Not on the Syllabus

| January 23, 2013 | 1 Comment

Ah, first day, spring semester. I shave, brush my hair, and put on a nice shirt—or what counts for one when 95% of my wardrobe is t-shirts—all before having breakfast in time for a 9:30 AM class. This after getting a haircut yesterday. If only I could have found my chap stick.

I’m early, like always. First one there. This will probably be my seat for the rest of the semester. Choose wisely. In theory, someone will sit next to me and introduce themselves. In theory.

The other students fill most of the lecture hall. That guy is in this class? I hate that guy. I’ve only ever seen that guy in passing; he just always rubs me the wrong way. He could be a nice guy, but I’d refuse to believe it. The girl a couple of rows ahead of me was in a class I had last semester, and lives on my floor. I don’t think we’ve ever said hello to each other. No need to change that now. The conversations that occur before class starts are between people who knew each other beforehand. This is January, after all, not September. 

You’ll note that none of these bullets say anything about meeting new people.

Does that guy need those glasses, or are they just a fashion statement? Had I known glasses would become cool, I wouldn’t have stopped wearing them in 4th grade. Maybe my left eye could read these words now. Why is that girl taking selfies? Should I tweet about that? I continue glancing around the room. The girl behind me is not unattractive. If you’re reading this over my shoulder, please say hello. Wait for it…no dice.

I kill time. Must choose the website I browse wisely: I want something that says “I own this thing for more than just using Facebook, I swear.” Selfie girl is now on Tumblr. It’s almost as if she’s not worried what the people behind her think.

Eventually, class begins. The professor goes over the syllabus. Class ends.

Later, my last class of the day. I peer in through a window to see if the class before it is still going on. Of course it isn’t; it’s the first day. There’s just a guy whose eyes looked up from his phone. Now that he’s noticed me, I have to enter the room. Bad choice. The classroom is warmer than anything should be in January. It only seems to get hotter as class goes on. How is that girl wearing a sweater right now? I’m in a polo and sweating. Please, take off your sweater. I mean, uh…that came out wrong. 

My chapped lips crack; the facade breaks. The back of my wrist suddenly has streaks of red. I can’t see what my face looks like, but I’m sure it’s noticeable to anyone bothering to glance back here. Who am I trying to impress with this fucking shirt?

Image is everything on the first day. That guy is an impression, nothing more; selfie girl is choosing the picture she shows the world; I’ve omitted things from this post I’d rather you not know. All the classroom’s a stage.

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Category: Campus Culture, featured

Ryan Brister

About the Author ()

Ryan is studying journalism in the college of communication. He hails from Rochester, New York, and is slowly growing tired of explaining that it's really quite far from NYC. He watches far too much sports and likes to think of his life as a really long (and occasionally boring) book. His guilty pleasures include most of the music from the 1980s and every movie Sylvester Stallone ever starred in.

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  1. Rhiannon Pabich Rhiannon Pabich says:

    After having not been on a college campus for 9ish months, walking through the GSU and looking at people looking at me was the strangest sensation I’ve ever had.

    I’ve also now taken to openly slathering my face with moisturizer while sitting in the front row of the classroom. I wonder if I’d do the same thing if one of my best friends wasn’t sitting next to me.

    Those disjointed sentences are my way of saying as usual, what you write makes me very happy.

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