Collage Diaries 7
Feliks was making his morning rounds through the doors when Leon was dreaming. Having just woken up, he fondly remembered his feet being pulled under molasses as he jump-kicked a man in a black jumpsuit away from an Emil in distress.
…At least, he thought it was Emil. He had long hair and a nice rack.
“Wakey, wakey, sleepy heads!” he heard a sassy voice shout from the other side of the door. “You guys’ve got crash classes! Up, up, up!”
“Crash classes?” Leon heard Emil mumble from above. He was awake, too. “What was that, again?”
“Uh…” He tried to think of something the residential assistant brought up, but he couldn’t quite recall. Running out of ideas, he flipped through his phone and saw that some time late at night, Feliks had sent out a text message with a reminder:
Crash classes tomorrow at 7! It’s mandatory!
Leon groaned and flopped back on his pillow. “I don’t know what it is, but it’s mandatory,” he yawned. “Looks like we’ve, like, gotta get ready for that. Damn Feliks…I’m gonna give him hell.”
“Don’t,” his friend said. He was already crawling down from his bunk. “Let’s just get ready so we’re not late.”
“Whatever, Ice,” Leon slurred and rolled off his mattress.
“Totally sorry, but I forgot to tell you guys you had crash classes today,” Feliks quickly apologized as he led his little group of freshmeat towards the auditorium.
“What’re crash classes?” someone from the crowd asked.
“They’re like, little versions of your classes,” the residential assistant explained. “Basically, you get to see the professors, and they’ll, like, talk a little bit about the overview of your courses. It also lets you guys get an idea of where your classes are.”
“If that’s the case, then shouldn’t you have told us to get our bikes?” someone else groaned.
“Nah, you’re going to need the exercise,” Feliks replied. “Don’t wanna gain those freshmen fifteen, do ya? So, anyway, as I was saying, we’re going to be meeting in the auditorium for a quick little rally, and then we’ll pull you off into classes, m’kay?”
“Wait a sec,” a student said. “There’s nearly three thousand of us. There’s no way the auditorium’s going to fit that many freshmen.”
“Oh, don’t worry about that, kiddo. We’re doing this by halls. First round is Opal, Topaz, and half of Gold. Later at ten, it’s going to be Ruby, Sapphire, and the other half of Gold.”
A chorus of groans sounded out from the freshmeat.
“You mean you forgot to tell us, and we had to go to the early session?”
“Life’s not always fair. Get used to it.”
Leon and Emil were trailing somewhere behind the back at this point. With everything that had happened yesterday, neither of them were in the condition to make any smart remarks without mustering a yawn.
“Mm, so, like, that means you might be seeing Michelle and Lili,” Leon told his friend.
“Mm-hmm.” Emil stopped to yawn. “Guess so.”
“Wonder how long the crash classes are.”
“Beats me. Lukas never said anything about this.”
Leon tossed his head back to get the uncombed bangs out of his eyes. “Neither did Cheng or Mei. Wonder if this is new.”
Regardless, all the students eventually made their way to the auditorium where Gold and Topaz Halls had already arrived. Like a slap on the face to Feliks, even Toris’ side of the floor was already there.
“Feliks, you’re a little late,” his counterpart residential assistant commented.
“That’s because the little freshmeat had some trouble getting up,” he explained.
“Bullshit!” someone shouted. “He forgot! He woke us all up just to come out to this thing!”
“Uh…” Toris ultimately decided to drop it to save the embarrassment of both the students and Feliks. “Never mind. Everyone, please fill up all the empty spaces. There are still people coming in.”
When Leon and Emil took their seat, the lights began to dim, and the doors closed behind them. Then, in the center stage, two tall and grand-looking figures began walking towards the center. One of them had curly brown hair that looked unkempt, but because of his muscular build it made him appear youthful. The other had straight blonde hair that was tidily braided into a ponytail; one might have thought he was a new-age hippie if it wasn’t because he was overly muscular.
Leon let out a low whistle. “Know who those dudes are, right?” he asked Emil.
“Uh, I think I saw them at Lukas’ graduation,” he replied. “The deans?”
