Mugshot Dogtags: College Diaries #3

“I am not afraid to follow You where You lead me.

I can leave the past behind me.”

— Charlotte Elliott in “Just as I Am”

Acceptance crept its way into me. I started warming up to the idea that school was a bittersweet memory that belonged in the past. 

Suffice it to say that I have a love-hate relationship with French (I don’t plan to start The Hundred Years War 2.0), but I find myself quite enthusiastic in the class. I pined to speak French and I gave it a shot and I pleased myself. The professor delivered a titanic shock when she disclosed her double-digits to us. And of course, our shock made her day.

In Poetry class, I felt boosted because I was told that I had “good ideas” and the professor “would like to hear more of them”. I felt uplifted, as opposed to the dejection I felt in English period at school where it was mortal sin to have an opinion.

Linguistics class came packed with a surprise for me from myself. Call it coincidence or whatever, but the dysfunctional LCD projector seemed to revert to its normal mode of functioning, courtesy of my “magic touch”. Now, human newspapers are the most proficient vectors. They infested the class with hints of a Freshers’ Party. Being someone who would like to have all party-related vocabulary censored (hashtag hyperbole), I harmonized my behavior with my reputation as a nerd.

A girl, however, is subject to her guilty pleasures. This dyad of seniors (God bless their souls) pronounced the theme of our party – Mythology of Greece, Rome, Egypt and India! I was hyped because I spent the last week of my vacation perusing Ancient Egypt. 

Full-blown party discussions kicked off. Clichéd Catholic college euphemized questions filled the air: Should I garb myself like a woman of the cloth or a Victoria’s Secret Model? Buy an exquisite dress or make do with curtains and bedsheets? Come or skip?

After much ado over my dilemma (Hatshepsut vs. Helen of Troy), I chose a gown and burned a hole in my mother’s other pocket. The group chat session was as frenzied as it could possibly get.

I decided to keep my comments wispy, albeit I did share a picture of the dress with Tomboy who prophesied (erroneously) that it wouldn’t come on time. 

Thoughts of party string, plastic cups, pop music and provender aside (until next week), let’s talk books. After all, I am an EL student and the class need at that. 

We were given the grand tour of the sanctum of the college – the Library. I was entranced, running my fingers along the coarse, worn Crayola blue spines engraved with faded golden titles. 

The long-awaited identity cards were distributed and we had to sign them. I made a song and dance about the signing part. The signature pleased me, more than my mugshot did. Everyone connected. We all ended up looking nothing like our iPhone, YouCam and other app-fancified selfies. We amused ourselves by likening our pictures to those of prison inmates and loony bin inpatients. 

My companion, whose name translates roughly to “Salvager”, stood on tiptoes and squatted on the aisles, scanning the shelves for poetry volumes that would that would be companions to prepare us for our first seminar. 

When we had enough of hardback cargo, we returned to our marked territory and sat ourselves down. Salvager grew weary (text that looks like pinpricks can have hypnagogic effects) and I grew frustrated (the quest for the perfect poem to tear apart can have choleric effects). 

That was my second week of college (in a nutshell), and that’s a wrap. 


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