal. Then I went back to deliberately make bad choices, to see the consequences. A play through lasts maybe ten minutes, and let’s remember this is free. No complaints here.

That doesn’t change my wishing for a more elaborate version of the same game. Samantha’s bedroom is full of things the point-and-click adventurer in me wants to ‘look at’, and it would be lovely to see such sharp writing given more space to explore the character before making the terrifying journey out the room. But this works, and works well. It definitely makes me very interested to see what developers Lemonsucker do next.

Anxiety disorder sucks in all its various forms, and is very difficult to understand without experience. It’s tempting to dismiss it with, “Oh everyone gets worried, but most people have the sense to put it in proportion.” It’s not that. I think I can best capture an element of it thus: You know that moment when you’re about to jump off the top diving board? Or begin an absail? Or tell the guy or girl that you fancy them? That moment when you realise you’re actually going to do it, and your stomach turns, your chest tightens? Imagine someone pressed ‘pause’ on that moment, and you were stuck there for hours, for days. A moment of awful intensity that’s meant to last a couple of seconds somehow not going away, a primitive invasion of fight-or-flight mechanisms at a time when there’s nothing to fight, nor anything rational from which to fly.

It’s exhausting, miserable, terrifying. Even when you know what it is, that it’s irrational and you don’t need to respond, even then it’s still there, still happening to you. That’s part of anxiety disorder. If you recognise the symptoms and want to get some support, please do check out the links at the bottom of this article.

The Average Everyday Adventures Of Samantha Browne is free, a really interesting little thing, and available on Itch and Steam.

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  1. Premium User Badge

    Kemuel says:

    I took to keeping all my food and crockery in my room as a fresher at Uni after discovering that a. stuff of mine would vanish and b. I really didn’t like going in the kitchen when I could hear other people were sat in there chatting. Went as far as buying washing up liquid for my bathroom sink. Needless to say I can identify rather strongly with this.

  2. noodlecake says:

    I have social anxiety. When I was younger to the point where I had a kettle in my dorm and a really not very good mini fridge where things would go off very quickly and basically just lived on things that I hoarded in my room and could cook with a kettle or didn’t need cooking and I would wait till I was more or less certain that nobody was around and then leg down the hall and to the bus stop. I never had a problem with being around complete strangers or supermarkets or anything like that. It’s specific to people that I might have a continuous relationship with. Neighbours, colleagues, fellow students, local shopkeepers who remember me and try friendly banter.

    Counsellors, tutors, package delivery men… etc I’m very comfortable talking to because it’s their job to talk to me and nothing I do will seriously impact my relationship with them as we’re probably not going to end up friends anyway.

    I’m much better now although still have a lot of issues with it. I will use the fridge and the kitchen in my shared house but still avoid leaving my room when there are people in the hall/kitchen a lot of the time.

    Part of the problem with it is that it’s circular. The awkwardness caused by this makes people think I don’t like them, or makes them think I’m boring and have nothing to say or that I’m not very smart. Then I worry about them thinking this stuff which makes me more anxious and quiet around them which makes them think it more.

    Also, specific to being male and straight, I have the added disadvantage of struggling with romantic or sexual relationships. Straight women or gay men with social anxiety have the advantage of being attracted to men. Men won’t judge potential romantic partners on their confidence or charm or be brutal about whether there’s a “spark” or not, because a lot of the time it’s the men creating the spark in the first place.

    I have know people with similar issues and consistently the straight women and gay men succeed in dating and the straight guys fail. Weirdly I don’t know any gay women. They must all be hiding somewhere. :P

    I’m definitely bitter about this, but I’m aware that I’m bitter and know that it’s not really anybody else’s fault and that I’ll probably get on top of it eventually.

    That’s my experience of having social anxiety anyway!

    Probably not the best place to share this but I thought it was relevant… Plus I’m supposed to be writing an assignment and am in procrastination mode. :P

    • noodlecake says:

      There are some sweeping statements in there… I’m not saying “spark” isn’t important to men. It’s just less important, and guys seem to be way more patient with that aspect.

