Oh God, Where’s the Exit?
Reading Time: 3 minutes
Whole Foods glistens in the distance. The city is alive. A middle-aged white lady jogs with her pet dog.
“Yes,” a freshman thinks, standing in front of the massive 10-story-tall building. “This must be the home of the fabled Stuyvesant High School.”
With a pull—no, it says push (why is everyone illiterate after Zoom school)—of the heavy entrance door, they enter the building. They panic, realizing that they don’t have a student ID, and crumble in shame as they watch the upperclassmen with IDs scan their own cards in superiority. Now everyone will know that this space houses a noob, an amateur, a mere child. Not the confident student they wanted to be.
At least the worst is over. They breathe a sigh of relief. Now to get to room 1006 because the programming department had a personal vendetta against them and granted them Art App first period to smite them like a Greek god. It’s on the 10th floor—straightforward enough. They ascend with very loud, slapping footsteps because it’s been a while, and everyone’s calves are built like cooked ramen noodles. They almost sob at the sight of an escalator. Could Stuy really be this… amazing?
Oh whoops, never mind. They have no idea how to get to their first-period class that is so conveniently located on the highest floor.
They walk in circles thrice, passing by flocks of students who likely possess better navigational skills. Not wanting to be that clueless kid asking for help, but also not wanting to be late to class, they panic. Beads of sweat accumulate on their forehead as they plan their next move.
The answer shines in their mind like a glowing sign from the universe. Of course! Just give up your pride and ask for help! Look, hallelujah! Someone who looks older than me!
“Excuse me, uh, where’s room 1006?”
In classic horror movie fashion, the student in question turns around slowly. It feels like a reflection, really, because she’s also sweating, panicked, and hosting that familiar glow of confusion in her eyes.
“YOUNG ONE, I CAN’T HELP YOU. I HAVEN’T BEEN HERE ALL YEAR. I’M LOST TOO.”
Chaos. Panic. Fear. Whatever a parent feels when they see Reddit in their child’s search history. Both students crumble. The clock ticks closer to the start bell every second.
“I thought you were older and experienced or something. I’m so sorry.”
“I AM. I’M A SOPHOMORE. I ASSUME YOU’RE A FRESHMAN.”
And together they weep. These 10 floors are so overwhelming. Funnily enough, this is the closest thing to socialization that either had gotten in a very long time.
“Could we ask a junior?” the freshman cries in anguish.
The sophomore desperately nods. “GREAT IDEA.”
“ALAS,” the freshman falls to their knees. “YOU HAVE CANYON DEEP EYEBAGS AND THE AURA OF BEING GENERALLY DISSATISFIED WITH LIFE. You must be a junior!”
“Why… why is that accurate?” the junior whispers to himself.
“Do you know where the art room is?”
The junior turns to face them, his eyes glassy just like everyone else. “What…? Sorry… I don’t know…”
“Aren’t you ancient and all-knowing though?” The sophomore continues. “Please help.”
“I’ve… only been… in the school… for half a year… I’m also… lost…” he mumbles slowly.
“Oh God, is this what teachers feel like when no one did the homework? What do we do?”
After what seems like forever, a Big Sib comes up to the trio. “Hey! Are you lost? I can help you. What room are you looking for?”
They all brighten up, slightly.
“THE FRESHIE HERE NEEDS TO GET TO ROOM 1006. WE WANTED TO HELP, BUT WE ALSO DON’T KNOW WHERE IT IS,” the sophomore explains.
“That room! Right! I can take you th—wait. Where is room 1006? Do I know where it is? I only know it’s on the tenth floor...” the Big Sib mutters to themself.
“So… can you help or not…”
“Ah, well, I- I’m sorry, I have to go somewhere real quick. Bye!” The Big Sib quickly runs away without looking back.