You ask permission with parents to go to a 24 hour coffee shop in front of campus at midnight, on the date of your exam. An argument breaks out.
“Never in my time [of teaching] have I seen students do that! That is completely weird!”
But that’s the problem: in your time. Ours is different now. I’d wager you to go to any 24 hour establishment near a university and you will find students studying through the night, specially during exam season.
When the dust settles, you were reluctantly allowed to go. Just promise to drive safely (you do, as always).
Arriving at the coffee shop, you set up to work yourself into studying the given questions and possible answers, burning seven hours into the night. Other students accompany you in their own study. Some asleep, some going strong.
Sunrise. You take the car and return to campus on the other side of the road.
Rest for a bit. Relax, your exam isn’t until two hours and forty-five minutes from now.
Fifteen minutes before your scheduled time, you walk to the building and into the office to ready yourself for the exam, waiting in line for the next person.
You chat with a classmate also waiting in line, subsequently finding out you both have the same timeslot.
No! It can’t be! There must be some mistake!
You look at the posted schedule and look at your phone’s calendar. You can’t believe it. A discrepancy! The posted schedule says on the hour sharp. Your calendar indicates 45 after the hour. It can’t be!
Panic and frustration set in. You angrily throw your glasses to the floor. The pair slides across, hitting the cubicle wall to a stop. You sit on the floor, right beside the couch occupied by your classmates.
“He should understand. It’s only less than an hour.”
“Maybe you can try to take another vacant slot.”
“Try to talk to him.”
“You missed your exam.”
Gravely said. And yes, I know, that’s why I’ve come forward.
“I…I must have put in the wrong time sir! I don’t know what happened but this said forty-five! C–could I go for the 5 o’clock slot–”
“C–could I reschedule it for another–”
He walks off in the style of get-the-fuck-out-of-my-way.
Try again. You tentatively approach.
“I don’t have time for you. I’m on my break.”
“Could I take the 5 o’clock–”
Stern and quick. Door shutting tight in front of you, lights out in his room.
One last before his lunch break. You stand and wait awkwardly. Somehow it feels like he’s hinting of ignorance to your presence, waiting and passive-aggressively telling you to go away.
You stand firm, or some semblance thereof.
“Sir, could I try for the 5 o’clock–”
All this while quickly walking away from you, out the door, down the stairs, out the building. You watch on, wondering what to do next.
You’ve come to the conclusion that he’s doing this for show. All the other people he’s talked to and examined have been recieved warmly or at least with some form of grace, from your observation. You, on the contrary, were as if some unwanted vagrant being shooed off.
You have come to resignation.
Last week of the term, tail end of finals week.
On the last day, in that missed hour, a failing grade for the course instantly given.
You heard that for him, there is no god.
You have been convinced that there is none.
This conclusion was not formed from his lectures.
I don’t know what to feel. Should I be angry? Sad? Frustrated? Dare I say…insulted? Granted, okay, I cannot argue about his policy on automatically failing a student on the course for a missed major requirement unless for extraordinary cases, and it is within his right, but I truly believe it is completely possible not to be hostile while doing so? His syllabus calls for respect. I felt those actions were completely on the contrary. What happened?
I might as well name this entry “An exercise in futility”.