Studying amongst shoulders: A journey from boy to man


How could he think about diffraction when a deadly combination of epidermis and clavicle was sitting only two rows in front of him? 

Andrew Walsh | Cavalier Daily

They always tell you that college is going to be different. That your success is up to you and you alone. They’re not going to baby you like they did in high school. Connor, a fresh-faced first-year, thought they were kidding. Until he saw something that shocked and terrified him. There it was. A girl’s shoulder out in the wide open. Right in the middle of his econ class? Connor looked around frantically, could the others see it too? No one appeared to be looking at it… maybe it was just his eyes playing tricks on him. But then the girl turned to grab her notebook and holy shit there was another one! Two exposed shoulders. Connor started to sweat through his Patagonia. He couldn’t learn like this. How could he think about diffraction when a deadly combination of epidermis and clavicle was sitting only two rows in front of him? 

This school asked too much. This wasn’t a time for girls to have collarbones, this was a time to learn! How dare they bring these bewitching appendages into sacred halls of learning and tradition? Who gave them that right? He was still fuming when class ended and the explosive sound of impractically tiny desks folding back into seats brought him to reality. He had missed the rest of class, and it was all the shoulders’ fault.

He recounted his trials to third-year Ryan, who nodded pensively as Connor bemoaned this enormous obstacle that stood between him and finessing his way into the Comm School. Then Ryan decided to get real with Connor, as bros are wont to do. 

“Connor,” said Ryan, “There are gonna be women, and they are going to bring their ankles, collarbones and shoulders into your life. They literally can’t get rid of them, so it’s on you to be able to function around them. I know this is new bud, the teachers used to be in your corner, but now they let these temptresses have free reign. I know high school was a blast with dress codes and uniforms keeping these sirens at bay… but, bro, you’re Odysseus and now you gotta plug them ears if you want to survive.” 

Ryan was a Classics major, and had long since mastered the art of taking classes with the ladies. “What about the girls?” Connor asked. “Don’t they get distracted by us too?” 

“Boy, no girl wants to see your pasty thighs! Besides, if they can get past that caterpillar that died on your upper lip, they can focus on anything.” Connor, feeling thoroughly roasted but nevertheless inspired, then said goodbye to Ryan. 

Maybe, he thought, he was more than just a raging ball of hormones. He could be capable of learning in all circumstances. He was more than a boy — he was a man! The mere sight of a collarbone in high school used to render him incapable of thought, much less pre-algebra, but now Connor was ready to take the University by storm — regardless of how many ankles he might encounter along the way.

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