Tag Archives: university

BEDA 16 – In which I try to depict my evening

There are thousands of people in this hall. It is absolutely silent. Row upon row of teenagers and twenty-somethings are sitting at their tables, waiting for an announcement

Just moments before, it wasn’t so quiet. People chatted nervously, asked last-minute questions about when this was published or who that author was, and dashed for the washrooms at the back of the hall. One girl, huddled over her desk, even lit up a cigarette, and smoked it without any of the professors or TAs noticing.

But when the exams started being passed out, silence fell over the giant hall. Anticipation mixed with nervousness was thick in the air. The setting sun streamed in from the windows on the far side of the hall, glinting on the backs of the metallic chairs. We have two hours to write the exam. An essay and four mini-essays.

“Raise your hand if you don’t have an exam yet,” a voice booms. An entire section of people in the back-right corner raise their hands. The TA in charge of handing out their papers turns red, and looks down. He quickens his pace.

We start writing a few minutes later. We all scan through the assignment, and read our options. Some of us are glad: we’ll pass the class. Others aren’t.

Fifteen minutes for each mini-essay. One hour for the full essay. Not impossible.

Scour your brain for the answers. The Book of the City of Ladies. 1409. No. 1405. 1427. 1409. Trust your gut, Nicole.

Who wrote about Universities? Doesn’t matter. That’s one point out of 80. Just write. Why do you remember that was written in 1873, but not the guy’s name? Don’t think about that. Write.

The sound of two-thousand pens scratching on two-thousand papers is distracting. It’s hard to concentrate. You get stuck on one word, reading it over and over again. Circumcision. Why? It’s not even an important word. It doesn’t matter. Move on.

The essay. Try and construct a thesis. Truth. Fact. Non-fiction. Non-fiction is hard to write. There. That’s the thesis. Build on it. Um. Truth is hard to understand. No. It is hard to depict truth. No. Whole truths cannot be represented. Closer. “To bake an apple pie from scratch you must first invent the universe.” Why am–Oh. Okay. Because of the complex nature of truth, it cannot be portrayed in its entirety through literature. Non-fiction is hard to write.

Some people leave early. Some people are there to the very end. It doesn’t matter. It’s over.


BEDA 13 – Memories

Today was the last day of classes. The last day of my first year of university. The last day of learning this year. Now, for the next two weeks, I have to focus on re-learning.

It’s weird to think that my first year is coming to an end. It hardly feels like any time has passed at all. I can still remember the day I moved in here with extreme clarity. I remember waiting in line, waiting to move my stuff in. I remember the crowded elevator ride up to the ninth floor.

I remember meeting my roommate, Christine, for the first time. I remember her telling me that we were the only girls in the apartment. I remember being excited, but nervous, to live with guys that weren’t my dad for the first time in my life.

I remember being scared of Cameron and Grant because they were older and cooler and Y-chromosomier. I remember becoming friends with Cameron quickly. I remember becoming friends with Grant far more slowly. I remember the nights I stayed up talking with Grant.

I remember Dustinwhoweneverseebecausehesamechanicalengineer. I remember calling him Dennis. I remember when he dropped out, moved out, missed out on the spectacular April Fools’ Day prank we had planned for him.

I remember that Wednesday night in the middle of winter, when Christine’s ex-boyfriend was over, and Grant and I got drunk on cheap wine, and he took us to the rooftop of a condo with the most spectacular view. I remember the clarity of that night. I remember feeling like I was a part of something.

I remember all those nights I stayed up with panic attacks. Sure I was going to die or fail or live a sad, lonely, unfulfilled life. I remember feeling like I was nothing. Like I was useless and lazy and a failure. Like I didn’t deserve to be here, at the best journalism program in the country.

On that note, I remember having a panic attack at Occupy Toronto. I remember feeling like I’d never be a good journalist. Like I was going to waste thousands of dollars. Like I’d already wasted thousands of dollars. Like I was a fraud. Like I was going to be miserable for the next four years.

I remember going to court for the first time. I remember feeling like a real journalist there. I remember being totally satisfied with the second court story I handed in. I remember feeling totally satisfied with the meagre 76 I got on that story, because I worked hard for that 76. I remember thinking that in high school, I wasn’t satisfied with a 98.

I don’t remember getting smarter. But I notice it in myself now. I can think about things more complexly.

I remember becoming more interested in science. In how the world works, and why. I remember thinking about things more philosophically than I have before.

I remember mistakes I’ve made. Mistakes I don’t want to remember, even. I remember being stupid, and I remember being exactly the kind of person I hate. But only for that one night.

I remember walking to Sharon’s in the middle of the night, scared because it was dark and late and the Big City, but excited, because I’d get to see Sharon. I remember talking with her and crying with her and laughing with her, and becoming closer to her than I ever had been before.

I remember growing.