“Bingo.” Leon gave him a victory peace sign. “Weird how this university has two deans running the shows together. Different personalities, too.”
Emil remembered now. “Yeah.”
“So which do you like better?”
“Uh…I guess Augustus* is cool, but Folkert** is more serious about what the school really needs.”
Leon laughed. “I think I like Augustus just because he’s pretty laid-back.”
“Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the very first crash classes meeting in Eliatha University history!” Augusts announced in a cheery voice.
“So that’s why our family’s never told us about this,” Leon snorted. “It’s the first. Wake me when it’s over, okay?”
“Leon!” Emil hissed, but he had already dozed off. He could understand why. Every night after Leon would go to bed, he would stay up to check his social networking status and message his relatives overseas. So, for better or for worse, Emil let him sleep while he listened to the lecture.
When it was over, Leon felt a nudge from his side and heard a cluttering stampede of students getting up to walk.
“Hnn?” he muttered. “It’s over?”
“Yep,” Emil said. “You’re in the sosh majors so you have to walk over to the east. I’m going west. I’ll see you at lunch.”
“Huh?” Leon blinked. “You going to be alright?”
“I’m not a child, Leon. I can take care of myself.”
“Sure you can. Fine. I’ll text you when I’m done.”
“Whatever,” Emil mumbled and disappeared with the rest of the natural science majors.
Emil’s first crash class was biology. As expected by the size of the class and the details his brother had given him, the entire lecture hall was overflowing with freshmeat piling up over the chairs. He was about to take a seat in the back when he heard someone calling out his name.
When he looked over in the direction of the voice, he saw Michelle waving to him. Like the other times he had seen her, she was wearing a dress; this time, it was a deep maroon. Lili was sitting quietly beside her wearing a sunny yellow dress that complimented her golden hair.
“Oh. Hey, you two,” he said as he hastily sat beside Michelle.
“I thought I’d see you here,” the Seychellois beamed. “So where’d Leon go?”
“He’s a business management major so he’s at the sosh buildings.”
Interestingly, Michelle tilted her head. “Sosh?” she repeated.
“O-Oh. It’s short for social science,” Emil explained. “Um…Th-That reminds me. Lili, where are you from? I never found out."
“Um…” The timid zoology major clutched her dress. Emil was pretty amazed at this; he never thought he would meet someone shyer than him in Eliatha University. “I’m from Lichtenstein.”
Emil blinked. “Really? So…I’m assuming you’re rich, then.”
The girl blushed. “I wouldn’t really say too rich. It’s only because of my brother’s side of the family.”
“Oh, yeah. You mentioned something about your brother yesterday.” Emil paused. “So does he go here?”
Lili nodded. “Mm-hmm. He’s an accounting major. A sophomore.”
“That’s nice.” He managed a smile hoping she wouldn’t be too shy around him. He had been in her position several times when hanging around Leon. “My brother went here, too, but he’s in the medical program at the grad school now.”
No point in sticking around that subject, Emil, he told himself. “Uh, so, why’d you want to go into zoology?”
His question got a smile out of Lili. “I want to be a veterinarian,” she told him. “I’ve always loved animals.”
“Cool.” Emil looked back at Michelle. “What about you? You have any reason for being a marine bio major?”
Michelle smiled in a far-off way. “It’s because with the changes in the climate, the fish back at home are changing their behaviors. We’re not getting as many fish visiting the islands like we used to, and because of that, not as many tourists are visiting.” She cradled her chin on her hands. “I want people from all over the world to see what a beautiful place my home-country is, and I hope that when they visit, they’ll be able to see all of the fish, too.”
Then, she laughed. “It sounds like a silly dream, but that’s really why I studied hard to get in this school.”
“That’s…understandable,” Emil said. He would have thought that for someone coming all the way from Africa, it was a big step in being able to fulfill her dream. Perhaps he should have given Michelle more credit than she had.
“Alright, everyone!” someone from the front called across the lecture hall. “Are you kids in the right room? You want to be in biology, right?”
There was a hum of nods and “Yes” buzzing throughout the students so the person (whom Emil assumed was the professor) cleared his throat and commenced the beginning of the crash class.
