“Come on over to the house,” he said. “It’ll be fun!” he said.

What do Political Science-law-school-aspiring white boys and PrezBo have in common? They all gather in 501 Schermerhorn at 4:10 pm every Monday and Wednesday for two hours.

Yes, I took the PrezBo class. Do I regret it? Absolutely not. Love the man or hate him, he’s an oddly self-aware lecturer and really fucking funny. As a Political Science student, it was the last chance to take the class anyway, and now I get a letter of recommendation (what for, I don’t know). The TAs tell you exactly what you need to know for exams, PrezBo rambles on about the marketplace of ideas and Learned Hand, and if you get cold-called, you get to experience two hours of unending dread. That’s it! Oh, and the midterm was the most horrifying exam I’ve ever taken.

However, one of the main reasons I took the class was because of a mysterious prize at the end of the semester— going to the PrezBo mansion. I had read the CULPA reviews that said he invited students to a dinner at the mansion at the end of the semester, but I hadn’t heard anything about it until two weeks ago, when PrezBo casually said, “And we’re gonna have you all over to the house. And then you’re gonna take the final.” He truly could not have said it in a more casual tone, as if “the house” was a little cottage or something. It is not.

This past Wednesday, after PrezBo disappeared into the tunnels after class, we walked out of Schermerhorn, trudged under the Law Bridge and followed the TAs like little ducks in a row. This was truly only the second time in my life that I, a Barnard student, had gone past the Law School (I have been to Wien once for a classical musical performance). Everything from that point onward was one of the most awkward experiences of my life.

First, we stood outside “the house” like kids asking for Halloween candy. When we were finally let in, the place was completely empty, like a rental house on display with three pieces of furniture. People started running up the grand staircase in the foyer, which led to yet another level of empty rooms. Truly, only four things stood out to me: first, the man owns a John Singer Sargent painting and casually displays it in his living room. Second, there was a piano. Third, there was a book about Harlem (ironic, isn’t it). Fourth, he had a cookie table and apple cider for his little undergrad students. Was I expecting a four-course meal at a long, exquisite dining room table? Yes. Did I eat this man out of house and home? Yes, I had five cookies. Did I also steal two mugs in the pockets of my huge coat? Yes.

John Singer Sargent.
Tired Prezbo.
Listening Prezbo.
The mansion.

So what actually happened? The whole class stood around in our silly little business casual outfits, waited for PrezBo to appear, then swarmed him as soon as he stepped out of his elevator. Yes, he has an elevator. This man did not get three feet into his own home before at least 100 people took photos of him. My goal was to get a 0.5 photo of him directly in front of me, which I unfortunately did not get. However, I will now bless you with an image of a small Prezbo with a 0.5 lens.

Small Prezbo.

What happened next? We just stood. For two hours. And drank apple cider. And watched some people play the piano. I did however bond with a GS student who told me about the attempted impeachment of the GS student council president. So much drama that I’ve never been invested in before now, but there was nothing else to do. So we talked about this random impeachment.

Something about that house just makes me lose my mind. It’s so clearly for entertaining purposes only, and PrezBo’s gotta have the top floors to himself and Jean. I felt like a little mouse in a gilded cage being observed by his security guard (who apparently eats French fries once every six months).

I left in a daze, similar to my daze after the midterm. What was in that cider? This class had been my entire personality for the past semester and then it was over, just like that. However, I’m so glad I don’t have to live in fear of being cold-called anymore. 

PrezBo, if you’re reading this, I’m sorry I didn’t show up the second time you cold-called me, I had no voice and sounded like a demon. Also it’s terrifying. Also your house needs more decorations. Think maximalism next time.

Stolen mug.

Editor’s Note: I have been informed that PrezBo does not, in fact, own the John Singer Sargent. Can I use the excuse that I go to Barnard and our measly $460.4 million endowment could never afford such a thing?

All images via Author