An Alternative Introduction (Salvaged from the Waste Bin)

The following introductory passage was originally part of my, “Message to the incoming PhD class of Case Western Reserve University.” Unfortunately, due to the confines of time and space, I had to remove it. I rest it here, so that it would not have died in vain. 

So, here’s what the next two hours of your life look like. As you leave this room, you’ll begin to experience traumatic flashbacks of high school graduation, except this time there’s nothing in your hand. You’ll awkwardly march out in single file to a number off the Barnes & Noble “closing-time playlist” as you dodge cameras and try to figure out what to do with your hands and face. Once you’re gone, your parents will begin looking for you as frantically as you avoid looking for them. Congratulatory remarks will start spewing from every Tom, Dick, and Harry you pass. At one point, you’ll return the salutation with, “Congratulations to you as well,” only to realize you just congratulated a member of University Catering Services. In your embarrassment, you will scurry in search of your parents.

There will be endless photo-ops, most of which will be posted to social media with captions and hashtags that seem presumptuous and premature by people you never even knew were in your class. Your mother will insist you take her to the campus bookstore so she can buy you a lifetime supply of university-embroidered loungewear. Once at the bookstore, you will insist you have no purpose for a winter hat in August, at which point your mother will tell you not to deny her this singular moment of happiness that only comes along once in a lifetime. Your father will tell you to listen to your mother, at which point you will storm out of the bookstore vowing to never speak with your parents again. When you arrive to your apartment you’ll make breakfast for dinner (because you’re a full-blown adult now, you can do what you want) only to realize you left the toaster in your mother’s car. I guess what I’m trying to say is that you won’t be forgetting this day anytime soon. Nevertheless, you’re here, all your furniture is here, so you might as well ride this thing out. In the meantime, let me give you some pointers—three to be exact…


Featured image by Nikhilesh Haval

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