“So tell me this: how many of you want to go into med school? Tell me—Raise your hands. Come on, everyone. Raise your hands and let me see ‘em.”
Emil, Michelle, and Lili watched as nearly eighty percent of the entire hall raised their hands on command.
“M’kay,” the professor nodded. “And you know that it’s a big deal even being able to get into this school, but only about ten percent of you are going to be able to get into a real medical school.” He paused to let that process through the students’ heads. “And tell me this, how many of you want to go to E.U.’s med program?”
Like last time, nearly eighty percent of the students raised their hands.
The professor nodded again. “Mm. Well, I have to tell you this: only about one percent of you are going to be good enough to get in. One. So welcome to the first course of biology, kids. Now, I know some of you are only taking this course to fulfill some engineering or psychology requirement, but you’ve gotta understand that it’s not just all fun and games.
“For most of you, this’ll be the first test to see if you have what it takes to really study your asses off and pull with an A. ‘Cause if you don’t get that A, why are you even here?”
Some of the students looked at one another when the professor finished. Emil was trying to picture what his brother must’ve looked like when this professor told him the same thing.
Then again, he doesn’t show too many expressions, he flatly thought. All the same, he knew he had to study hard, as well, if he was going to pass the class. While he wasn’t here to become a doctor, he was here because he wanted to study the aquaculture and behavioral patterns in the fish back at his country of birth. It wasn’t going to be all fun and games. Michelle and Lili had their reasons for being here, and Emil wasn’t about to say his reason was any less significant.
“On that note,” the professor continued, “I’m just going to go over the syllabus, and just a brief overview on what you need to buy for this class by Thursday. Those of you who already registered—and I’m sure that’s ninety-nine percent of you—should know that the syllabus is online, but rules are rules, so I’ve gotta go through it.”
And so the rest of the lecture was spent listening to the professor go over the syllabus. After finishing, Lili went off to her mathematics class while Emil and Michelle went off to the visual arts building.
“It sounds scary trying to become a doctor,” Michelle commented while they were walking to their next course. Since Lukas had instructed Emil on how to get to his classes before moving in, Emil led the way. “I knew more people wanted to become doctors than real biologists, but he didn’t have to say it like that.”
Emil shrugged. “That’s just how the real world works. My brother—wait, did I tell you he’s studying to become a doctor?”
Michelle searched through her thoughts for a moment. “I don’t remember,” she finally said.
“Well, my older brother—his name’s Lukas—is at Eliatha’s med school. He was one of those one percent the professor was talking about.”
“Oh! So he’s smart!”
“Mm-hmm. He knew about how tough it was so he studied his…behind off. He told me about how hard it was, but I can’t really relate. I didn’t want to take the medical route.”
“It would have been interesting if you had, though,” Michelle giggled. “Your parents would have been happy.”
Emil furrowed his eyebrows. “They said they were happy with whatever I chose. I think getting into Eliatha University was enough to brag about. I don’t know about you, Michelle, but…”
“Oh, my grandpa was really happy when I got the acceptance letter,” she beamed. “He said I would be going to the best school for research. I told him he was going to be proud of me when I came home to see him. It’s going to be a while…”
“Aren’t you going back for the summer?”
Michelle shook her head. “We can’t afford to send me back every year so I’m going to stay here until my student visa is used up.”
“Oh.” He couldn’t relate since he and Lukas lived within driving distance. “You think you’re going to be homesick?”
She shook her head. “I’ll be fine. This is a wonderful country***.”
Emil smiled. “I’m glad you like it.” Then, he turned his attention away from her for a moment to see the visual arts building coming into view. “We’re here.”
Michelle smiled. “I wonder what sort of teacher we’re going to have.”
“Hopefully not someone like that prick of a bio professor,” Emil grumbled.
“Yeah,” she laughed. It sounded nice being able to make her laugh.
Leon was stuck in economics. The lecture hall was fairly large, but despite the concentration, he managed to find Charles and Cécile sitting together interestingly enough.
“Well, well,” he smirked as he invited himself over. “Didn’t think you two were a thing.”
