Diary of a Teen Prodigy: The College Life - Taming the Golden Boys: Volume 3 (Chapter 1, page 1 of 1)

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Chapter 1

Cambridge, Massachusetts
One would think that after living 15 years as a virtual loner that the transition back to a loner after having spent less than a year’s time with a group of people as friends and family would be a piece of cake. Gotta tell you how surprised I was when I suddenly found myself lost, confused and alone on the big wide-open campus of MIT my first year.
Here’s one of my fav stats about MIT: (I am so a geek); out of 16,632 freshman applications submitted; a mere 1,676 applicants were accepted. Yea, that’s some stiff competition and challenge; made me feel a little giddy that I passed the challenge especially for a 16- year old. Which also brings me to the down side of being 16 years old living in the world of young adults; it gets even lonelier at the top.
The things about going to a Tech school like MIT that separated it from regular universities, were their perpetual fondness for all things acronym and all things statistical factual; meaning they liked to KISS (keep it simple stupid) and they liked to dabble with numbers and wordplay. Everything from the buildings to the classes and more were labeled with acronyms and/or numbers. I spent a great deal of my day the first two weeks like all of the other newbie freshmen deciphering through massive piles of letters and numbers hacking out a daily routine in a sea of chaos that was made up of classes, housing and everyday living here at the university. I mean literally with a map that had strategically placed letters and numbers representing each building and dorm and its placement in relation to others. They even had a wiki page on the Internet devoted to the decoding of the acronyms here.
One thing I can say about my first year at MIT was that I definitely hit the ground running with my eyes wide shut. It felt like kindergarten all over again. I was a four-year old who had been taken out of the warm, cozy, and safe environment of a close-knit, loving, caring and warm family environment and pushed from behind to a new, unfamiliar and much larger world than I had been used to and even less prepared for. I felt like a lab rat unleashed in the barrios of the city. I might be part genius with a photographic memory; but I soon learned that genius + photographic memory = 0 when it came to the world of practicum experience. You have probably become accustomed to me saying ‘I’m Nevada Tate; I bore easy; I like a good challenge.’ My classes: Physics I: Mechanics, Multivariable Calculus, Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs, American Science: Ethical Conflicts and Political Choices; I’ll say that was plenty of challenge to start with.
Yea so after I had memorized all my key routes to my classes, study sessions, eat houses, etc., I then focused on memorizing the theory parts of my books. Yea, I know you’re saying cool, dang wish I could do that; it would make studying a breeze, right? Yea it would make studying a breeze that is if you were attending a ‘regular’ college. But MIT wasn’t a regular college and day one went something like this.
MIT is more of a hands-on university. It encourages independent thinking, challenging conventional ways of thinking and doing things, creativity and ways to improve and enhance the environment that one lives in. Everybody has to be working on enhancing or developing a new product; ideology or theory to add to the betterment of society. I got the impression MIT exist solely for the purpose of challenging the minds of the people who worked and lived within the MIT culture.
One thing that can be said is that it’s never a dull moment around here. Of course I’m too busy trying to keep my head above water that I haven’t had time to notice or think about Zai or Chicago or anything. The first order of business was to set up my personal webpage/ blog on the MIT server. I sat hunched over the computer in the lab slowly working my way into building a simplified blog that would keep my friends and family posted on my life away from home while also instilling in me basic computer literacy, html coding and web design. I was a little surprised, but it was part of the curriculum and culture of the school offering us a chance to keep track and share our life experiences at MIT and also to communicate and brainstorm over our projects and developments in our academic career. It also gave us a chance to network and showcase our programs, products and theories with leading companies, industries and potential financial investors.
Literally as a freshman coming in it was required of us to think about an existing technology and to develop a new product that would improve or enhance or make the older technology obsolete. I was amazed at how many students were already working on and developing new products and theories of improvements.
“Hey Newbie,” I heard a voice say as I was about to pull my hair out in frustration as I was attempting to put a table of contents inside my page. Reluctantly I looked up and I saw again that smexy smile on Cody’s familiar face.
“Cody,” I smiled and he was sitting beside me before I had a chance to offer.
“Nevada, see you’re working on your website… Need some help?” He asked. I think he noticed the dead spots on my table that were supposed to be cells. I gave him a cheesy smile as I moved over making room for him.
He started typing those html codes faster than I knew possible. Where I had been struggling; Cody expertly typed the necessary codes filling that once emptied page with all sorts of text and symbols. Before long he said,
“There that should fix those dead spots,” as he clicked the save button and just like that my website was up and running.
“Wow, you do have some skills.” I said admiring his handy work. He gave me that smile and then said,
“Don’t worry I left plenty for you to do. This will get you started.” He then reached over tousling my short crop of hair.
“I guess that should be worth at least one free lunch.” He smoothly said inviting himself to a free meal with me. I was surprised hearing him asking me out in such a backhanded way, but I was also happy as I had found my first friend at MIT.
“Are you participating in IAP?” Cody asked me as we sat in the café having a late lunch.
“Independent Activity Participation? I haven’t had a chance to really see what’s offered.” I said.
“Wow I’m impressed,” he laughed lightly and his dimples creased in his cheeks making me smile. “Usually newbies don’t remember the acronyms that fast.”
This time it was me who laughed as I said, “Blame it on my genes. I have a photographic memory.”
