Saturday, January 1, 2022

Empowered: The Grad School Chronicles (1.03)

(Restart Story) 

You decide to take a seat next to Mac. The table itself is rectangular in shape, with two chairs at each head and four along the sides. Mac sits in the middle of the side opposite the entrance, with his back to a large window overlooking the campus below. 

Mac is tall and of medium build. He's a bit sweaty and his skin is lightly tanned, indicating that he probably biked to campus. He turns to look at you as you take a seat next to him.

"Hey pal, good to see you again. Are you prepared for today's discussion?" 

It takes you a moment to consider his query as you unfurl your laptop and pull up the relevant materials. Well I did all the readings and probably took way too many notes, so I think so? 

"Yeah, I think so," you reply. The side of Mac's mouth tilts upwards before forming a full-fledged smirk as he looks at the length of the notes you took. 

"Wow, you sure take a lot of notes. It's better to just read and be confident about speaking-up during the seminar. I never would have gotten into Georgetown for undergrad if I didn't learn how to speak confidently." Mac gives you a patronizing pat on the back before returning to the nondescript notepad in front of him. He makes a small note in the upper-right corner while grinning, before grabbing an apple and taking a loud chomp. His bite is deep, and you can hear seeds cracking as he chews. 

A few moments later, more members of your cohort trickle in. Besides you, there are seven other members: Mac, Nikki, Raphael, Beth, Michael, Estella, and James. It's a fairly diverse group, you're of mixed racial descent yourself, as is James. Michael is African American while Estella is Filipina, and Raphael is of Native American descent. Several Eliot University faculty members have already commented on the incredible diversity of your cohort, hinting that this is an atypical occurrence.

The professor strolls in right at 10:00. He is pale with graying hair and piercing blue eyes. Standing at well over six feet, he looks quite intimidating. Nevertheless, you are a great fan of his work on twentieth century political movements, and consider him to be one of the major reasons why you applied to Eliot University. 

He takes a seat at the head of the table, pulls out a stack of papers, and leans back in his chair. He silently clasps his hands and stares at you and the other members of your cohort. 

"Let's begin by looking at the syllabus, shall we?" The professor slides a weighty packet of papers to everyone at the table. You look down and begin processing the information. 


I hope you are enjoying this interactive short story. If you can spare it, please consider donating to my coffee fund so that I can keep writing stories like these. Thank you again for reading my work! 

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About The Author

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Nicholas Garcia (M.A.) is a PhD Candidate at the University of California, Davis. He is also a Co-Founder of the Bulosan Center for Filipino Studies. Previously, he contributed to and the Davis Humanities Institute.