From Class Clown to Class Nerd: College Diaries #2

I felt, on my second day of college, the same way Michael Scofield would have when his feet hit the ground on the other side of Fox River State Penitentiary – free!

There was still a tenuous scrap of wistfulness on the interior, but I kept the nostalgia at bay. After all, I promised myself that I was here to find my equilibrium, not to go out of kilter again.

My mind was weighing the prospects of a sound college education teamed with a sound character report. My red-nose and big-mouth days had come to pass. I resolved that I would settle for nothing less than a doctorate in English Literature.

But more of the morose, nerdy stuff later, I promise.

There are certain things I suck at, some because I despise their existence (such as Math), and others because… well, I suck (such as putting a face with a name). 

A class of thirty and three was a cakewalk, but a legion of new faces? Cut me some slack, please! I’m not Einstein with an eidetic memory for crying out loud!

Trying to walk the line that separates popular from unpopular is as hard as walking a tightrope. Hyperbole or not, it sure feels that way to me. While melding seemed like a bright idea initially, I remembered that I wanted to be recognized, not necessarily as the go-to girl or the professor’s pet. This time around, things got serious. I was resolute to make a name for myself in the department, not because I craved fame like a starving, ravenous dog craving a bone dangling before it, but because I still had something left to prove: that I had made the right decision for myself and my life. 

I the hermit crab then realized that I would have to twitch the corners of my mouth upwards so as to not appear like SM’s Ice Queen. 

In class, I befriended the self-proclaimed Tomboy, the engaging Scarlet Streak, the porcelain-perfect Fauna Lover, the  a la mode Winged Eye and some others. 

I freaked out Tomboy by prattling philosophies on “life”, but she accepted the challenge of being my pal nonetheless. 

More hindquarter aches ensued, courtesy of the very informative, but very wordy orientations. (I feared for the place below my coccyx because of what I read about the repercussions of Daenerys Targaryen’s prolonged horse ride on a miserable saddle.)

Now,”business in the front, party in the back” is our mantra, so I decided that there should be some jollity. The solution to the problem of not knowing folks is this: create a damn WhatsApp group so that your phone will ping every half a second. 

The group turned out to be a hit. Some of us were heatedly and feverishly discussing a trending news headline, when some poor sleep-saturated lass noticed mid-yawn that she had received 500 messages. 

Now, coming to the pedagogy, I breathed a sigh of relief when I realized that their minds operated at a different wavelength. A good thing. Their strategies of impartation and the balance they maintained between joviality and professionalism bore on me positively.

I graduated from being class clown at school to class nerd at college because I would always be found with a book in my spare time, which I had most of the time during the first week. Hell, even if the Armageddon was due, I would have been oblivious to it because I would be sympathizing with Lily and Snow Flower after their foot-binding, or playing CSI with D. D. Warren and Bobby Dodge, or visiting “The Shack” with Mack Phillips. 

Van selfies, hasty hallway mirror facial inspection, cross-legged lounging during lectures, talon-nails, mix and match evenings and the lack of a uniform have made me feel maturer as opposed to giddier, which was what I wanted to be.

There’s the unspoken need to maintain a positive self-image, self-confidence and a singular reputation. 

I can feel it, and hey, I think I’m up for the challenge. 


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