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Kneeling Outside My Professor’s Office, Cursing at the Gods

I was going to get an ‘F’ on this essay. This essay that I had poured what was left of my heart and soul into. The very heart and soul that had been fading from my body since the beginning of the semester. College is the worst of parasites.

Let me start at the beginning.

It was a busy morning, but I knew it was going to be before it started. I had a million things to do and I was working against the clock, trying to get them all done before my first morning class. I rolled out of bed at the crack of well past dawn, threw on some athletic gear (in case I had to sprint across campus), and set off on the most important quest I had taken on this semester: Visiting my professor during his office hours so he could critique my paper.

“My darling pupil, this is what you must do to get an A.”

I’d had this professor before. He was a tough grader. He had that “there’s always room for improvement” mindset. As a perfectionist, this mindset shakes me to my core. I could turn in the perfect essay only to receive an unrecognizable paper drenched in red ink. At this point you may be thinking, “If he’s a tough grader, why would you take him again? Why not go for the easy A?” Well, dear reader, you’re smarter than I. Maybe I shouldn’t have taken him again. In fact, later that same morning, I was starting to ask myself these very questions.

I jumped off the campus shuttle and ran to the library to print out the pieces of composition I had crafted the night before. Naturally. I then traveled to my professor’s office in a location unfamiliar to me. His office, unlike the rest of my professor’s offices, was shoved in a back hallway in a different building. His door was papered with Renaissance art, but among the posters of naked cherubs, contorted bodies, and women draped in robes, was a note that read: “No Wednesday office hours. I’ve already had too many this week.”

The cherubs were taunting me.

My heart dropped. My mind was racing. I shed a single tear. I had woken up early for THIS?! There I was, outside my professor’s office, mourning the loss of my academic prowess. I fell to my knees, cast my eyes upward toward the cobweb-covered ceiling, and cursed internally at the gods who had detested me enough to make this my fate. A flash of lightning. A crack of thunder. The rains fell from the heavens and streamed down my body. “Why?!” I shouted at the gods, “Why have you forsaken me?!”

This isn’t dramatic. This is similar to how it played out.

I lost my cool. As I knelt in a pool of my own tears, I thought, “It’s WEDNESDAY. How could you have spent so much time reviewing students’ work that you got sick of the inside of your office by WEDNESDAY?” I drafted a nasty letter in my mind to leave in my professor’s mailbox. I knew this letter would never be sent. I would never even write it out. I had no time to spare. I had classes to attend and an essay to bullshit.

If failure was to be my fate, I would have to accept it.

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