Monday, July 28, 2008

peeing on a brick wall

the transition from elementary school to middle school was at times an overwhelming experience. gone were recesses, a single teacher, and tote trays. instead we were suddenly bombarded with periods, several teachers, lockers, tardies, showers after gym class, french horns, mrs. coombs, a la carte lunches, designer clothes, and profanity that i never knew existed.

but those were not that big of a deal. when i realized i was in a different world - a much larger older world compared to little young me - was when i walked into the restroom during my first week and saw a 9th grader peeing on the wall. i knew he wasn't accidentally missing the urinal because it was 5 or 6 feet away from him. he was just there, facing the brick wall, watching his urine trickle across the tile floor into a small drain. i didn't know what to think. was this normal for 9th graders? is peeing on the wall the 'cool' thing to do? should i also be doing this to be accepted by my new peers? he then zipped up his pants, gave me this 'what are you looking at?' glare, and then proceeded to pick me up and throw me into a nearby locker outside.

ok. i made up that last part about being thrown into a locker; but trust me, that is what i was expecting to happen.

in just a month i'm going to be starting my next stage of education at claremont graduate university studying for a masters degree in philosophy of religion and theology. i can't help but feel like i'm moving into a new world that is going to be much older and larger than little young me. today i received a couple of syllabi for some courses i will be taking, and felt a little struck by the jump in requirements and expectations that are going to be thrown at me. even worse, i am am going to be a nobody in just a month. over the last few years in utah valley, i managed (with much help) to establish myself as a philosophy major to be somewhat reckoned with. my peers and instructors both knew and respected me. without trying to sound to braggish, i was a big fish in the little philosophy department here.

but in a month that will all change. no longer will i be someone that everyone knows. i'm going to be a nobody having to start over and hopefully make my place among those who are going to be far smarter and far better read than me. i can't help but imagine walking into a restroom during my first week to find a doctoral student standing up against the brick wall, watching his flow of urine stream across the floor into a nearby drain. will he also glare at me as i nervously wet myself in fear?


  1. Congrats. I'll be at Claremont next spring for a conference on parallels between Mormonism and engineering vision (see link below). Maybe I'll see you there.

  2. I bet the philosophy doctoral student will throw you against a locker with his mind.

  3. I don't know what Claremont is like, but here at Purdue it was a big adjustment for me. There are two pieces of advice:

    (1) Most of the grad students who appear to be the most sophisticated are often full of shit.

    (2) Make friends. You are all in this together.

    Good luck!

  4. Something to look forward to is that you'll make some life long friends. I learned the following again in graduate school, "those who go through hell together, stay together." The difficulty creates a nice bond.

  5. I'm so excited for you. I love starting up a new life somewhere with new adventures and being a nobody. And just so you know, you'll always be a nobody to me and I still like you. ;0)

  6. You will do well in this grad program. You will be peeing on that wall before you know it.

  7. I am looking forward to your post about you being thrown into a locker at Claremont. Priceless.

  8. great post. i wish i would have read it earlier. so, now that you have mat a few people do you feel like they will throw you around? wow, scary cool! at least you speak the language.

  9. I need to know for my next exam with the OU. Was he trying to write his name or create anything creative such as a picture or word. I am serious about this.Many thanks.


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