Dear Professor Normal,
Do you remember when we first met? I do. It was the first day of second semester. I was five minutes late because I’d snoozed my alarm six times and had gotten lost in the hellish labyrinth that is Blodgett. As I shuffled in, still wearing my chili-stained SpongeBob tee-shirt and pajama pants with a hole in the crotch, I didn’t know what to expect. Perhaps some angry side-eye. Maybe a passive aggressive comment about punctuality. But instead, you simply shrugged your shoulders and said, “No biggie, it’s the first day.” That’s when I knew you were different.
I remember the whole class period felt like walking on air. We didn’t do any work. We just introduced ourselves and our pet peeves and went over the syllabus. You asked if anybody in the class had bought the required reading yet, and when nobody raised their hands, it didn’t seem to bother you in the slightest. You cracked a couple of jokes, which in retrospect really weren’t that funny, but I laughed anyway. And as a cherry on top of the whole damn sundae, you let us leave 25 minutes early!
Honestly, I was suspicious at first. I had heard horror stories about how students pushed to the brink of insanity just to get a B- in your class (one of the stories involved some Adderall, a peanut butter Nilda’s and the Matthew Vassar statue—the details elude me at the moment). But over the next two weeks, the class was like a dream. And not one of my usual super trippy nightmares that has to do with my repressed fear of womps-womps (or so my therapist says), but an actual, beautiful dream. You only assigned a couple of pages of reading a night—maybe asked us to write a paragraph or two. Even with homework, I still had time to take a nap, watch a little Netflix, maybe streak across campus—whatever felt right, you know? I thought that I had found the class that every college student dreams of; one taught by a totally chill professor who understood my overwhelming aversion to productivity.
But at the beginning of the third week, I started to feel that something was different. When class started, there was no joking, no inquiry about the latest celebrity twitter beef. Nothing. You just came in and started teaching. Then, you started to mention all these strange phrases like “quiz,” “group project” and “midterm.” For homework you assigned a 400-page novel to be read by next class—all words and not a single picture! At first, I thought you were just having an off day. Maybe your cat was sick, or someone keyed your car in the Stop & Shop parking lot. I was wrong. Next thing you know, there was another novel to read, then a 7-page minimum paper. Night after night, my eyelids fluttered as I labored to read chapter after chapter. I kept trying to tell myself that it wasn’t true. The others were wrong, you were different! But when you started assigning the daily Moodle Post, I knew I’d lost you forever.
Last weekend I trudged to the library on a Saturday night in 0 degree weather with a -5 degree wind-chill to finish the paper you so deviously assigned to be due at midnight. I marched across the icy quad, tears frozen on my cheeks, and I wondered where it all went wrong. Was it me? Were my SpongeBob tee-shirts too much? Did you think that I didn’t respect you enough because my pants had a hole in the crotch?
As I wandered the shelves looking for that third primary source you insisted we needed, the truth slammed into me like the front doors of the Deece. This was your plan from the beginning. Pretend to be easy, gain my trust, wait until the drop and NRO period were over so there’d be nowhere to run and then BAM! Drown me in work. The deception! The betrayal! My eyes are watering just thinking about it—though that might just be because this campus reeks of weed.
Regardless, I don’t know if we’ll ever bounce back from this. You’ve hurt me so much. I need to take some time off and clear my mind, figure out who I am (and how the hell I can get out of this class and still keep the required number of credits). But despite your cruel decision to actually do your job, I want you to know I forgive you, especially if I get an A.
P.S. I know you said in class that the paper was due by midnight, but is there REALLY that big of a difference between 12 a.m. and 12 p.m.? I mean it’s just one letter—after all, time is a social construct anyway.