    • horsemedic says:

      I used to starve in my bedroom when my roommates brought friends over. My roommates were my friends (I didn’t have any others) and I had no problem hanging out with them alone. I was fine in rooms full of strangers too. It was the combination of familiars and strangers that short circuited my social wiring—gave me that diving-board dread John spoke of. Bowling balls rolling around in my stomach.

      Now I work in journalism (not games), which daily requires me to walk into rooms full of people I know, sort of know and don’t know and speak to whomever I need to with an illusion of confidence.

      I carry dread into those rooms, but it’s more an olive pit than a bowling ball. I can work around it. I’ve never treated my anxiety and suspect it’s no better than it was during college. If I still had roommates, I’d probably still occasionally starve in my room. But experience helps. And having a specific role—a job to do—immensely helps me navigate socially frightening situations.

    • frogmanalien says:

      I really enjoyed both this review and this comment. I have been through this exact same behaviour loop (whilst living in a student house my microwave was the only thing that kept me going since it didn’t require me leaving my room and risk meeting my fellow flat mates).
      I do sympathise with the remarks about how social anxiety is seen more negatively for hetreosexual men, but I have found partners who are tolerant of such things so do not think it’s an impossible predictament (as with all dating things it’s just a case of finding the right person). With that said, my anxiety is tied to some depression, and I’ve found this particular hard to work with in relationships/dating (to the point where I’ve awoken to the concept that being in a relationship is actually not something that happens for all people).
      I am very excited to see everyday plights that (whilst not necessarily 100%) I can relate to and it’s great to see this new level of maturity (brought on by the indies) in gaming – despite being the generic “White, Geeky, Straight, Male” combination so few games actually align to my gaming world desires even although every piece of press literature would make you think that my part of the market is a solved problem.
      I hope to see more of this.

    • tvc15 says:

      As a female and someone who suffers from social anxiety, I have to say that I found your this comment a bit disparaging and sexist: “Men won’t judge potential romantic partners on their confidence or charm or be brutal about whether there’s a ‘spark’ or not, because a lot of the time it’s the men creating the spark in the first place.”. I don’t know where you’re getting this information from because it’s not true.

      I don’t know what “spark” means to you but I did pursue and romance my male partner who at the time had very little confidence. I don’t think women are any more or less likely than men to judge someone for their “charm” or “confidence”–that’s up to the individual. If you’re going to base your sweeping statement on anecdotes I know plenty of women who seek to create the romance in their relationships. Have you considered that it could be your interpretation of women that is making it more difficult for you to enter a relationship and not that women are inherently different from and judgmental of men?

  3. Monggerel says:

    I wonder how the game would be different if Samantha was a guy instead.
    Nevermind, I do know. She’d be the psycho in the attic instead of the quiet girl.
    Yes, I’m bitter. You should be too.

    • John Walker says:

      Since this was a game written by a woman, and I infer based on personal experience, I think you can reach a more sensible conclusion about why this game features a female character.

      The notion that if a man were to have made this game he’d have written himself as a dangerous lunatic is quite the stretch. Games like these aren’t manufactured by an agenda driven corporate committee hell-bent on propagandising the evils of men – they’re personal projects created by creators. Your interpretation that it’s a back-handed condemnation of men with social anxiety is utterly without foundation.

      • Hobbes says:

        Except that’s how men with social anxiety are perceived. There’s a social stigma that goes unspoken, I know because I suffer from severe anxiety myself. Can’t do public transport, can’t do areas with significant (see more than numbers I can count on one hand) levels of people.

        If you’re a male who isolates and keeps to themselves, you’re automatically seen as something strange and potentially predatory or “creepy”. That isn’t a stigma that is projected upon a female. That in turn reinforces your perceptions of the world around you and forces you to isolate further, keeping you out of the social sphere.

