8:17am: Hit the road. I’m leaving 17 minutes later than I did in the fall since my first class doesn’t start until 9:30. I wonder if this will be enough time, enough time for me, that is.
8:48am: Arrive on campus. I sailed across the expressway free of rush-hour traffic and made good time without speeding excessively. My cigarette is already half smoked though, as I wasn’t sure if I’d have enough time to smoke one after parking my car, so now I get to stare dumbly at my phone. I don’t want to be here.
9:05am: I begin the walk from my car to Holmes Hall, which is a decent distance. I go in the ground-floor library entrance then go upstairs and all the way over the overpass. It’s cold. Down three small flights of stairs, then across a cement courtyard of sorts and around the corner and there it is. This is my only class not in the Liberal Arts Building, and I’m paranoid that, despite checking this very morning, I will enter the building and my class won’t be there.
I forget if my classroom is on the first or second floor or in the “basement.” Turns out, it’s in the basement. I’m excessively early and eventually more students arrive, all of us waiting. Finally the professor, who looks an awful lot like Tina Fey, lets us in. The room is too small for how many cheap swivel-chair-desk-combos there are. They’re nearly on top of one another, and I struggle to make my way to the back. The back of the seat is shoved against the wall so I have to move the desk in front of it to make room for my actual body to shove itself into the seat. I know I’m a larger person, but this is ridiculous.
9:30am: The professor starts going over the incredibly long syllabus. It’s basic sense, really. The thing I’m most worried about is the research paper and the project. I don’t like projects. I start to feel anxious about the workload.
Three people in the class have major lisps. This bothers me to the point of homicidal fantasies.
A black girl comes in late, I specify “black” because when she sat down in front of me, turning the desk sideways and crashing into me, I noticed a plastic grocery bag full of weaves sticking out of her bag. She kept rubbing her nose with a dirty napkin, which further angered me.
The professor, after finally finishing up the syllabus, went around the room to each student and had us tell the class one thing about ourselves. I hate this, but I actually had something ready to say. I was the only one the professor forgot to call on.
10:45am: I begin walking back to my second class, immediately getting turned around and walking out the wrong door. I correct this mistake and head back the way I came, going underneath the overpass and then up flights of wet stairs. The overpass has an incline and I walk very fast, and find myself struggling for breath in my out of shape state.
10:52am: I take a piss, all the while trying to settle my heart rate.
11:00am: British Novel II. One of the girls with a lisp is sitting across from me, and she seems nice enough, it’s just that lisp. The professor, an unmarried, poorly-dressed plain-faced woman, first has us write our names on a large piece of paper so the rest of the class can determine who we are. Then she gives us a question: “If you could revisit any point in your life as you are now, which moment would you pick and why?” In my notebook I write, “There isn’t a point in my life I’d like to revisit, the reason being that revisiting and having an ‘outsider’ perspective would change what I think of that experience. I don’t want this changed, since my experiences helped mold me into the person I currently am, and I don’t want my current perspective altered.”
We have to partner up and share what we wrote. The girl next to me, Kate, I think, tells me she’d like to revisit the time when she was five years old and got chased up a tree by a goose. Our conversation ends quickly.
My professor says “um” so many times that I wish I had started counting at the beginning of class. It enrages me, because I become enraged over nothing. I watch her say it. I look at her grey plaid tights underneath the black polka-dot dress as she says it over and over until I think I’m going to lose my mind.
12:04pm: The “Um” Professor lets us out early, bless her lonely heart. I immediately dash to the courtyard outside the Liberal Arts Building, the one with all the benches around the abstract and unpleasant-looking fountain, which is off for the winter. It’s extremely windy. I crouch down to light my cigarette and sit on the damp wooden bench. The wind whips my hair all around me and slaps the ash off the cigarette before it’s ready. I finish half of it before I give up on trying to feel calm.
12:15pm: I walk back into the same classroom as before, since my children’s literature class is taking place in there as well. The girl with the lisp says, “You’re in a lot of my classes.” The people who were waiting outside the door flock in, including this short, chubby kid named Dakota who was in my intro to literary analysis class last semester. He sits next to me and talks about how it’s his birthday and he overslept, and he missed the same young adult literature class I was in that morning, but it’s his birthday so whatever, and he’s gonna out later tonight. He’s the first person to talk to me all day, really, so I engage in the conversation and wish him a happy birthday and recommend a bar downtown for him to go to.
12:30pm: The same Tina Fey-like professor teaches the children’s literature course. It’s another big class, and she wants us to arrange our desks into rows. She goes over the syllabus and whatnot almost verbatim as she did earlier in the day. This time when she goes around the room asking us to say one thing about ourselves, she calls on me first, and I say, “You forgot me in your other class,” to which she expresses surprise. I tell her that it’s okay, I don’t like talking about myself. She urges me to say something else, but I say, No, that’s my thing. I don’t like talking about myself.
We have to do one project on one of the books of our choosing during the semester. I have a really cool idea for Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, but of course we’re reading that first, and the project would have to be done by February 9th. Not happening.
My phone goes off during class and the girl next to me sort of compliments my Lord of the Rings ringtone.
1:48pm: I stop in the bathroom on the first floor and see Cady in front of the mirror, sloppily applying lipstick. We hug briefly. I tell her I’m surprised to see her and I wasn’t sure if she’d make the spring semester. There’s lipstick all over the outside edges of her mouth. We chat for a minute more, then she says she’s gonna go, but since I have poetry next, I should say hi to her friend Joel. I don’t know if I want to even meet this person. I pee, then trek up the stairs to my last class.
When I walk in I’m glad to see Richard, Tristan, and Mitchell all sitting in the back. I sit down next to Richard and Tristan says, “Is this where all the cool kids sit?” to which I reply with an enthusiastic “Yes.” Even Jessie and Kayla, two girls who were also in our fiction class from last semester, poke their heads around and greet us.
The professor is the loudest, gayest man I’ve ever come across. He immediately makes everyone move up in the seats, and I’m forced to separate from my pals. He goes around and hands everyone an index card with a different word on it. Mine says “scuba diver.” We separate into assigned groups, assigned with the task to create a 5-minute skit using all of our words. Compiled, my groups’ words are “scuba diver,” “police officer,” “advent calendar,” “petunia,” “ballerina,” and “lifeguard.” After 15 minutes of brainstorming, we have our skit.
The first group’s skit is funny. Pretty funny. Then my group has to go. The professor said not to laugh during it, but I crack at one point. It’s actually sort of fun, and the girl playing the police officer goes off into a dramatic monologue about her desire to be a ballerina. Our skit is fairly well-received.
The professor tells us we need to buy the book he edited, an anthology of independent poetry. That’s $22 scraped out of my checking account. He says not to be in this class if you don’t want criticism, and lists off things he doesn’t want to see in our poetry. He’s certainly a character, and I’m sort of terrified, but I built my entire schedule around this class so it better be worth it.
Joel, who was sitting next to me, and seems strange, introduces himself to me as I try to scuttle out of the room. I wait for Richard and down the stairs we go, bumping into Cady again. We go outside and light cigarettes, but Joel arrives quickly and steals Cady away. Richard and I discuss the absurdity of the poetry professor before we say goodbye, and I walk to my car.
3:42pm: I’m finally getting on the expressway. My feet and ankles are sore, I have a cramp in my calf, and it feels like there’s a knot in my neck. I just want to get home. It feels like I’m driving through a wind tunnel. My commute sucks, and that’s the end of it.
When I do get home a couple minutes after four, I immediately shovel carbs into my mouth and I fall asleep on the couch. My makeup feels caked and greasy on my face, and I sort of want to die.