Sometimes life is just weird. Fortuity often toe-dances so gently you hardly notice anything, but every now and then it seems to take all loose ends – most of which you never even noticed – and fastens them with knots, a lot of times without anybody being able to tell how fast. This Friday was most certainly one of the latter cases. The day began quite normally with me having problems getting up early in the morning, going to university was the same as usual, though the bus was exceptionally empty. Probably because many people already had gone on holiday.
The first strange thing was what happened during and after class. Kirstine presented a poem on rapes of three young girls, which literally took my breath away. And such was the case for most of the other students, as there were some long moments of silence, which only added to the feeling of uncomfortableness. I have no idea how long we discussed the poem but it surely took over half an hour. Then, a presentation of another student’s poem, a far longer one and enormously complex (I can’t imagine anybody else knowing what the urban legend of toothpaste is about, or who would describe the late pope John Paul II as a “seminarist football star”) followed.
Anyway, that presentation took us right to the end of the class, which really was just the beginning: what I am about to describe lasted almost an hour after the course was already over. Now, I won’t give any names here out of respect towards the involved people, but let me tell you that there has been a case of academic dishonesty in that class – someone forged the attendance list (apparently twice) and wrote someone on it who in fact was not there. Missing three classes without a valuable excuse means permanent exclusion from the course and no right to write the exam – that person had missed four classes, but apparently was on the attendance list in two of those times. Needless to say that this understandably angered our prof, who now has convened a hearing in front of him and two other members of the departmental staff. In the US for example, you can get up to ten years of prison for forging official documents, and of course you wouldn’t have any chance in continuing your academic studies, no matter where. In the UK the crime is equally severely punished. I don’t think they are running the danger of going to prison here in Luxembourg, but it shows how seriously this issue is taken by many universities.
What’s weird about this? Well, at first, I never witnessed a thing of such gravity. Second, I think it was the first time I was in a classroom where the class (some exceptions) aligned itself with the prof. Which was more than understandable, as the only one of the two involved present, the one who missed the classes, was – as already in quite a few other of those classes before (!) – enormously disrespectful, very impudent and extremely insulting. Example? Well, among other things that person did, she applauded the prof after he had explained that she will have to come to a hearing next week. Third, the silence after that student had run out of the room (with a banging door of course), was eerie and oppressing. Until finally one of the students broke the silence and most of the students – those who weren’t speechless as I was – tried to thank the prof for his course. Obviously, this wasn’t at all how he had imagined his course to be. It is sad that the course I enjoyed the most is ending this way, but I guess my anger, above all towards that disrespectful person, for destroying the atmosphere of that cool course is far greater than my sadness. There was a moment, which basically lasted till she finally shut up and left the room, when I just wanted to scream STFU and smash her face in. But one doesn’t punch girls. And one doesn’t get into a fight in a classroom.
Oh, did I say that she lied to the prof, claiming that she didn’t know that the other person put her name on the attendance list, although last Thursday that person admitted that she was begged to write it down?
After the discussion, there was only one right solution for us students: we needed a drink. So as English students we went to an Irish pub, George & Dragon, and had a Guiness, a Kilkenny or something similar. What did we decide to do? We didn’t take any decisions, I guess we had talked enough about the subject by then and we changed the subject. Well, we did decide on something though it’s still pretty vague: we need a way to recomfort our prof that he doesn’t deserve to be treated with such disrespect and find an original gift.
Two hours after having left university I was on my way to town, planning on taking the bus. Which I did. But just when I took a seat, I got a call from Gilles who asked me to come to the Interview, so out again at the next bus station and to the pub. Nothing special happened there, but still it was a bit weird, as I had been positive about not going to a pub on Friday afternoons again – after all, the people I always went to the pub with now are doing their graduation.
Anyway, fast forward to Saturday morning two o’clock. I’m checking my mail, there’s a message: the sender only indicates a first name and it’s the name of the person who forged the attendance list. WTF? Well, no, it’s even weirder than that. The email’s from an old friend of whom I hadn’t heard anything for about four years. Finding out my email is not really a complicated matter, but why did she write me? Well, apparently, she stumbled over SadAutumn.com while looking for something completely different. The world is damn small (and I experienced far stranger proofs of a small world, so this is not just the use of a cliche phrase)…
I try not to believe in destiny anymore and I don’t think there is any greater plan behind all of what happened yesterday at all, but I find it pretty odd that this all happened within about fifteen hours.
I apologize for this lengthy post, but I just had to get this off my chest. :)