        Hence why I deal only on the internet. Why I’m a tiger, not a person, humanity has double standards for everything, if you believe otherwise, you are -severely- deluded.

        • noodlecake says:

          There is some truth to this and as a male who also suffers from social anxiety I’ve experienced this to a degree, although also if you do have social anxiety you can sometimes be prone to thinking that people are perceiving you as a creep when they aren’t really.

          I went out with a bunch of people from uni after one of our exhibitions convinced that everyone in my class thought I was a weirdo or a creep. I decided to cross dress out, as I kind of like cross dressing and I was curious as to how people would react.

          Lots of people on my course told me I looked amazing and I got loads of hugs and got invited out and had a really nice time and people told me they did like me but they thought I wanted leaving alone.

          Since then I’ve still been kind of a bit isolated from everyone but I definitely feel better and know that I can join nights out with class mates if I want and they will accept me.

          But yeah. There’s definitely a much greater chance of being perceived as a creep if you’re male and have social anxiety than if you’re female and have social anxiety, just like there’s a much greater chance of having no love life.

          Nobody would make a game about how men with social anxiety are creeps though, so it’s a weird analogy. :P

          • GHudston says:

            I’m astonished that you were able to even attempt to cross dress while experiencing social anxiety. I can spend an evening worrying that I’ve worn a shirt that is too loud.

      • Monggerel says:

        Didn’t mean to bring baby politics into this and I didn’t mean this as a “binderz fulla womenz” rant. Just ruminating on personal experience the fact that all you have to do about this character to make them creepy and unsympathetic is change their gender.

        My older sister also has generalised social anxiety (and depression, and… you get the idea, we’re pretty messed up individuals) and we’ve talked about our experiences – she never had people refer to her as “the psycho in the attic” or encountered any particular form of hostility because of her asocial behavior whereas I dreaded meeting flatmates because my very presence made them cringe super hard.

        I don’t think this has anything to do with politics. If anything I expect the stereotyped reaction to be biological, because of the simple fact that men are far more likely to initiate physical violence than women. The brooding loner is, in fact, more likely to be a crazy bastard than the cheerful socialite.

        It just sucks that the world is the kinda place where you can get fucked for being born.

        • Geewhizbatman says:

          Just gotta pull the “eccentric” card. At least that was what I did as a male who loathes crowded spaces and small talk like it were bleach on my eyes. If they think I’m doing something artistic or intelligent, not just playing pokemon and eating spaghetti out of a mixing bowl, the cringes and sudden silences stop. I found my year abroad flatmates were happy to assume that this was how all American’s in a writing program acted, because they had watched the same 90s teen movies with the kid who read a lot but wasn’t that bad. Something I’ve not heard of being quite as easy for women. It is cat lady or bust. Or worse still, you’re nerdy but have a glamorous, social girl hidden inside of you–because that’s all that matters and is the only path to happiness. Plus there is much more “Come on, smile–come on, let’s go out–come on, if you only put on some nice heels you’ll have fun” for women than men. I was told heels would fix my problems only once.

          But yeah, I think it is a fair point all the same. It is the same as telling a story about a male who doesn’t have a partner but works with children. Our societal standard adds an element of fear to that which it doesn’t give to women. That fear being present in the real world is hurtful and damaging for men, no doubt. However, I would counter-point that part of that for things like this story, issues of isolation and social anxiety, is because that has been normalized for women for a good long while now. Women in attics aren’t considered as strange or unsettling because it is just what happens to women who don’t fit the mold. Spinster is still an idea people can recognize despite spinning wheels falling out of fashion. Men are allowed to be cagey, distant, and aloof even in public in a way women get much less slack about. A lonely dude can walk down the street in his shlumpy clothes and generally do alright/mostly be left alone. People might think he is odd but actually saying something about it would be rare. A woman is expected to either pretty up and get ready to be chatted at far longer than required in most interactions, or just stay indoors because someone will bring it up. That element of being trapped by society is part of the narrative and that while it might be an irksome feeling for men, is not enforced with quite as much vigor as it is for women. So, while women get the pass of not being dangerous or unsettling for their isolation–that comes at the price of it being semi-normalized, an equally uncomfortable idea and one I don’t think was chosen to “avoid” the male perspective but that could only be told with a female protagonist in mind.

