Saturday, January 1, 2022

Empowered: The Grad School Chronicles (1.11)

(Restart Story) 


You follow your cohort out of the seminar room, and soon enough all of you are chatting and milling about outside. Eventually, people break off into separate conversations. You, James, Mac, and Estella form a rough circle and begin recounting your first few days at Eliot University, starting with everyone discussing their advisers. 

"Mine is great," Mac interjects. "A little eccentric but I know we'll be a great fit. I'm planning on meeting them every week!" 

James goes next. "Mine is alright, but seems a bit distracted. Actually, we haven't even met yet besides a brief exchange of e-mails. But I guess that makes sense, he's pretty famous here and has a lot of mentees." 

"Yeah," adds Estella, "mine hasn't wanted to meet either. She said it's fine if we never meet this first year. Not sure what to make of that..." 

They all turn to look at you, and James asks "What about you Neil?" 

You decide against sharing what happened yesterday, not wanting to risk coming across strangely before you can confirm the situation with Anderson. 

"Oh, yeah, well we've met once. He seems like a nice guy, and he's really made an effort to reach out to me. So far so good I guess? I get a bit of a mysterious vibe talking to him though." 

Mac's ears perk up at the last part. "Mysterious how?" 

"Oh," you stammer, "well you know how academics are. Unnecessarily arcane and nebulous about the topics they reference." Everyone responds with light laughter, except for Mac, who studies your expression closely before posing a question. 

"Neil, seeing as you and I are the only ones to have met with their adviser, what do you say about meeting up later to exchange notes? I actually already invited Nikki and Michael to coffee this evening. We'd love for you to join." He remains facing you, completely ignoring Estella and James, whose faces morph into expressions reading something along the lines of don't do it. 

"Oh, thanks for the invite Mac, but Estella, James, and I were already planning to get boba tonight. You all have fun though!" 

Mac looks as though he's about to protest, but decides against it. Instead he simply says "no worries" and turns around to join the conversation between Nikki, Beth, and Michael.

James and Estella begin walking towards downtown, and you follow. 

James gives you a hearty pat on the pack. "Good call there Neil. You know, I think I actually would be down to grab some boba later if you guys are." Estella agrees, and you all make plans to meet at 6:00pm. You say your temporary goodbyes and go your separate ways, with you turning back around towards Eliot University. 

You check your phone. It reads 4:45pm, giving you just enough time to make your meeting with Anderson on the rooftop. 


(Next)




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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 Lifehack.org and the Davis Humanities Institute.