It was the beginning of sophomore year. I was no longer a wide-eyed freshman, and was really ready to make the year count. I had recently picked up a Management minor, something I foolishly thought would get me a leg up in the real world. Happy with my decision and excited to start taking business classes, I walked into the first day of class ready to apply myself to the best of my abilities. I sat in the third row of the medium-sized lecture hall — not too close, not far, ready to participate.
The professor was a stylish 47-year-old man with leathery tan skin and the physique of a poor man’s Lance Armstrong. He was a man’s man. He had started his own business, sold it, retired, and was now teaching part-time.
As he started talking, I became more and more confused. I had heard that business classes were supposed to be easy, and this class sounded as if it definitely was not. The syllabus was open, and as I went through it I didn’t understand many of the terms being thrown at me. My original excitement was out the door. I had hit the beginning of the semester wall, and was already tired and ready to leave.
Class droned on and we were already taking notes about management systems and best practices. I lost focus for a few moments and snapped back in as students started to pack up their belongings and shuffle out of the room.
This class was going to suck, but I thought it was probably still a good choice to power through and get that Management minor. Classic naïve sophomore move.
Because I’m an idiot, I took a moment to go introduce myself to the professor. If I was going to make it through this class, I figured I was going to need him to not hate me. So I walked up to the podium, stuck my hand out and introduced myself, his shockingly large hand clasped around mine as we began to chat. I asked him about the textbook, asked him about another class, and then we proceeded to chat mindlessly. I slowly realized something was very, very wrong.
It had been over a minute and his hand was still clasped around mine.
I tried to let go, but it was as if he was a child holding onto his blankey. He was kung-fu gripping me, and I had no power at all. The handshake of death continued on and on, and he knew exactly what he was doing. At some point, he let me go and acted completely normal. We both knew exactly what had just happened, though. He wished me well, and I awkwardly walked out of the room.
He had just displayed total power over me, and there was nothing I could do about it. I don’t know why he did it, I don’t know if it was a sign, but there was no way I could go back into that class after being totally dominated in such a succinct fashion. I had just been physically and mentally beaten in a contest I didn’t know existed until after it was over.
I ended up dropping the class. I never learned anything about management, but I certainly learned a lot about life..
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