Dedicated to Harry Proper Potter

The emails are coming.


Class starts Monday and my Calc 2 professor sent out an email to the registered and wait-listed students about a half an hour ago. Just the thought of having to walk onto campus that morning at nine-thirty A.M twists my stomach in a knot. If there’s one thing us people with dominating social anxiety hate, it’s new things.

I get to classes ten minutes early and pick my seat before any other little jerk gets it in their mind to steal the seat I want. In statistics last semester I sat in the second row in the farthest left seat every class. Every. Class. I never deviated, unless the tutor showed up and sat in my seat. I didn’t break her legs after class because she rarely saw us during class time and therefore would have never noticed where I always sat. To my right sat this dude always with a monotonous expression and perfect posture like a statue. He’d fold his hands politely on his desk with his blank sheet of paper out and his open little notebook and looked like a proper gentlemen, like a kid straight out of Hogwarts getting ready for the ball. I waited for him to pull a quill out of his ear and some ink out of his ass and scribble calligraphy all on his paper. He never said a word (the perfect neighbor!) but he also rarely laughed at the professors jokes which was just baffling to me because she possessed a gift of comedy. To his right sat a short blonde chick with really wide eyes and a high pitched voice that bled my ears dry. All three of us sat in the same seat. Always.

On the morning of the final I was already stressed out about Calc and studying last minute for Biology. I walked in Stats to find that blonde chick with her bubbly friend talking about their weekend and other stupid chick stuff in my seat. I’m a chick and I can’t stand chick stuff conversations (e.g. Boys, boys, boys like they’re five years old). I considered picking her tiny ass up and sitting her on the floor, then I considered falling into the fetal position and going to my happy place. I did neither. I sat at the end of the row right next to Harry Proper Fucking Potter.

You meet some strange people in college, or at least observe them in my case, and at the beginning of this third year I’m not expecting anything different.

In my first semester I took a college “guidance” class (mandatory) with a bunch of computer science majors. This one six foot tall dude always sat in the middle of the class and rested his right ankle on his left knee, kept his computer bag stretched across his chest, and pulled out this red thermos filled with coffee. The thermos cap was also a cup. He’d pour the coffee in the lid, sip, and stick his pinkie out like some privileged Harvard graduate and laugh all deep throated like a black actor. Or a toad.

An accurate illustration of him minus his computer and thermos.

Another guy, when I was in remedial algebra, bragged constantly over his IQ. Not his intelligence, but literally his IQ number. He said it was about 160. I stifled my laugh upon hearing his conversation with the girl beside him. If his IQ was 160, then my arms were potatoes. Maybe if he could have gotten better than a D on a test I would have been more inclined to believe him.

There weren’t many women in the world music class I took, I was one of maybe five, and the rest were men who spent their time with ear phones in their ears sleeping in the back. I admit I took a nap once or twice too. Give me a break, it was 12:40 in the afternoon, that’s like . . . eight in the morning to me. But one guy always wandered in talking in whispers or laughing or simply doing some hardcore ti-chi moves with his arms. People didn’t sit next to him very often. I didn’t mind his whispers or laughter or weird hand gestures; I honestly wanted to know what he was saying. So sometimes I sat next to him. But he whispered so lightly I could never catch a word. From then on he’d stare at me and always try and sit near me, no matter where I went in the room (I did several tests). I was amused; it was a shame I was too nervous to even give a hi, all I could do was smile. Towards the end of the semester he stared at me for five minutes straight, whispered, and did some interesting almost religious type hand prayer movements in my direction. He even gestured towards me. For a few hours I was freaked out he’d cursed me. Honestly, I still wonder today. Seriously, it was some witchcraft shit.

So what do I expect Monday besides a session with my new psychologist? Well . . . nothing, really. I know I’ll arrive ten minutes early and wait outside of the class with my earphones in my ears, maybe nod to a few people who recognize me. I’ll probably take some glances at the faces around me, sniffing out the quiet ones from the loud ones (or rather, the ones I could handle talking to and the ones I couldn’t) then pick my seat in the front row and hope some intimidating, smart, loud mouth doesn’t sit near me. Through the class I’ll think the people behind me are laughing at my hair (maybe a part of it is fluffing) or that the person next to me keeps shifting in their seat because they hate being next to me. The professor will say something like “don’t be shy, come visit me in office hours if you have any questions” and I’ll laugh in my head and exhale sharply out my nose. We’ll probably do something with integrals. I’ll think everyone’s staring at how wrong my work is and how stupid I am, including the professor; why am I even in this class? I’ll start sweating (attractive) and my brain will fog. I’ll miss the second half of the lecture.

Then class ends and I’ll take a breather because I’ve got to walk through the crowds across campus and God knows they give me rotten looks. My next class will start in a half an hour or so. So I’ll spend my time trying not to look like a loner. Maybe I’ll go over the notes I mindlessly wrote in a panic. Then I’ll do it all over again in the next class. And again, and again, and again, because I’ve got three and half months of this.

At least for now my depression is gone. It’s been a week this time. We’ll see how long it lasts.