          • Hobbes says:

            Lots of cogent thinking in this post. I approve of this.

            The second half in particular got me thinking about a lot of the unspoken norms that have evolved in society, some of which exist through stereotyping caused by the media, others are perhaps much more historically ingrained than that. It’s difficult for both sides of the fence gender wise (and that’s not getting into the soup of those who re-identify or de-indentify their gender at a later point) because society tells them there’s a spoken and unspoken set of rules they HAVE to conform to if they’re to survive in the chaos that is everyday life.

            Males can to some extent get away with being more sloppy with their appearance if they’re not trying to find a life partner (or already have one, or they are lucky, or rich, or any other number of exemptive factors), but weighed against that is the whole stigma of men supposed to being emotional stoics that are somehow able to both live independently but without turning into social phobics that become the “psycho in the attic” stereotype we’ve been alluding to. If they have a partner then they have to be according to stereotypical norms, the breadwinner, even though that concept is functionally out of date and has been for two decades now, and must not show weakness, even if their other half physically or mentally abuses them (and this happens regardless of what some might suggest).

            Women on the other hand are somehow supposed to navigate the minefield of bombardment of media that tells them they have to attain some kind of perfect physical ideal, are told simultaneously that they’re special snowflakes AND they don’t have enough rights (both of which are right and wrong at the same time), are supposed to project some kind of social ideal even if they’re having a terrible day and are supposed to be emotional beacons of perfection regardless of their personality flaws or whatever. On top of this they’re supposed to withstand whatever hell they suffer from the men they run into, and there’s plenty of bad examples of THOSE as we’re all too aware of, and somehow find a man that’s at least -vaguely- right for them to spend their life with, out of the many millions that are entirely -wrong-.

            It’s a miracle the human race doesn’t go insane >.>

  4. Wowbagger says:

    I didn’t know about the kettle thing! That seems incredibly bizarre.

    I’ve never had anxiety problems to the extent featured here, but my anxiety did stop me from doing things at University I would of liked to do, big presentations in front of loads of people for some reason were fine, but small seminar level ones would set me off and I’d do all the work and then just not turn up for it.

    I get along okay these days but not great in social situations still.

    • Chiron says:

      US power sockets can barely run kettles apparently, its mental.

      As for Anxiety I’ve suffered a lot with this most of my life, I’m better than I was with age but I still suffer heavily from an unwillingness to really ‘socialise’ per se. I’m not a fan of just hanging out with people of the sake of it which is… problematic.

      • J. Cosmo Cohen says:

        I’m from the US and everyone I know uses an electric kettle. Just wanted to clear that up.

        Also, I live in New England. Hmm.

        • John Walker says:

          This certainly isn’t my experience of America, nor of my American chums, and indeed nor of all American media.

          • molamolacolacake says:

            I, too, am an American that uses an electric tea kettle as my exclusive means of boiling tea water. Weirdly, also based in New England.

            I’ve never heard of American buildings generally being unable to handle the load from an electric kettle. It would have to be quite old electric infrastructure, so that makes sense for cities with a lot of old, rarely updated buildings, maybe.

          • Premium User Badge

            DelrueOfDetroit says:

            A lot of people in US/Canada have espresso (SHOW ME WHERE THE ‘C’ IS IN THAT WORD) machines which make for a decent hot water dispenser. I am just going to assume this is why because I thought of it all by myself therefore it must be true.

        • sandman2575 says:

          I am also (A) American, (B) use an electric kettle, and (C) a New Englander (Massachusetts, to be exact). All simply to reinforce the extremely important point that some small fraction of the American population is indeed proficient in the use of electric kettles… and apparently, we all live in New England.

