It happens at least once a week, though it’s been increasingly more common in my current sleep-deprived, midterms-induced frenzy. I’m walking to Hamilton for my LitHum class or enjoying the sun with the rest of the Columbia student body on Low Steps or in JJs at 3 am and full of regret. Whatever it is, when I’m not entirely paying attention, I catch someone out of the corner of my eye and everything stops. Because I am convinced I have just seen someone I went to high school with and that’s quite possibly the worst thing that could happen to any college student.
This isn’t super weird for some people, given that they went to school from some of their fellow classmates which might not always be ideal. Still, at least if you know that you might run into them and can prepare for the possibility. No one from my hometown is here so whenever I think I see the girl from my 9th grade biology class who asked if rocks were alive or my old calc teacher on College Walk, I’m not prepared in the slightest and I immediately begin to freak out, wondering how they got here from literally hundreds of miles away. And once I remind myself that’s it perfectly normal for people to come visit New York City on vacation, I start wondering why they’re on Columbia’s campus at 9:30 in the morning. I don’t even want to be on Columbia’s campus at 9:30 in the morning, and I live here.
Usually, by then I realize it’s just someone who looks similar but I’ve already lived through ever shitty high school memory all over again. Maybe, someday, I’ll move past this but until then I’m stuck trying to avoid doppelgangers of all the people I despised for four years of my life. Or, I’ll be right one of these times, I’ll actually know them and it’ll be incredibly awkward. Only time can tell.