Philadelphia Metropolis


A Day in the Life

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By S. Trinh

So I'm in my second year of college at Temple and it's like this.

Wake up, catch the bus to the train, the train to the subway, the subway to school. Emerge from underground, wince at the sunlight, stagger to the library before it is 7 A.M. I take a nap in one of the really comfortable chairs for half an hour, then I stagger to class before anyone takes my preferred seat (the third chair in the third row on the left side of the classroom). I take out a Metro that I've hopefully gotten on my way into class; if not, I do sketches of my hand.

My teacher walks in 10 minutes late, flips on the projector, and yells, not lectures us, about databases and their relationships. Today, we learned about anomalies. He tells us something vague about our final project, and sends us on our way.

I run across campus in 10 minutes, fly up four flights of stairs, and sit in my preferred seat (off to the side of the board, where the two tables connect) in my English class. I listen to my professor speak rapidly about poets from the 19th Century. Today was Students in Class.jpgCristina Rossetti and he found great pleasure in saying, "I am Cristina Rossetti." while I try to keep up taking notes. After 50 minutes of this, which is, strangely, the best part of my day, I run down four flights of stairs, run back across campus, and run up four other flights of stairs and hope that my preferred seat (the third chair in the third row on the left side of the classroom) is free. Someone's book bag was there today, but when the owner saw me glare balefully (I have no trouble abusing the fact that I am one of four females in the entire class) he moved his bag to the ground.

In this class, I pay attention as best as I can, but Java code runs straight through my head and ends in a puddle on my notebook. He sends us off with a good-luck-wish, and I run down four flights of stairs, devour a banana while getting to my lab, run up three flights of stairs, and try to establish where my preferred seating is (today, it is the third seat in the third row). I log into the computer, turn it off, turn it back on, run it on a different operating system, and then furiously pound coding into the keyboard between profanity aimed to the computer (and code) escaping my mouth. No one else gives me strange looks; they do the same thing, but have the control to do it in their heads.

I walk slowly down three flights of stairs, this time, walk into the library, climb up two flights of stairs, and wonder if I should get lunch or not. I decide to do reading for American Lit, and I compromise with my rumbling stomach with a, "After this chapter, I'll get some food." The chapter never ends, not until my class starts. I run down two flights of stairs, go to the building next door, and sit in the lecture hall in my preferred seat (the third chair in the third row from the back).

I take an open-note quiz, remember that I never take any notes, but manage to somehow, miraculously, remember details from the reading. I pass the quiz, and then do a crossword in class instead of paying attention. All that really goes on anyway is everyone arguing that our texts are too religious. I don't mind. It's nice to read about someone that actually believes in what they want to, for once.

I walk out the lecture hall, slowly. Only five hours have passed but I am exhausted. I meander out of the building, pushing all my weight against the heavy glass doors. I sit at a bench, taking a few breaths, and in between thoughts of hating myself for double majoring and overloading on credits this semester; I light the cigarette that has gotten me through 10 weeks, so far.

I take deep breaths of the nicotine that keeps me from passing out on the subway. I cross campus, for the last time today, deciding not to eat lunch, but wait until I get home. I take the subway to the train, the train to the bus, the bus to my home. I fish around in my bag for my key, unlock the door, say hi to my dog, watch my cat run away from me, take off my shoes, take off my clothes, nestle in my robe, decide I will eat something soon, but right after this chapter, and then, then I fall asleep.

This is college, for me, but surprisingly, it's one of my favorite things I've experienced yet.

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