It was barely 8am as I strode onto the campus of my local community college. There was a steady drizzle on this particular Monday morning. The second semester of my Sophomore year had begun the past Friday with an exciting filled with organic chemistry, and now I was about to start my week off with calc III.
I couldn't have possibly pictured a worse way to start my week.
A pair of yellow knee socks peeked out from the tops of my black rain boots, and I was wearing a grey skater skirt over a coral leotard. I could have just as easily been on my way to a ballet class as opposed to math class. If I had to describe my style, I would call it 'edgy ballerina.' I took girly pieces to a glam rockstar level with dark accessories and accents.
Fashion was my first love in life. I had a fatal obsession with looking good for the sake of looking good. I don't believe in dressing to impress, I believe in dressing for confidence. I don't dress for anyone but myself and for fashion, if you happen to catch me on a day when I look particularly fabulous, consider it your lucky day, don't take it personally.
I hate where I live. Suburban Michigan lacks any real sense of style. I would dress so differently if I lived in, say, New York City. I would be able to take my style to the level it deserves, I have to remember to keep it a little toned down sometimes, because high fashion doesn't exactly come off as fashionable in this small town.
I daydreamed about going to my dream special-effects makeup school in NYC, and that dream is what forces me to apply myself during the mundane days of college. As soon as I get that degree with my name embossed upon it, I'm out of this small town.
That would be why I was about to suffer through 8am calc III.
I pushed open the door to the classroom to see a majority of the seats filled with familiar faces from my previous calculus classes.
"Xaylia's here!" Two voice chimed in unison, as I heard several hellos called in my direction from across the room.
I smiled around as I spotted my partner from last semester waving at me, and I slid into the seat next to him at the end of the long row of seats. Not to sound stuck up, but for that split second, I knew I had to be the most popular person in the room.
Most popular person in calc III, what an accomplishment.
"Missed me, Mr. Quail?" I said cheerily as my teacher came to the end of my row to pass out the syllabus.
"Oh terribly, I had dreams about you," he said, mirroring my joking tone as we both laughed.
"Nightmares actually," he added as he made his way past me again.
I flipped to the back page of the syllabus, and there was the same information sheet I had filled out last semester when I had Mr. Quail for calc II. Under the question "Why are you taking this class?" I had answered, "Because I have to," and when Mr. Quail had come around to collect the papers, he asked to elaborate. I told him to that I wouldn't be here if I didn't absolutely have to, because I completely hate math, but I have to take far too many match classes to complete my chemistry major. I explained that I was majoring in chemistry because I like science, but I really just want to go to special-effects makeup school and do makeup for a living.
For some odd reason that I don't understand, me and Mr. Quail became very good friends over the semester.
Under "Why are you taking this class?" I wrote down, "Because I still have to." There's another space to tell something interesting about yourself, and last semester I explained my makeup artist plan. I wrote down that I was planning on transferring to the University of Michigan in the winter this semester.
When Mr. Quail came around again to check out our info sheets, I was pleasantly surprised when he offered to write me a letter of recommendation.
"You're the perfect student to write one for," he said sincerely.
There are moments when I think I made the wrong choice in my college career. I had gone a route very a-typical for someone who graduated high school with a very high gpa. I went the community college route, with plans to transfer to get a degree to confirm my intelligence. In the world of effects makeup, having a degree just said you were smart and people were more likely to hire you. My college experience was so different from all of my smart friends'. Literally, every single friend I had went away for school, and this semester, every single friend I made was transferring. They all had exciting stories to tell, and had made great friends, and all I had to boast about was the amount of money I made at my job, and how easy my classes were. I had money and smarts, but I did feel like I've missed out on the college experience. Sometimes this made me sad, but mostly I was ok with it. It was all for the greater good of going to makeup school, after all. I had been born middle aged, I didn't really need the college experience, I could just go straight into the real world and I'd be fine.
All last week, I had been in a bit of a funk. My friends had all moved back up to school and I found myself a friendless loser again. Monday night, my two best friends, Sarah and Ceileigh, and I had had our last sleepover, complete with a touch of shopping, our favorite movies, Applebees, and one perfect new inside joke:
"It doesn't count as a hookup," Ceileigh declared, as I made a reference to my little rendezvous with Ian earlier in the year, "because you didn't have sex."
"Then what do you call it?" I asked.
"A... sexy hot time meeting!"
A few days later, Jen and I had said our temporary good-byes, and she had given me back my hair curler that she had had for months, and then accessories she had borrowed of mine when we had gone out clubbing earlier in the week. It was strange knowing she was going to be an hour away, as opposed to that current 15 minutes. It would be weird not popping over to her house to go get a book or for a quick visit. I would miss the quirks of her house: the great conversations I would have with her mom, or running into Andrew changing his pants in the hallway. I would miss not only my best friend, but her entire quirky family.
Naturally, I was missing my friends far too much, and it had only been a few days, so as soon as calculus ended, I found myself on my way to the mall. Retail therapy was the best medicine after all.