Monday, August 31, 2009

First Day of School

I'm in the computer lab at school on my first day. I've been here for hours because all of my instructors seem to have placed all the content for their classes on school web pages where I must visit and print out tons of their documents. For a book lover, this is a great tragedy.

The real story is the young Asian man two seats away from me. It's evening time here on campus and the only people left here are international students; not working but sort of sitting around with their friends, dressed up so much that they look like they're about to go out for a night of clubbing. Very international.

So the young man to my right is calling one place after another on his cell phone and asking them if the room they advertised is still available. The last person he called asked him if he was a Christian. I know this because I could overhear him explain that he does worship on Sundays, and really, he tried to explain that he was a decent and faithful sort of sincere young man, but in the end he said, "No, no---I am not a Christian." He apologized and thanked the person on the other end and then put his phone down with a sigh.

He was in my math class last semester. Very smart, very lonely-looking.

Today, school was hard. I wasn't prepared for my first class, which is a Global Civilization Honors class for which we have five books. All freshman, also. Then I had a great Economics class taught by a woman with a light-heartedness and a natural curiosity about political and social events. My last class is Social Ethics, a study of the issues involved in the public pursuit of justice in a religiously and philosophically pluralistic society. The instructor threw Jolly Ranchers at us for raising our hands and I got one, but I left the room desperate to find a bathroom in a building that appears not to have any. By the time I walked across the building twice and down two flights of stairs, I finally found a laminated red sign with the word "WOMEN" on it, taped to an old wooden door that offered entrance into a small, stale room that would have been more appropriate in an elementary school.

Not an encouraging first day. My last instructor misquoted a passage out of the New Testament as an argument for socialism and there was a sort of dripping satisfaction in the stories he told of the historical Christian errors.

But even with all this, I have a place to live and I'm not stuck sitting here at dinnertime in a germ-infested computer lab on campus looking for a place to live and being turned away. I am leaving this lab to go home and cook a delicious dinner before sitting in my beautiful furniture whose sole function is to make my life a more comfortable place.

Can you hate and love a situation at the same time?
Pity yourself all the while congratulating your good fortune?

I feel like I'm there right now.


  1. As a student, the first week or two of school was always an adjustment. As a teacher, it's even MORE of an adjustment. My head is spinning and I am still trying to wrap my mind around the fact that I have 85 students. Oy.

    Welcome back to school, Allie! :)

  2. Welcome to the wonderful world of ambivalence.

  3. Sad that people misquote the Bible. Sometimes people don't want to know what it really says... but sadly, some of those people are Christians too. It works both ways, I think. I wonder who that person on the other side of the phone conversation was, and why he/she was asking that guy if he was a Christian, and what the result of all that is going to be. Intriguing... and I hope it's not a bad experience for that guy, because the way you described him, he sounds like he needs some love. I'm so glad you're back to blogging, Allie - I always love your writing!

  4. Jess: The person on the other line only rents to Christian students and when he admitted he wasn't one, he was rejected.

  5. Ohh... that's kind of sad. I'm not a fan of that policy at all. :( What a way to show Christ to people! Ugh.


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