I wake up with the most overwhelming feeling of tiredness and a groan that wakes a roommate up from her stupor. It’s not gone 8 yet and I have to be in class at 9. Correction- by 9, or those idiotic nerbs (newbie nerds) will have taken the best seats in class. It’s a crying shame that those with no real interest in the subject get in quickly just to prove a point. What point, I’d ask if I cared slightly more, but I’m the Verb(veteran nerb) here. I keep things in action.

I stayed up part of the night studying for a “surprise” test that most people don’t know about, I think. Thank god for over enthusiastic seniors who cannot wait to share their advice. My morning might go a little slower, but then again, what’s black coffee (illegally made because electric kettles are supposedly dangerous and divisive) for?

As I awaken, my first thought is the bathroom. I don’t understand the concept but there’s a huge line outside the bathrooms the days of our communications class with 100% of the girls bathing  their hair like it was a newborn child- gently, taking all the time they could possibly need.

The second is my breakfast. My mother, who has never been to a hostel before in her life doesn’t understand why I’ve got to skip breakfast everyday to fit in all my plans. Too bad there’s rarely anything edible for breakfast in here.

Worse still, this has been a very unexpected rock in our relationship. My mom and I were always close enough, never that much but since I left here, she feels the need to baby me- over BREAKFAST! Of all the reasons we disagree, she had to pick breakfast. In order to appease her, I try to get breakfast but there’s this bloody inconsiderate rule in hostel where they never serve breakfast beyond half eight. HALF EIGHT? THIS IS ABSURD. These mess handlers don’t understand how many girls are stuck in line for the bathrooms or need to pat dry their newly washed hair before that. Well, no breakfast is a habit here and something my mum can never understand.

I really need to talk to mother constructively though, to stay on in the holidays so I can help out on a research project my seniors are undertaking. She has to let me, this is huge. That it’s in the holiday period is absolutely the best advantage for me- or else hostel rules would make it an unfair game because girls are required to be locked inside hostel gates by 9. The guys I want to beat in research experience have no problem of this sort at all! Gah. Hence, I’ve got to make up all my hours on this project- I’ve got to get permission from my mum but before that the nasty breakfast issue has to be dealt with. I refuse to be unbathed before my presentation either, so 2 minutes after I wake up, I’m standing in a line with bucket and flannels in my hand, a toothbrush in my mouth and no breath at all, that’s how fast I needed to run.

The amount of time I spend irritably knocking the girls out of their dreamland could have definitely gone in revising my presentation points, but as you can see, I’m in a whiny mood. I emerge at 8.45am after a short and exemplary bath that should’ve been received by applause for efficiency, but all I get was a shove aside from a bucket and  a slosh of water on my jeans. Just what I needed.

I run to the mess, hoping to get any scraps of food to assuage my own conscience of lying to my mother, but there are actually hungry girls in line for the remains of ‘breakfast’. I pity them and leave the mess, smelling of the weirdest combination of spices and newly washed hair.

There’s a test all right that day. I think I get it right, until after the test when I realize a big ass blunder. I can’t believe it. I knew about the test, I studied for it and then made the silliest possible mistake. I feel like crawling into my sweater and just cry but I have a presentation, unfortunately and I need to be graceful and poised while doing it. I have nothing to worry about, I’m a good enough speaker with sufficient practise. A dark thought looms in my mind: what if I haven’t practised enough? I know all my classmates have been practising for over a week but I’d been busy on assignments and the research project paperwork the seniors get done from us, because why not.

The presentation goes fine. I have enough knowledge and stage presence to get through it without a disaster but it’s evident the teacher didn’t like it. There was nothing new, nothing fresh and I could tell she expected that from me and I didn’t deliver. Gah. That should be my word of the day- just GAH. The feeling of disappointment pools in my stomach and the rest of my classes go by in a haze because I’m stressed and upset.

What an utter waste of a day.

The college ends for the day and I make my way into the research labs- there’s nothing else I can think of doing at this moment. Just being alone with myself scares me. There’s this incessant chirping in my head that reinforces how poorly I performed that day. I know doing work assigned to me gives me professional distance from that thought, so I’m hoping the seniors have work for me right away.

I walk into the lab and can’t hide my annoyance on seeing THOSE guy there. The only ones with better lab credit than me. They had wonderful presentations, and I told them that already so seeing them here when I need to forget about that is specifically frustrating. They greet me with watchful eyes and inform me that the seniors have a huge meeting about the holiday research project. That the college might just have an issue with the whole project because of the holiday timing, safety issues and misuse of resources if we’re not monitored. That they’ve gone to reschedule lab time and smooth things over with the college.

Oh. MY. GOD.

I smile a watery smile at the guys and run out of the labs. I run till the hostel. I run to my room. The sight of the messy table of notes for the presentation and test makes me retch. This can’t be happening. I begin to cry.Settling on the floor, I cry till my face hurts and eyes can’t focus. My roommates weren’t around can be the only saving grace in this situation, or they would’ve panicked. I couldn’t face them anyway right now. There’s a ringing from my bag. My face still stiff from the crying and tears streaking my face I reach out, because there’s nothing more irritating than continuous beeping. It’s my mum.

I’m slightly surprised by how my heart lifts when I see the number. I pick up, keeping my voice steady:

“Hey mom, yeah, I’m back to my room.– No, nothing much happened today.”

I have no shame in lying. I wouldn’t want her to worry. I’m just so glad to hear her voice- I don’t need anything more now.

“No, I didn’t have breakfast–.”

I start to cry again, but I make no sound and I feel relief spreading through my body.



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