St. Olaf Sentiments: First Day of Class

For many, the first day of classes is an insignificant day marking the beginning of another school year. However, for hundreds of thousands of college freshmen, it is a day of undiluted anxiety.

Remember back to your first day of college classes, whether it was a month or three years ago. Maybe you’ll be able to relate to my experience.

The first obstacle I faced was finding a seat. Not the front because I didn’t want to be that kid, but not the back because I didn’t want the professor to see me as a slacker. Spotting a safe seat in the middle, I made my way towards it. As I took a step forward, a nightmarish image violently popped into my head.

My tall, awkward body lying on the floor, backpack over my head. The entire class gawking because I couldn’t make it to my seat without tripping. The only course of action after that would be transferring to Carleton because there is no coming back from that.

With this scene haunting me, I carefully made my way to my selected seat. Upon sitting down, I thanked every deity I’d ever heard of for allowing me that simple success.

I looked side to side to observe my classmates. Each one had their notebooks, a pen and a pencil all straight and evenly spaced on their desk. Each head faced forward and no one made a sound. It was a class of robots. Lovely.

I looked for a professor within the sea of robots. It was 11:43 and class was to start at 11:45. For a moment I thought he may not show up. How exactly were we supposed to respond in that situation? We sure as hell weren’t going to talk to each other, so I supposed we would just sit until the hour and twenty minutes were up.

However, my worries were needless because exactly as the clock struck 11:45, the professor walked into the room with an arrogant swagger. He set his book on the lectern, looked around at the all the twitchy teens and went off.

He spelled his name, told a joke, read a syllabus and was out the door with forty minutes to spare. No one knew quite how to respond, but I, not questioning the hidden blessing, quickly grabbed my books and made to leave. As I took two steps forward, I felt a resistance and attempted to turn to see what was holding me back.

But it was too late. My bag was caught on the chair and I was falling. Before I hit the ground, I realized that this was a perfect symbol for my future in higher education.

meyer11@stolaf.edu

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