          More to the point — like others here, I definitely have some social anxiety, although not to the extent portrayed in this game. It’s heartbreaking to know that plenty of real-life people suffer in just the way Samantha does. I’m glad the dev had the courage to make this game and offer it to the public.

        • Premium User Badge

          Skabooga says:

          Well, if we are turning this into a poll, I live in the US, and I boil my water in a kettle on the stove. I always found electric kettles odd, sort of an unnecessary contrivance, except in places where no stove is available.

          Although, as an additional data point, my father has an electric kettle in his house in which he boils water for his tea. We live in different regions, although neither of us live in New England.

          • noodlecake says:

            It’s the difference between getting tea or instant coffee in 2 minutes with no hassle (electric kettle) or 5 minutes with a fair bit of hassle (stove).

            I guess it depends how much tea or instant coffee you make.

        • aliksy says:

          I’m in new york city and I have an electric kettle. It lights up bright blue, so we joke that it’s making mana potions.

        • klops says:

          Why don’t you warm your water in a microwave oven?

          • Premium User Badge

            DelrueOfDetroit says:

            Because in order to make tea properly the water needs to be boiling, not warm, not hot, BOILING. Using a microwave to boil water means a) you are going to lose half your water over the sides and b) your mug is going to be hot hot hot.

            Canadian here and proud electric kettle user for years.

          • klops says:

            You’re a black tea person then, I assume?

          • Premium User Badge

            DelrueOfDetroit says:

            Hell yes. Earl Grey is my bro.

            I have been known to dabble in green and herbals though. Most of the time I drink tea at work (bakery) where we have a hot water dispensers.

      • Pilcrow says:

        My experience is very much the same. After years of social phobia that crippled my career, I managed to get almost out with a mix of therapy and the expedient fact of going to live in another country.
        Now, back at home, I have lost a great deal of the fear, but I am mostly uninterested. I can, but I don’t really want; and I’m not sure what is worse, because the outcome is nearly the same.

      • Premium User Badge

        magnificent octopus says:

        They can’t. I’m from the US (the South), moved to Ireland several years ago, and my mom got an electric kettle because I complained a lot about not having one when I visited. It takes at least twice as long as my one at home, and she has a nice one, not some cheap plastic thing from Argos.

        Also, on the game, I have waited for hours for people to leave the shared kitchen. Although I generally get fed up and go get takeaway instead (buying things being easier than being stuck in a kitchen with people you don’t want to talk to). And currently I live with friends, and don’t mind sharing the kitchen.

      • Geewhizbatman says:

        Electric Kettles are a thing in America but–they are far from common. You’re most likely to see one in a hipster’s home, or someone who has eating habits considered to be a “lifestyle.” Or less strict folk who also have a bread maker they never use but dream of being the sort who does. Obviously some people just like tea, but ya–in America they aren’t the new norm, so no one is crazy on either side of the fence. Most Americans, and certainly most american college students, drink coffee. Instant coffee and a kettle is what you do to survive the dark ages of European hostel kitchens. Even among the set that would have a kettle, a refillable keurig is yet still more common.

        And ya, the coasts are where you are most likely to see them. I saw a lot of kettles in San Francisco, CT, Northampton, and NY–but in between? Middle America you either boil water on the stove, or you make coffee. Having just water+electricity still seems weird to a lot of people, funny that right?

        • Premium User Badge

          teije says:

          To weigh in on this boiling topic, As a Canadian, I make both tea and coffee by boiling water on the stove (coffee then poured in a small French press). An electric kettle seems redundant and somehow wrong. But I know misguided people who use an electric kettle for tea and even worse, perc their coffee.

    • Premium User Badge

      Oakreef says:

      First time I was in America and had to use a stovetop kettle I was quite alarmed by the noise it makes when it the water is boiling. It’s not he low bubbling roar you get with an electric kettle, it’s this high pitched wail as steam is forcibly pushed through this pinhole opening at the top. I wasn’t sure if I should run back into the kitchen or not as I thought something was about to explode.

