The sidewalks were full of students heading to the football game. Mia though walked against the tide and headed to the library. She had never had time for the social norms of high school, for football games and dances. Her days had been filled with working at the local Dairy Queen and her nights with studying. She spent her high school years dreaming, planning and saving so she could attend this college, so she could escape her hometown. Her sole focus as a teenager was the future.
Mia had hoped that she would have time for all that fun when she finally got to college. She had dreamed of football games with roommates, parties at off campus houses, and late night food runs. But here she was heading to the library, not because she didn’t have time to go to the game but because she felt out of place there. She did not know how to joke easily and was not comfortable in the unknown flow of a group. The library though was her refuge.
She found her usual desk at the back of the 4th floor, the desk where the power supplies all worked and the stacks near her were rarely visited. It was usually quiet up here. Today she had the area to herself She plugged in her laptop, put in her ear buds and got to work.
This semester was going to be tough. She had started college with enough credits to be a sophomore; thankful for the Advanced Placement classes her small rural school was able to offer her. Mia now in her third year was in the heart of her core classes, the classes the professors used to weed out the accountants from the students. There were certainly easier business degrees but Mia wanted that CPA title. She wanted those initials after her name on her business cards. She pictured herself in smart business suits carrying a leather case. She dreamed of flying off on business trips and meeting colleagues for drinks after work. She wanted to belong to that club. The club that offered job security and known rules to follow.
Mia worked in the library until the room began to darken with the sunset. The overhead lights becoming brighter in contrast. The football game was sure to be over now. She hoped for a win. She enjoyed the euphoria on campus after the football team won. She liked feeling part of something bigger than herself and her studies, even though she did not watch any of the game. Not to mention the fact that she earned bigger tips when the team won. The restaurant filled with alumni after a win. After a loss she was left with a bunch of frat boys yelling about horrible officiating and incapable of figuring out how to tip.
Packing her bag she looked out the window. Students were milling away from the quad, slowly heading off toward their dorm rooms and off campus housing. No big celebration seemed to be happening. With the warm air hanging on into the night and the loss of the game, it was going to be a long night.