How I Survived Graduate School

It has been brought to my attention that I never really wrote about my last semester of Grad School and everything that transpired to make it one of the craziest series of moments in my life.  Most were more terrible than wonderful but in the end whatever doesn’t kill us makes us stronger, right?  Let’s try to start with the good though first.  Then we’ll get to the guy that put a gun to my head…When I returned once again to San Francisco, I had mixed feelings about being back.  I had been home for two straight semesters and completed six classes online between them.  I guess the reasons I was trying to convince myself for having to go back were because it was my LAST semester and I had a thesis project to present and I wanted to try to do a lot more acting.  I even had a friend take some head shots of me the previous autumn.

I certainly had a very convenient albeit insane schedule my last semester.  I had all my classes (four of them) in one day, in the same building which so happened to be located across the street from where I was living.  So I never had to worry too much about being late, keeping track of bus schedules and hope they were on time, or having to carry heavy equipment great distances.  I would generally arrive to school at around 11:30 in the morning and get out at around 10:00 at night.  It was physically and mentally exhausting but at least when it was all over I always had six-day weekends to do homework, side projects, and anything else that really tickled my fancy.

I had met one of my roommate’s friends who was taking a makeup class and I was her favorite guinea pig.  She transformed me into lots of different and scary things.  Frankly, I’m surprised I was able to sit in a chair for that long, especially while someone was poking my face constantly.  One thing was for sure though, I looked damn scary!  

Now the bad… of course it has to be about certain roommates, right?  Well this wasn’t only bad, it was life-threatening.  I’m not going to reveal anything about them such as names or origins or anything so don’t ask!  I did have certain roommates that were too willing to mix certain prescription drugs with alcohol or just alcohol with so much more alcohol that it spiraled him into manic depression and constantly talking about suicide.  It got so bad with that one that whenever he came home drunk (which was pretty much every night) we had to hide all the sculpting tools and sharp kitchen utensils in the apartment.

Then there was the guy who put the gun to my head.  This particular roommate mixed things you should never mix together and on the night of March 1, 2011, completely flipped his lid.  The night started with me trying to take care of him and wait out the effects of whatever he took but as the night went on, he was getting worse, not better.  I tried getting him to eat, drink water, sweat it off, or puke/pass out… nothing.  So I called the RA (Resident Advisor) on duty to see if there was anything he could do.  We both stayed with him another hour and still nothing.  Then his girlfriend showed up and now all three of us were trying to contain him.  At this point, I had been taking care of him for over three hours.  I was exhausted, pissed off, and hating life in general at this point.  I’ve never done a single drug in my life and I barely drink so this is just shit that I’m not used to nor am I in the mood to get used to it.

At the moment that the RA had pulled me aside leaving my roommate’s girlfriend with him saying that there was nothing more that he could do and just to keep doing what I’ve been doing and wait it out… we suddenly hear a loud CRASH!  We turn and see his girlfriend on the floor, crying, and with her head bleeding profusely.  This happened right outside our door and the impact woke another roommate who came down to open the door.  When he did, the drugged-up roommate raced inside to his room, opened a drawer and pulled out a gun as I chased after him and pointed it about two inches from my head.

This would be the longest three seconds of my life…

The RA didn’t know what was going on b/c he was tending to this guy’s girlfriend who was still on the floor crying with a cracked skull.  I knew I had to do something and then instincts must’ve kicked in.  I don’t really fully remember what happend next but all I know is that the gun had gone from his hands to mine.  I left this guy on the floor crying and pulling out his hair as I walked out of the room carrying the gun by the butt like a dead rat.  I looked at the RA and said, “Here.  Handle this.” and dropped placed the gun on the floor.

NOW is when the RA decides to do something.  In fact, he pulled out everything but the kitchen sink.  He called Campus Security, the police, the resident director, and all the other RA’s that lived in the building.  The poor girl refused to press charges on him, I wrote statements to both police and campus security and then they escorted this guy out of the building.  He WAS NOT arrested.  Turns out the gun wasn’t loaded…

As they were moving him to a “secure location” by campus security, I went up to the Resident Director and demanded to be moved immediately.  He refused and assured me that he wouldn’t return to the room.  He wasn’t understanding me very well… “Move me… NOW!” I demanded.  Nothing…  At this point, it’s now about 4:30 in the morning.  I had been with him since 10:00 PM.  His best friend decides to come into our room and tells me I’m a moron for calling the RA and that I just didn’t know how to handle him, etc.  “Fuck you!  Get out of here!”  I said to him.  His best friend leaves.  I think at around 5:30 in the morning, I’m able to get into bed and at least begin to try to fall asleep and then suddenly I hear SLAM from downstairs… he came back.  He calls his girlfriend and calls her a “C U Next Tuesday” along with God knows what else and then I hear him coming up the stairs.  He goes up and talks to me as if nothing had happened, as if he had forgotten everything, and he seemed completely sober now.  I said two words to him, he went back downstairs and passed out.

He was not expelled, but he was then given 72 hours to vacate campus housing without a refund and never allowed to return.

Oh, and I eventually graduated and got my Masters Degree…

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