Ya know how some days start bad and get worse and you’re left standing there as your life burns down around you wondering what exactly you did to deserve this?
That was yesterday for me.
I woke up late and rushed to get all dolled up for an award ceremony I had right after class. I had been up later than I meant to be the night before (full disclosure — I was watching The Office so I totally brought the exhaustion on myself) and I was in need of coffee in a bad kind of way. I brewed an extra large pot and filled my biggest to-go mug. Suddenly I realized I was about to miss my bus and ran out the door in a panic — sans coffee.
When I got to campus I remembered my coffee sitting all warm and tasty on my kitchen counter. I was crushed. I needed it to get through the day. I didn’t have a lot of time, but decided it would be worth being a little late to class if I had coffee in hand because I would be more mentally present. I stood in the remarkably long line in The Wired Scholar (the library coffee shop), got my drip, and left for class at a trot. I made the decision to not get a paper sleeve for my cup because I think it is so incredibly wasteful, but (of course) I was being burned through the thin paper as a I walked.
I tried to switch hands. I squeezed the cup weird. The lid popped off and coffee sloshed. I was being burned for real by the scalding hot drink. I dropped the cup.
I only had four minutes to get to class but I spent two of them standing there staring as my wasted three dollars created an ever-widening puddle on the cobblestones and an even larger hole in my heart. My hands were turning bright pink and stung viciously, my ceremony dress had a stain from waist to hem, I was officially late, and I didn’t have any coffee to show for it. I snatched up the empty cup and stormed to my all-time least favorite class in the entirety of my college career. This wasn’t over.
After class I tried to swing back through the coffee shop to get a $1 refill, but the line was too long and I had a tutoring appointment to get to. I signed into the tutoring center right at 11 and waited for my client. 5 minutes went by, “I could have gotten coffee” I thought.
10 minutes went by, “I could have gotten coffee and cleaned my dress.”
13 minutes — the lab manager told me my client had called and said she was on her way (I’m supposed to leave if they’re 15 minutes late without notice. She called just in time to keep me). Surely she would be there any minute.
20 minutes went by — “I could have gone home, changed my dress, and gotten the coffee that I left there.”
27 minutes went by — she showed up. She said she didn’t really have any material to go over. We left.
My time had totally been wasted, but bright side, I was finally able to get coffee and clean my dress before heading to Spanish. The professor began the lesson and immediately I had no idea what was going on (not entirely unusual for me when the prof teaches a new concept in a language I barely speak). I zoned out, irritated and over it.
After class, my mom came to pick me up so we could go to the History department honors reception before the College of Arts and Sciences ceremony. Now, the History department is remarkably bad at communication (something I could go on a very long tangent about) and I didn’t know a lot about what was happening at this reception. But the distinct impression I had been given was that it was a kind of mixer in the history department before the actual ceremony.
I’m not a huge fan of small talk, so when my mom and I struggled to find parking and ended up having to walk the full length of King Street and halfway across campus, I wasn’t terribly concerned about being late. When we walked into the room (slightly winded from our walk over) everyone was standing around chatting. Ew.
Suddenly one of my history professors grabbed me by the arm and said, “Oh, you’re here! Good. Did you get lost or something?”
“Sorry, we couldn’t find parking” I said, confused at her urgency.
“CAN I GET EVERYONE’S ATTENTION PLEASE?” She bellowed.
My heart stopped. Another professor stepped forward, “Excuse me, ladies and gentlemen. I know we said the formal portion of this event had ended, but one of our outstanding seniors has just arrived. Please turn your attention this way while Dr. Phipps says a few words to recognize this student.”
Oh-no. Everyone stopped talking and turned to look at me. Me — sneak in the back and talk to no one, Sierra. This was my worst nightmare. My professor did say some sweet things about me (which was lovely because I literally want to be her some day) but I wasn’t feeling honored nearly as much as I was feeling low-key shamed by the general public for my tardiness.
Flustered and a lil embarrassed, we decided to leave shortly after. Later, in the official award ceremony, I was impersonally introduced by a professor who I had never met. All he knew about me was the fact that I had served as a junior marshal the previous year (I hadn’t, btw), the fact that I was recommended for the award because I was “A good scholar and excellent writer,” and my GPA. It was a recognition that was certainly not worth my entire afternoon, but whatever.
Immediately after it was over, my mom and I drove back down the mountain to attend my baby sister’s first ever ballet recital. She’s a beginner so she and her class were in roughly 45 seconds of the whole show, but I was determined to be there for it. Unfortunately, they put a taller girl in front of her and I saw her maybe twice during her little routine.
When all added up, it was a non-stop frustrating day. Funny enough though, it was still good in the end. To spend the day with my mom, regardless of what we were doing, was lovely (No one is better at laughing off embarrassment with me than she is). To have some of my nearest and dearest friends support and cheer my up as I whined about the day’s events reminded me of what an incredible support network I’ve been blessed with these past four years and how deeply I am going to miss them in the fall. And even though I didn’t really get to see Bea dance, I would have driven twice as far to hear her scream my name and give me a running hug when she saw that I had come.
My college career has been full of overwhelming days like yesterday–days where I stand there and wonder what I did to deserve it– but after four years I am really starting to learn to roll with the punches. In the end, that’s a better gift than an award or recognition that says I write papers good. 😉
Until next time,
NOTE: Overused word of the day — Coffee. It appears 13 (now 14) times in this post. Sadly, this is a fairly accurate representation of how often I say the word in normal conversation.