Friday, February 13, 2015

The Interview (Or Not)

This morning as I walked to my first class, located in Disque, I noticed some papers taped to the glass doors: "Psychology Graduate Research Interviews →". Throughout the rest of the day, I walked past those papers several more times, and didn't spare more than a passing thought for them.

That is, until I headed for Physics 101 recitation in the adjoining building, Stratton, where I realized that the professionally-clad women climbing the stairs to the second floor with me were, in fact, heading to those specified interviews. They wore heels, blazers, pencil skirts, killer makeup, and classy beige messenger bags—the whole deal. I felt suddenly self-conscious in my bright green sneakers, bright red plaid sweater that really didn't match my grey-and-darker-red plaid scarf, giant coat, and yet-another-shade-of-red backpack. 

The women seemed confused by my presence, and I don't blame them. I'm still confused as to why my physics recitation is in a classroom on the same floor as the Psychology department. 

Well, I got to class, and they got to their interviews, and we closed the door to our classroom, and I forgot about them for somewhere close to an hour. My TA, a tall, slightly bearded ex-cop (SVU investigator in Tennessee, to be exact) and current Ph.D candidate in astrophysics, had just placed a large trashcan on top of his table to demonstrate some concept involving work when a tentative knock came at the door. 

He opened the door, and a short, well-dressed woman with a namecard on a lanyard looked in. 
I can only imagine what she saw: a looming man wearing sweatpants covered in chalk dust and nine weary engineering freshmen trying to take notes, not to mention the kind of gross trashcan sitting on a table like nobody's business. 

"Oh," she squeaked, "I must have come to the wrong place."

"That depends," said the TA. "You could hop in and learn some physics if you want!"

The classroom door had begun to swing itself closed at this point, so I could no longer see the woman's face. I only heard the palpable horror in her retreating voice as she said, "Ohh...God," and fled. 

The TA turned back to us as the door shut itself behind the woman, and shrugged. 

"Darn," he said. "I was hoping she'd actually stay and learn physics."

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