Written by: Youeal Abera, Staff Writer
I set my written speech on the podium, and look up to the 150 bright-eyed, eager, 17-year-old high school students seated in the lecture hall. Each one has expressed an interest in studying English at SFU next Fall. I prepare to enlighten them on the great attributes of SFU’s English department.
Greetings, fresh blo . . . erm, I mean — Greetings, new prospects!
My name is Youeal Abera, and today I’ll be telling you all about the wonderful English department here at Simon Fraser University!
This fall, each of you will be studying in one of the most exciting departments at SFU! If you’re into reading, writing, and having professors shit on your wor-
— If you’re into reading, writing, and gaining excellent insight from some of our most refined professors, then you’re in the right place.
Closes eyes, takes out handkerchief to dry forehead, and takes a sip of water-
As you make your way through your degree program, you’ll find that your experiences in the English department includes a ton of fun. The fun you’ll have will leave you with lifelong memories!
My right eye begins to twitch
Some of these memories include three-hour lectures, completing your readings on your transit commute up the mountain, and hearing your professors going on tangents about what THEY love about the reading material because it doesn’t matter what YOU like about the book, huh? It’s all about THEM! THEM, THEM, THEM, THEM, THEM!
I release a pained sigh
You see, what I’m trying to say is that you’ll have LOTS of fun! Looking at the world through the pages of a book will surely give you a new perspective for life. If I were to say one thing to who I was as a first-year English student, I’d warmly say —
I attempt to take another sip of water, but my hand squeezes the cup so hard that it shatters the glass. I’m bleeding, but my emotional pain far outweighs the pain in my skin.
… SURPRISE! SURPRISE YOU DUMBASS! YOU REALLY THOUGHT THIS SHIT WOULD BE FUN, HUH? YOU THOUGHT ALLLLLLLL OF THIS WOULD BE A GREAT EXPERIENCE? YOU MORON! DID YOU HAVE FUN READING ALL OF THOSE DAMN BOOKS YOU DIDN’T WANT TO READ? ARE YOU HAPPY THAT YOUR LOVE FOR READING IS NOW RUINED?
I spin around to face a faint reflection of myself in the lecture hall’s whiteboard. I’m pointing my non-bleeding index finger at my reflection.
DID YOU ENJOY BEING MOCKED BY THOSE MATH AND SCIENCE STUDENTS FOR YOUR “EASY” MAJOR SELECTION, EVEN THOUGH THEY CAN’T READ THE WORDS ON A CEREAL BOX?! DID YOU FEEL ANY SHAME IN LETTING THESE SAME MATH AND SCIENCE STUDENTS TAUNT YOU EVEN THOUGH YOU KNEW YOU’D STILL EDIT THEIR PAPERS BECAUSE YOU’VE LEARNED EMPATHY?!
Feverishly, I turn to face my audience once again. An audible gasp is heard amongst the high school students. Many are terrified, looking at me with wide eyes and held breaths. Two students in the back row are filming me on their Instagram stories.
RUN! RUN YOU INCOMPETENT, MINI-BOP KIDS REJECTS! DON’T YOU UNDERSTAND THAT YOU STILL HAVE A FIGHTING CHANCE FOR FREEDOM? FOR THE LOVE OF EVERYTHING RIGHTEOUS, JUST KEEP YOUR TIDE-POD EATING SELVES IN HIGH-SCHOOL! RUN IF YOU KNOW WHAT’S GOOD FOR YOU!
The lecture hall full of grade 12 students remains silent. No one dares to say a word. I use my handkerchief to wipe the sweat off my forehead once more.
Well, I hope you enjoy studying English at Simon Fraser University! See you this September! 🙂