I pushed my code for the fifth time tonight and for once I see the font turn green- “57/57 tests passed”. I stand to stretch realizing that it is 1 am. I decide to take a break before finishing my notes in the code and turning it in. I round the corner and walk the empty, silent hallways to a water fountain with my black aluminum Vanderbilt bottle in hand. After filling up the bottle, I walk back to my table to find my entire code deleted.
I’ve been studying for hours now. Rand is silent outside of the occasional red-shirted janitors walking by. Despite my green Monster energy drink, I can’t stop dozing off as I stare at the brown and white balls of spikes on the wall of Local Java. I get up walking to the bathroom just to get on my feet. I push open the bathroom door to more silence. The 6 black stall doors all invite me in but I settle for the one closest to the sinks. I quickly handle business and begin washing my hands when I notice every stall door is now shut. I hadn’t heard anyone else come in or the doors shut. “I must be really tired”, I say to myself as I pull out a paper towel. I turn to leave the bathroom when I hear a cough come from one of the stalls. I take two steps back and bend down looking for feet in any of the stalls. No feet. I rise up confused and startled as I hear another cough then a slow knocking. I turn looking at the mirror to find a figure in the reflection of the mirror standing behind me blocking the bathroom door.
It’s been a crazy, but fun week. I missed my Tuesday class, but here I am strolling in on Thursday. I remember something was due today... probably a problem set or some other homework. I take my seat, throwing my backpack under the desk accepting that 0 ill get for the missing assignment. I pull my laptop out of my bag and open my notes page as I wait for the professor. I look around seeing students with their books out. I assume they are putting the last touches on the homework. The professor enters the room with a stack of papers...stapled. My heart sinks as I hear him say, “Put everything away, so I can hand out the exam”.
I laid on the grass, looking up at her beautiful face. She is sitting up, legs stretched out, leaning back on her arms. She’s going on about a grade she got last week. The sun is blinding my eyes as I lay next to her leg. I should be clear though that she’s only my friend. Off in the distance, I see a man with a camera passing by. I don’t pay any mind to him. Later, my friend sends me a photo of us in the grass. “Look, a Vanderbilt photographer posted us.” She finds it cute, but I’m sure my girlfriend will not.
My timer goes off after 55 minutes, blaring the sound of a weird horn. I turn it off, hopping out of bed to put on my shoes. I walk the halls own to the laundry room toting my empty laundry basket with me. I scan into the laundry room and walk over to dryer number 16. Its empty. Puzzled, I assume I remembered the wrong number. I look at dryer 14, 15, 17, 18. All empty. My clothes are gone.
I stand up from my chair, walking in a single file line toward the stage. Hundred of us dressed in our cap and gowns waiting for our moments. I focus on the movement of my feet as I prepare to walk across the stage. 4 years of work, stress, and drama just to be able to walk under the black and gold balloons and see my name inscribed on the degree. I wait in line as person after person walks across the stage as their name is called. I’m next. I take two steps up the stairs looking at the stage expand out in front of me. I hear the announcer say a name, but before I can react, the person behind me squeezes past to step on the stage. I wait, thinking surely there was a mistake. But person after person brush past me, all their names being called until every person, but me, walks the stage.