The five stages of a lecture

based on the Kübler-Ross model (five stages of grief)

yes this was written during a lecture


It’s 8:15 and you’re 15 minutes early. You have your laptop pulled out and notes set and ready. You’re feeling successful. You feel like you could give a Ted Talk right now. You can already envision the video: “How I Solved Global Warming at the Age of 19” or “How I Became The Youngest Nobel Peace Prize Recipient.” You can hear the audience cheering for you, because you’re young and successful and out for blood, by that I mean you’re having and winning imaginary arguments in your head. That teacher who wronged you back in elementary school? Owned. That kid who stole your lunch money and called you a dork? Owned. Your parents with their logically sound and valid arguments? Owned. Successful, yes, that’s what you are. You manifest. You manifest hard, browsing through the Duke Affirmations Instagram page and you manifest each and every single post into reality. Why are you even taking this class? You’re too smart for organic chemistry anyways, might as well let you lead the lecture. The thought of failure is inscrutable to you and your gleaming aura of success. 


Why. Is. This. Lecture. So. Long. Lectures usually don’t last this long, right? Right? I am engaged and passionate about my studies, you repeat to yourself. After all, you can do anything you put your mind to, probably, maybe. The professor is talking. Taking chemistry was a mistake. Taking chemistry was not a mistake. Ignore the white noise. Ignore the white noise. Ignore the white noise. The professor is speaking, you think, you don’t understand anything coming out of their mouth or confusing statistics on the slideshow. You’re not sure if you even understand the English language anymore. Maybe this stuff just takes time to click, maybe beyond fifteen minutes—wait, how have only fifteen minutes passed? You can already feel your back sinking into the seat. You are not tired. You understand everything. This is not happening. Ohgoditshappening.


It’s fine. Everything is fine. You probably just need more sleep and nutrition. I mean how intimidating can a bunch of molecules be? After all, you’re made of molecules. Maybe no one knows what they’re doing, and everyone’s just making up some technical jargon to sound smart, oxidation doesn’t even sound like a real word. It’s all fine. You’ll just go to office hours and ask for help, and maybe dedicate a few extra minutes to studying instead of binge-watching all six seasons of "Gossip Girl." This will all pay off in the end. You don’t feel like working hard but you will—starting today, maybe tomorrow, or next Monday or next month? Let’s do next month, or next semester. Grades don’t matter that much in college anyways, Cs get degrees, so you aim for a C, or at least a D, actually how many courses can you fail and still graduate? 


Words seem to detach from the screen and drift off into the distance. Your consciousness is trying to slap you in the face, unfortunately consciousness is only an abstraction and cannot interact with physical objects, so you slap yourself in the face. So many thoughts are racing through your head, well, maybe not racing, more like crawling across to the door like you did this morning trying to wake up. You take another sip of the large Americano you brought from Beyu, not realizing the cup is already empty, not realizing that the fabric of reality is falling apart around you. Why isn’t the professor talking, why does my head feel so heavy, everything is happening at once but you can only know so much. You take another sip of the coffee, but the cup is still empty, why is the cup still empty. If coffee tastes like vitality then what do dreams taste like, perhaps like syrup dripping from the branches of a maple tree next to a stream of milk? 


It hits you like a bus, the realization that you don’t really care anymore, or rather, that you’re too tired to care. For the majority of human history, we have spent and will spend our time in the deep slumber of non-existence, all life leads back to sleep in the end. You take shelter in this thought, and finally, you sleep.

Spencer Chang is a Trinity first-year. His column typically runs on alternate Thursdays.

Spencer Chang profile
Spencer Chang | Opinion Managing Editor

Spencer Chang is a Trinity sophomore and an opinion managing editor of The Chronicle's 118th volume.


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