The post I was trying to write for today didn't work out - bit off a bit much. So instead, a story.
At the end of sophomore year in college at Michigan State, I had a decision to make. What job for the fall? I had been working in the chemistry library, but they lost funding for my job. There were two possibilities - a lab job in the physics department working for the Fermilab group, and a TA job in the math department.
I was an astrophysics major. My math guru had convinced me that there was so much cool math to take (like this stuff) that I was only going to be one class away from a math major, so I added that.
I had had a job programming (in Fortran!) monte carlo simulations for the Fermi group, so I knew them a bit. And I was mainly physics - I wanted to be a cosmologist, after all - so I had decided on the physics job. I went over to the math department to turn down the job.
We head to the undergraduate chair's office, and this crazy lady bursts out of the office next door. She starts sprinting down the hallway, says to us in passing, back in a second, then shouts down the hallway: you're not getting out of here without a hug!
Obviously, this was where I wanted to work.
The crazy woman became one of my best friends ever, Judi Miller. She had a huge effect on so many of the people passing through the math department, undergrads, grads and faculty before retiring, and still has on many of the people who pass through her life in other ways.
That summer I went off to teach in the Bronx, which blew my mind. Coming back to teach/TA was the start of me finding out how much I loved it, and a big step towards choosing math grad school over physics or astronomy.
The friends I shared an office with were amazing buds. We had velcro darts, which led into the Albert Collins Velcro Darts Hall of Fame. And we loved our office. In an effort to build community we decided to have a wine and cheese party (a different age, it was) and I drew up a flier. Macintoshes were new and shiny, so probably in MacPaint. But I got the date wrong, the 2nd, as it was supposed to be the 8th. Fixed the sign by hand, sort of, and the party was on the 8nd. Ever after our wine and cheese parties were on the 8nd.
So happy 8nd to all of you. I hope you find your own crazy ladies and office crew and the time to build community.