BERKELEY, Calif.— The semester started like every other: I swear that I’ll go to lecture. I miss my bus that was seven minutes late. I curse fate for inhibiting learning that I truly value and show up for. I pull up CalCentral 10 minutes before class to make sure all my classes are in Dwinelle like usual. That is, until I see it: Rhetoric-103B, Barker 101. 

Where the hell is Barker? And what likely racist idiot who gave twenty dollars to the University in the 1800s has the last name of “Barker”? Are we just naming buildings after any soil microbiologist now? I’ve seen dirt once. Names aside, how the hell do I, a Rhetoric student, survive after being sent to the ass crack of campus surrounded by people who actually know what made-up words like “photosynthesis” mean? 

When I eventually go looking for it, I’m breathtaken by the beauty of Li Ka Shing and its neighboring grassy courtyard. Surely, Barker must be just as nice. I walk past what I assume to be a storage facility until I hit the street. Only then do I realize that the decaying dust stack I have passed is in fact Barker Hall.

After I took my seat, the boobytraps didn’t make it any better. Not only is it up to chance to find a chair that is structurally sound, but every lecture feels like you’ve been transported back to 2012. Whereas most classroom desks may have silly figures sketched into them or various one-liners, the lap desks in Barker 101 have complete Platonic dialogues between either third graders from a field trip or fourth year astrophysics majors. For example, the following conversation was on my desk today: 

Person 1: “Tag yourself, i’m the endoplasmic reticulum”

Person 2: “Thog don’t caare” 

Person 1 (3?): HAGS

Truly terrifying. Where the fuck am I. Where the fuck is Barker. 

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