With the start of a new quarter comes the excitement of new classes and a new schedule. And new TAs. While my friends are frantically researching classes that both fill their requirements and leave Friday open, I’m zoning out at my desk dreaming (and praying) about a tall, handsome, smart, romantic, witty discussion leader.
One that I’ve never, ever had the pleasure of having.
I have, however, encountered a creepy TA that just would not go away, which seems to be more the norm than the exception. Here is my story:
I was a cute and innocent little freshman when this all went down. The grad student, let’s call him Jeff, was TA-ing for one of my history classes winter quarter. I’m a history major and have a natural love of history and hearing my own voice, so I was basically the ONLY person that ever said anything in section. But I always felt creeped out when Jeff looked at me. Especially those few times I wasn’t saying anything at all. I could see in his face that he wasn’t looking at me as the brilliant history mind that I (thought I) was; it was obvious he was thinking things a little – ew – naughtier. Being young and naive, I brushed it off and pulled an A in the class. Probably much easier than I should have.
The very next quarter – lucky me! – he was my section leader again. Awesome. The quarter went by pretty much the same as the one before it. And again, I pulled a very easy A.
That’s me screaming in shock and horror as I opened a Facebook email from Jeff the next fall. Yes, 3 months later. He had friend requested me and I couldn’t really say no – I mean, what if I needed a letter of recommendation in the future!? The email was short. A little hello, a little “how’s school?” and a lot of “let’s get a cup of coffee and catch up soon.” I played it off well; “I’m too busy, blah blah blah, random niceties…” I clicked send and hoped that was the end of it; I was very clearly giving this guy the brush off.
But then I would see him at the rec center (la la la, Britney on the iPod, la la la, OH SH*T, hide hide hide!!), biking on campus (riding, riding, ahhh!, swerve, look busy, don’t attract attention to yourself!), while walking into class (dive belly-down into row of seats), and pretty much everywhere in between. I did a pretty good job of dodging him – he never approached or reached out again.
Or so I thought.
Earlier this quarter Jeff emailed me again. Rather than respond nicely, I finally just blocked that creeper. Of course, the next day, as I’m trying to get in and out of the history office super fast to avoid any potential run-in, I leap into the elevator and who follows me in? JEFF!
I was stuck. I smiled at him because I thought he knew exactly who I was and it was inevitable that I was going to have to make small talk with him. But no. He said hello to me, entered the elevator, and began chatting with another woman (presumably another TA). Did he know exactly who I was? Did my new haircut and 7lb weight gain throw him off? Whatever it was, I held my breath that whole elevator ride and then RAN out of it when it got to my floor.
That was the last time I saw Jeff. For now, at least. Who knows when that creeper will show up outside my window with a boom box over his head? Luckily the whole thing is over, but the entire situation just sort of creeped me out. There’s not much for me to do in a situation like this. I guess I could complain to the department head, but Jeff didn’t technically do anything wrong. The guy was just creepy. At the same time, though, the whole TA/student relationship is a weird one. We’re not that far apart in age, meaning that it would be totally acceptable for someone like Jeff to pursue someone like me in any other situation. And equally acceptable for me to give him a very stern “Leave me alone, dude!” when I wasn’t interested. But the fact that Jeff controlled my GPA (and my future) left me without much control and got this whole thing started in the first place.
So much for my hot TA fantasy.
Maybe next semester?
So, has anyone else been put in this oh-so-awkward position?
Any happy endings to TA stories?