      • Premium User Badge

        DelrueOfDetroit says:

        My Oma has a kettle with a haromica on the end of it.

  5. J. Cosmo Cohen says:

    I will be playing this shortly, but I appreciate the links for help, John. I go to a counselor for my own issues, one of which includes a mild form of social anxiety. Counseling has helped tremendously. I’m not “cured”, but I’ve been better able to understand how my mind works, precautions I can take, and how to deal with unpleasant social situations. All that to say, professional help is highly recommended.

    • Premium User Badge

      DelrueOfDetroit says:

      I’ve seen counselors at several points in my life and it never seems to help. I always wind up feeling like I’m wasting both of our time.

  6. Paul B says:

    Reminds me of my first year at University – about half-way through my first year I developed a deep depression and basically locked myself in my room for the rest of that year, only coming out to cook food in the hall kitchen, trying to avoid any social contact. Needless to say I failed my degree.

    However, towards the end it got better, as I struck up a friendship with another guy down my hall and we bonded over a shared love of computer games (we used to play Starcraft over the University network).

    I learnt from that experience though and, during my next attempt at University, struck up friendships with the people in my hall, moving into a house with them during my second year, before I had to give up University due to ill health.

    Saying that, University can be a pretty isolating experience if you’re an introvert, suddenly surrounded by gregarious, intelligent people with seemingly greater life experience then you.

    • noodlecake says:

      Yeah. I had the same experience, except that returning to University years later I didn’t manage to find a friends group because my social anxiety still got in the way and I was still giving off major “don’t talk to me!” vibes. I’m still here on my final year and I feel like I’m making sort of friends but we’re almost done for the year now so it feels a bit futile. This experience of university has really done a number of my self esteem.

      I definitely feel what you said in your last sentence. Most 18-19 year olds here that have had way more life experience, as well as sexual and romantic experience than I have at 28. It’s a fairly brutal realisation to deal with.

      • Paul B says:

        In my case, I hail from a small northern town, so it definitely felt like everyone else was much more exciting and interesting than me – a feeling which eventually faded with time for me, but which I felt strongly at first.

        I think it’s made worse by reading articles, saying it’ll be the best experience of your life & to throw yourself into things during your first few weeks (which doesn’t come naturally if you’re an introvert). Then when something goes wrong you’re unprepared for it, when, in reality there are resources out there like University counselling services, that can help.

        Anyway, I hope the fact that you’ll get a degree in return for your 3-years at University, will somehow make it feel worthwhile in the end.

      • Premium User Badge

        john_silence says:

        Yeah I wouldn’t worry too much about that. There’s always a trade-off. You’ve lived ten more years than them; you may feel you haven’t done much with those years, but I believe they contributed to making you the person who’s posting interesting comments right now for instance. What would they have to say on this topic?
        I’d rather chat with you than the average college-going 20-year-old. Kids nowadays may have lots of sexual experience when in high school, but they’re still just kids who have sex (ewww). From what I’ve been able to ascertain it does nothing for their maturity, their level of instruction or their emotional balance.

        I had a friend who lost his virginity at 11 and, not to make everything about sex, had also experienced everything people usually find exciting and risqué (drugs, parties etc.) by his mid-teens. His friends were wrecks. He was so relieved to start hanging out with my circle of friends and pulling all-nighter Shadowrun pen-and-paper sessions. And it turned out he was totally insecure around girls and socially way more awkward than you’d expect. He’s a shrink now :)

        You may be surprised to find out what those 19-year-old cool customers will have become ten years from now. I’m pretty sure it would boost your self-esteem. Btw good on you for having the guts to go back to university. No wonder you have trouble making friends if you’re surrounded by kids fresh out of high-school – they do tend to see people over 22 as old. Deluded little fuckers.