Charles scowled. “We are not,” he refuted. “I just so happened to remember her name and face from a distance and decided to sit with her.”
“Right.” Leon smirked even wider. “So, like, what’s you major, Cissy?”
In response, Cécile narrowed her eyes and adjusted her glasses. “That nickname is only reserved for friends, Mr. Leon.”
“Ouch. So, like, I’m not your friend?”
“You are not deserving of being one of mine,” she coldly responded.
“Whatever.” Leon was fine with it either way. It wasn’t hard to faze him when it came to socializing since he had seen his fair share back in Hong Kong. “You gonna tell me your major?”
“Business management,” she said.
“Sweet. So am I.”
“What a small world.” Judging from her tone, Leon thought she could have been sarcastic.
“But, you know, you don’t look like you’d be going in that field,” Leon pointed out.
“How very observant.” So she was being sarcastic. “I plan on using the experience to go into casino management.”
Leon raised an eyebrow. “Seriously? Where are you from, again?”
That explained it. “Monte Carlo?” he guessed.
Cécile adjusted her glasses once more. Leon was used to seeing that gesture since Cheng would often do that. “Your concept of geography is not as poor as I thought, Mr. Leon.”
“Heh,” he dryly laughed. “I get that a lot.”
Then, the Monacan threw him a sly smile. “I’m sure you get the ladies with that, too,” she sneered.
Double ouch. If it wasn’t because Leon had been used to worse, he might have winced. Some of the Hong Kongers could tell it like they meant it.
“Alright, you little shits, settle down.”
Upon hearing that profanity, the entire hall quieted down. Leon suspected he’d hear at least one of his professors use curse words. So this would be at least one of them. This professor’s hair distinctly reminded him of Mathias, but his hair was slightly neater in the upright sense and his eyes were a deep green. Oddly enough, he had a scar on his forehead that complimented the scowl on his face. In short, this professor didn’t look like the kind to fuck around with.
Guess I’m not going to joke around in his office hours, Leon thought.
“So I know most of you kids just want to take this class to get something out of the way. Really, what you get out of your money is what you pay for, but it’s up to you if you want to learn the material.” The professor paused to say something off his microphone. “If you’re going to stay in this class, I’m Professor—Screw it. Forget that. Just call me Tim****. Most of you stupid shits aren’t going to pronounce the Dutch part correctly, anyway.”
“Ooookay.” Leon rubbed the back of his neck. So he was Dutch.
“I’m just going to go over the syllabus, and I’ll let you all out early,” Tim said, plopping a pen in his mouth and flipping through some slides on the projector. “I’ll bet none of your R.A.s told you what you needed so you don’t have to take notes.”
He looked up and did a quick head count of the students. “This is a big class, anyway, but you’re welcome to do whatever the hell you want in the classroom: play games, nap, check your phones…
“But if I hear any music or snoring or any of that other crap, I’ll fail you. I’m nice enough that I let you do pretty much whatever so be respectful. And don’t smoke, either. Do that outside in designated areas. You don’t want to be that guy who sets off the sprinklers and pisses off your peers. Now, with that being done…”
And then Leon fell asleep.
“The syllabus is online, anyway,” he muttered to Charles and Cécile before leaning back and dozing off. Emil had told him he didn’t snort so he wouldn’t have to worry about being disruptive.
The culinary professor was what Emil’s mother might have called a “ladies’ man.” He took the time to know a few personal things about each of the female students and even kissed each one on the back of their hands.
Normally Emil would have rolled his eyes, but despite being a professor, this guy played the part: suave, smooth-talker, seductive accent, clean and husky build…
“…And what might your name be, my pretty little snowflower?” the professor asked Emil.
By the gods, if Leon had been there, he would be laughing his ass off.
“Emil Steilsson,” he replied using as deep and disinterested a voice as possible. “I’m a guy.”
Instead of looking flustered or shocked, to Emil’s disturbed surprised, the professor only smiled. “But of course I knew that,” he chuckled. “I was just hoping to know the name of such an esteemed and exotic little lilac blossoming in my wonderful studio of the edible arts.”
