Monday, June 17, 2013

I'm like the Pink Panther, except less like Peter Sellers and more cat-like.

So back when I was a freshman in college, I was learning the ropes of life on my own. Life with new-found freedom, responsibility, friends, and experiences. And I was pretty excited about this new chapter. However, I do believe that my freshman year was also a turning point of sorts, because it was the first time where I can remember being completely aware of the fact that, at sometimes critical junctures in my day-to-day life, my mind will just turn off.

It’s a blessing and a curse. And potentially a money-making party trick that I will make a note to look into.

I mean, nothing says drop
everything and enter law enforcement 

like this face right here.
Anyway, a few weeks into my second semester, I decided to move some classes around and signed up for an Intro to Criminal Justice class: Criminal Justice 101. 

So about three weeks into the semester, I grabbed my new class schedule, effortlessly found the classroom, and promptly sat in the very back of the class to assess my new surroundings. And, luckily for me, there was a friendly face there. The boyfriend of a friend of mine, a junior, was sitting just a few seats away and spotted me.

Friend of friend: “Hey, you’re in this class?”
Me: “Hey! Yep, I just transferred in today.”
FOF: “Wow, that’s great!”
FOF: “Aren’t you a freshman?”
Me: “Yeah, why?”
FOF: “Oh, I was just wondering. Have you already declared your major?”
Me: “Yep! I’m going into music therapy.”
FOF, confused: “Oh…. so….”
Me: “I just thought this class sounded interesting.”
FOF, still looking confused: “Yeah, I like it so far….”

And then we got interrupted by the professor, so I dove right in to get my learning on.

However, the next two weeks of that class were sort of a blur. I’ve never studied so hard or enlisted so much help by those around me. From my roommate to our friends down the hall, I had people quizzing me, re-reading assignments with me, and generally just helping me not to feel like a complete moron. And, as the first test of the semester grew near, I became increasingly anxious about my inability to comprehend what appeared to be the basics of criminal justice.

So, as I walked into class the Tuesday before the first exam, I was determined to somehow break the mind barrier that had been stunting my ability to learn basic police work for the last few weeks. I furiously took notes, making sure to earmark every page the professor told us to review, and found myself getting lost in the haze of realizing I might fail my first class ever.

And then it happened.

Professor: “And for those of you who remember this from Criminal Justice 101….”

My mind went blank, I heard a high-pitched buzzing sound in my ears, and my face grew hot as I started to look around the class and use all of those detective-ing skills I’d been learning the last few weeks.

This wasn’t Criminal Justice 101.   

In a moment, I experienced what I’ve come to realize as an all-too-familiar feeling of mild nausea, mixed with utter relief and embarrassment.

Also, I immediately stopped taking notes and started to, instead, figure out how the hell I was going to explain myself out of this one. I mean, it was all making so much more sense now: the shock on my friend’s boyfriend’s face when he saw me in class as a freshman; the difficulty level of the assignments; the fact that I wasn’t showing up on the attendance list and had to keep penciling myself in while the professor inquired with the registrar’s office to see when she’d get an updated class list…..

I really did miss my calling as a sleuth.  

So, after class I made my way up to the professor to stun her with my brilliance.

Me: “Excuse me, but you mentioned something today about Criminal Justice 101.”
Professor: “Yes.”
Me: “Yeah, so….what class is this?”
Professor: “Excuse me?”
Me: “Well, I actually thought this was Criminal Justice 101, and so when you said that, I realized that I may be sitting in the wrong class.”
Professor: “You certainly are. This is Criminal Justice 364, it’s one of the last classes students need before completing their Criminal Justice degree.”
Me: “Oh thank God, I thought I was just really dense!”
Professor, staring at me in awe.
Me: “Anyway……do you know how I could find Criminal Justice 101?”
Professor: “Actually, you’ll need to go to the dean and discuss it with him. He teaches that class, but you have already missed the cut-off date to drop and add, so he’d need to give you special permission.”

Which obviously he’d go on to give me because, as he put it, “This is one of the weirdest stories I’ve ever been a part of in my 25 years as a professor. I don’t know how I could say no.”

Also, I totally aced that class. Suck it, Criminal Justice 364!

Happy Monday, everyone! 


  1. I totally admire your dedication and perseverance for not dropping the glass after the first assignment you didn't understand. It is that persistence which makes a great detective. I see a job with Scotland Yard in your future.

    1. Right? Ooooh, Scotland Yard - I could be an International Detective!

  2. Haha, this both awesome and hilarious. You stuck it out way longer than I would have, and I love the dean's response to letting you into the class. I can totally imagine the anxiety you must have felt, and that moment when you realized you were in the wrong class. Great story!

    1. Thanks!! Yeah, the Dean was like "this is either going to work out really well or really badly for me."

  3. I'm having a pretty terrible Monday and I absolutely LOVED this story. I, too, have a weird college story but unlike you, mine was (obviously) much more mean-spirited. I think I'll just tell you the basics - I had to miss an evening class assignment (getting together to watch a movie) because of a sports game. Very valid reason as I was actually on that sports team. But the teacher wouldn't let me make it up and then emailed me that she didn't like my "attitude that I was better than her and could miss any of her activities I wanted and expected to get good grades" (um, not true). Anyway, then she gave my paper a C, I went to the dean, and she never came back...haha. Yours is much better!!!

    1. Oh no, I hope your Tuesday is better!!! Let me know if you need more stories to help you through. I'm full of 'em!

      Also, your story is awesome. I love it!

  4. That is the best story I've heard in a long time! My aunt is an English instructor at a community college, and she often has people in her 8 AM class who are actually registered for 8 PM (she sends them to the registrar and won't let them back until it's fixed), but I'm sure she's never had anything quite as bizarre as your situation.

    1. Hahaha yeah, my mom reminded me yesterday that I actually took a Biology class in college and didn't realize I also had to take the lab part. was challenging.

  5. Becky... You... you absolute amaze me sometimes.

    I also feel like this was a story told at so many University cocktail parties that if you were to go back, they'd all be like "Oh, the Criminal Justice 364 freshmen!! Can we have your autograph???"

  6. Hahahah this is amazing!!!! I'm so glad you got it figured out and didn't have to take the 364 level test.'s probably a good thing you didn't pursue a criminal justice degree :)

    1. Probably best for all of us as a whole. The streets are safer without me patrolling. :-)

  7. You are a crime savant. That HAS to be worthy of pay, somehow.