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"Good morning, sleepyhead!" Emily shouted the next morning. I rolled over and looked at the clock: 8:52. My first Summit Line State class, Philosophy 1, started in eight minutes. I blinked a couple times, wiped the sleep from my eyes, and looked at Emily, who was standing in front of the bathroom door, looking awfully fresh, brushing her hair into a messy-but-edgy look. For a long time, she stared at me, and I stared at her. And then, almost in slow motion, a grin crept across her face.

"Are you ready to brave the storm, freshman?" She sounded like someone from the student union. Maybe she was from the student union.

"I'm gonna be late." I got up and checked my class schedule Scotch taped on the wall. "Yep. 9:00. I'm gonna be so late."

I now face one of two decisions: give up and face-plant into my pillow in defeat? Or be a lionheart, defy the odds and make it on that attendance sheet? I chose the latter.

After grabbing a Clif Bar, I ramped up the mph and cut across the lawn. Brisk walking with my backpack on, I probably looked like an idiot. But it's college. And I heard some people voluntarily do this kind of thing naked...in the library. And let me tell you something: if you're running late to class, listen to a Hans Zimmer song. It'll give you that extra catapult boost, like someone just lit your pants on fire and you're instantly a Road Runner.

I made it to Philosophy with a minute to spare. Thank you, Hans Zimmer, for getting me a decent desk at the middle of the class. Everybody in the room looked nervous and the atmosphere was awkward. All around me it smelled like deodorant and cheap perfume. The boy sitting in the desk next to me was biting his nails, eyes darting quickly back and forth, like he's that high-strung guy waiting for the Apocalypse to happen. The girl on my other side kept brushing her dry, sun damaged hair, as if it would make any difference.

Then, as I was about to close my eyes in mild annoyance, a middle-aged man with an oily nose walked into the room. And instead of saying "hello", he handed out his syllabus to us and went straight through the bullet points one by one.

After Philosophy, I took a ten minute break and headed to P32, my Intro to Psychology class. Walking in the crowded hallway, I couldn't shake the feeling of unsettlement. Kids with backpacks crammed the narrow sides, and from the outside the student population seemed manageable, but on the inside, it overwhelmed me at a maximum level. I felt grotesquely miniscule. I was miniscule. I am miniscule.

I entered the class at 11:10. I was ten minutes early, partly because I've learned my lesson to be punctual, and partly because I'm a loser and didn't have anyone to chat with out in the halls.

The lecture hall was small, kinda' like a smaller version of a conference center with a huge motorized projector screen at front. The seats at the back were already taken, so I sat at the only vacant seat available: front row-middle. Great. SeaWorld splash zone.  

Everyone in the classroom looked like this was what they'd been waiting for all week. It was like they were all waiting for a rock concert to start: hyped. When Brian Johnson a.k.a Professor Xalvador Merry came in, a few minutes late, the first thing I noticed was that he's barrel-chested and very old, perhaps more than 60. He used a lapel mic and presented his syllabus through "memes" and a pseudo-Medieval accent. I thought he was funny as hell, though his audible, almost desperate breaths reminded me of my grandfather when he was dying of lung cancer.

And so when the time came for my last class to end, I felt like a winner. A productive winner. A lionheart. Huzzah! I wanted to celebrate my first day, so I decided to eat dinner at this little grill house just across campus. Their roasted Brussels sprouts were amazing. I had two bowls, and it wasn't enough.

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