Is this guy for real? Emil wondered.
“So your name is Emil,” the professor said, placing his hand on his shoulder. “It’s nice to have someone with such silvery hair and such an innocent look in my class. You must be quite the ladies’ man.”
I could say the same about you, Emil wanted to say. “Um…not really, professor. I’m sort of…awkward.”
“Then, you are a lucky boy to be in my class. When you come out, you’ll be ready to take on the beautiful world with a confident cooking style to call your own.”
“I hope so,” he responded with a doubtful smile. He wasn’t sure if the professor was just that good or just that arrogant. If Mathias was a little smoother with women and talked in a funny French accent, he thought their arrogance might be on the same level.
Whatever the case, his professor would not be able to prove his skills on the first day. The only thing they did was run over the syllabus and go over a few safety instructions and equipment they were expected to bring to each class. Thankfully the class was only once a week. Emil didn’t think he wanted to be seen carrying his own apron around campus for more than one day.
“…And if you are ever looking for tips to perfect your true sense of art,” the professor (who insisted everyone call him Francis) finished, “just come to my office, and I’ll be more than delighted to show you a thing or two about true taste palettes.”
Emil didn’t know why, but several of the girls giggled at his offer. Oh, brother. I just hope chem doesn’t end up being like this.
Fortunately for him, Emil’s chemistry professor was not a seductive bastard.
“I’ve had people fail this class so don’t be discouraged on your first try,” he said. “It’s hard, but it’s not that hard. Just keep up on your toes, and practice, practice, practice, and you’ll be good to go. Don’t be afraid to come to my office hours. Since it’s a hard subject, I almost host review sessions. I’m not going to have them the first week because honestly, I don’t think anyone gives a damn until midterms roll around. I’ll post a schedule online when I get the T.A.’s all together. Any questions?”
No one raised their hand.
“Good,” the professor said. “So I figured since we still have…Let’s see...Ten minutes, I’ll just start a little with the lecture. We’ll continue on Thursday, but I figured we might as well get a head start. Chem’s a busy, busy class, and we’ve got a lot to cover.”
The rest of the crash class was spent reviewing individual components of the periodic table. After everything was done, Emil’s brain was practically fried. He made the excuse that he was only acting as such because he hadn’t had anything in his stomach.
“I think Professor Adnan***** was nice,” Lili said after leaving with him. They had planned on meeting back up with their roommates in front of Opal Hall for a late lunch.
“I guess he’s alright,” Emil muttered. “I think my brother had him. He’s a little kooky, but he knows what he’s doing—as long as you go to his office hours.”
Lili flinched. “I forgot to write them down! Emil, do you have his office hours?”
“Eh, yeah, hang on…”
Since they were without notebooks Emil had to resort to recording everything on his phone. Just as he was about to show Lili, his phone began to vibrate.
“Goddammit!” he cursed and saw that the contact number read “Big Brother.”
“Big Brother?” Lili read aloud.
“Yeah,” Emil distastefully replied. “Um, excuse me for a sec. I have to take his calls.” Otherwise he’ll come all the way down here, knowing him.
“H-Hello?” he reluctantly spoke into the phone.
“Ah. So you’re out of class.”
Emil made a face. “How’d you know about that? The deans said this was the first time the school had crash classes.”
“I have my ways,” his brother teasingly said.
“Lukas…” Emil looked over at Lili. He still had to give her the chemistry professor’s office hours. “I have to do something for someone. Can you call me back?”
“What was that I heard? Sounded like some mumbling on the other end.”
“Grrgh!” he growled. “Please don’t make me do this in front of her!”
“In front of who? Is that still static I hear?”
Gods, Lukas! “B-Brother, I need you to call me back.”
“Ah, why didn’t you say so?” Lukas teased.
“Idiot…” Emil grumbled over the phone. He could’ve sworn he heard his brother chuckling.
“Is tonight fine, then?”
Emil gritted his teeth. “Tonight is perfect. Bye.” He was glad to hang up. All the while, Lili was still waiting.
“Ah, so, um…Was that your brother?” she asked.
“Yeah,” he shamefully said. “Hard to believe someone so annoying was at the top of his class, right?”
Lili only giggled. “I think it’s nice having a brother with a sense of humor.”
Emil had to roll his eyes. “You don’t know my brother’s sense of humor, Lili. Trust me.”
Eventually, Emil and Lili met up with Leon who happened to run into Yong Soo on the way.
“Yo, so you guys like your teachers?” the Korean asked.
“They’re very…interesting,” was all Emil could say. “I’ve got a cynical bio professor, a kinky culinary instructor, and a loud chemistry one.”
“Sweet,” Leon smirked. “Can’t beat mine. My econ teacher lets us do whatever as long as we’re not making noise or smoking some kind of joint.”
Emil’s expression fell flat. “Oh.” So this was the esteemed Eliatha University at its finest.
“Charles and Cécile are in that class, too,” Leon added.
“Speaking of those two, where are they?” Yong Soo asked. “I kinda thought we’d see the others here by now.”
Emil shrugged. Unlike Lili, he didn’t have the others’ numbers so all he could do was wait. The sooner they met up with them, the sooner they would get to eat.
Soon enough, the others came around, and so, they all decided to eat together, sharing their first college class experiences. No one’s instructor could quite top the culinary professor, though.
“Gee,” Leon commented when Emil and Michelle had finished taking turns describing their class. “You sure he’s not, like, bi or something?”
“Uh, well, we’re not minors anymore so I guess he can’t really be considered a pedophile…” Emil brought up.
“I thought he was nice,” Michelle piped up.
“Er, whatever you say.” He wasn’t about to let his guard down in the kitchen.
“Don’t worry, Ice,” Leon said, slinging his arm around his friend’s shoulder. “If he gives you trouble, just tell me, okay?”
“Whatever, Leon,” Emil frowned. He didn’t think he’d be getting any trouble any time soon, anyway.
The rest of the afternoon had been spent eating and talking about their classes. It was only when everyone decided to return to their dorms that Emil thought to run over his syllabi.
“Should’ve checked them sooner,” he mumbled as he scanned over his chemistry syllabus. “It says here that I need lab coats this year. Lukas didn’t say I needed those things.”
Leon looked up from his phone. “Must be because the school wants money,” he assumed. “So what’re you going to do?”
“Well, I checked online, and it says the coats are always cheaper to buy somewhere off-campus.”
“Have you at least looked at what the prices are at the student store?”
“No, but I was planning to.”
“Cool, we can go together,” Leon said jumping off his bed. “I need to purchase some test booklets for my classes.”
“Oh, yeah, I have to buy scantrons, too,” Emil groaned. “Lukas said I shouldn’t believe what the upperclassmen say. The scantrons are only supposed to be a few coins each.”
“Yeah, Mei and Cheng told me about that,” Leon said. “They still have some scantrons from when they were in college. I still need the books, though. C’mon, are you ready?”
“Hang on. I just want to make sure I don’t need anything else.” As he looked through his culinary class’s syllabus, he scowled at the thought of having to purchase his own apron and recipe book written specifically for the class. According to the syllabus, the apron and recipe book were available at the student store. On top of that, he needed a lab manual for his chemistry class. It looked like he would have to do some extra shopping.
“M’kay. I think I’m done,” he said as he closed his laptop. “It’s not cheap being a bio major.”
Leon laughed. “Sure you wanna still study those whales?”
“Okay, okay, I got it.”
“Right, let’s go.” Leon took a moment to make sure he had his wallet and student identification on him. Emil did the same.
On their way out, Leon noticed there was a sign on their door as they locked it.
“What the hell…?” He looked closer.
Emil made a face. “Free condoms and lube at my room. Feliks,” he read. “How come I didn’t hear him writing it on our door?”
“Beats me. Hey, so, like, wanna get some when we come back?”
“What?” The thought of ever needing condoms or lubricants in school was absurd.
“You know, just to see how they work,” Leon innocently said.
“I don’t understand you some times…”
“Heh. I’m used to that by now.” He paused. “Oh, by the way. Emil?”
“I had a dream about you last night.”