“Ooh, now I’m even more interested. You should do well here.” He said as he took a bite of his scone.
“Don’t be. I’m finding out that a photographic memory doesn’t necessary equate to success here. There’s a lot to be said for practical and clinical experiences. Didn’t you just rescue me from screwing up my webpage?”
“Oh yea.” He and I thought he was so adorable in that moment.
“Anyway plan on participating; it’s a quick and fun way to learn about life on campus here and the available resources. It’s also the shortcut in meeting new friends. Why don’t I pick you up and escort you around?” He said recovering from being put on the spot in real sly and cool-like manner. I immediately liked him.
“Wow, you’re really good at that.” I said and I felt like we both felt a little spark between us.
Life at Northwestern in Evanston was almost like life at Central High; except it was bigger. It almost didn’t feel like we were away at college considering we were attending a university in our home state and all of us golden boys were here together with practically the same schedules. It was pretty much life as usual.
I still couldn’t reach Nevada or hadn’t heard from her in over five weeks. On the weekends I had been driving back to our hometown, but to no avail. Daisy either was never home or she didn’t answer the door or the phone; there was no way of contacting her. Finally I had Jeda to call Rain.
“What did she say?” I asked him as we sat in our dorm room. We all had decided that even though we lived in Chicago; our university experience would be much improved by living on campus. We had put in to be roommates and had gotten lucky to be assigned to the same room. It was different from having your own place and space but we liked it considering we had spent the better part of growing up in one or the other’s place of residence a great deal of our time. Other than being cramp and no one to pick up and clean up behind us it was business as usual.
“She hasn’t heard from Nevada and she can’t reach Daisy either.” Jeda said as he sat at the desk working on a school paper.
“Penelope? Does she have a number or an address?” Luis asked hopefully. Seriously we all looked at him and rolled our eyes.
“I told you before; she said it never occurred to her that she would need her address or number cuz Nevada was always here.”
“I’m going to the library,” Luis stated as he got up hastily throwing some books in a ruck sack and leaving. As he exited Moui walked in. He crashed on his bed.
“Seriously, I hate calculus.”
“Tell us something we don’t know.” I said as I threw my pillow at him.
“Dude I know we’re doing rush tonight right?”
What can I say; if you’ve been to one high school party you’ve been to any college rush party. The rush party was nothing more than a glorified high school party + alcohol. We were pledging Sigma Chi Fraternity but hey a party was a party and a great excuse for getting shitfaced and wasted.
Maybe I had gone to one too many parties or maybe it was just hard to focus considering no one would tell me anything about Penelope. I couldn’t blame them and I stopped forcing the issue; after all I had been a real prick to her and pretty clear with my intentions about her. As much as I hated to admit it; Zai was right. If she had moved on and sorted out her feelings for me I should just let everything be and respect her decision. So why was I excited when my Iphone started ?
“Hello? Yea Mickie did you get anything?” I asked the private eye that I had hired after nothing turned up with Rain. I don’t know what I intended to do, but not knowing and not doing anything was slowly killing me.
“You’ve got a number and address? Cool text it to me now.” I told him as I rushed out of the party and headed back to the dorm room for some privacy.
Entering the room I was surprised when,
“What the ? Ah excuse me…” I said as I turned my back. Moui was in the room with a chick.
“Luis?” The voice sounded familiar and I turned my head back and was surprised to see,
“Vanilla? Sup girlie what are you doing here?” She was half wearing her underwear as Moui had them mostly off with his face buried in her tits. I guess he saw me staring harder than I should have been and he reached for the sheet at the foot of the bed and covered them.
“I thought I would surprise Moui, you know the weekend.” She was as bubbly as ever.
“Ah, okay. Well I’ll leave you two alone then.” I said as I waved backing out of the room. Now that was surprising. I thought the two of them were just having sex. Maybe all of us golden boys were beginning to look for something more than just sex. Oh God could we be ‘settling down’ already? Shit we weren’t even 21 yet; growing up was happening way too fast for us.
Outside I leaned against the wall trying to figure out where I could go for some privacy.
“Ah,” I said to myself as I spied the stairwell across the corridor from me. Entering the stairwell I decided to walk up. I figured the top level should be relatively safe and quiet. I doubted that anyone would be willing to walk up fourteen flights of stairs; not even for a piece of ass.
“Hello?” I heard her voice on the other end of the phone as I made myself comfortable sitting on the top step. I couldn’t breathe. Dead air filled the airways between us as she waited for a response.
Suddenly it occurred to me that this was the very first time that I had called her. Damn I was a jerk. “Penelope,” I said but I hesitate because I couldn’t think of anything else to say.
“Who is this?” She asked and I hate to admit my feelings were a little hurt that she failed to recognize my voice; but then again I had never since meeting and knowing her ever picked up the phone and called her not even once. Why would she know my voice?
“It’s me-- Luis,” I stumbled out and I felt the pause in her voice as we had at least fifteen seconds of more dead air time.
“Hello?” I said making sure she hadn’t hung up on me. I wouldn’t blame her. I had jerked her around all this time; damn I’m such a idiot.
“I’m still here.” She said followed by another long pause. “I’m just shock. How’s school?” She asked. I figured she was trying to keep it light; you know no pressure. Guess she was afraid of spooking me or maybe she was just playing it cool. Damn I hope she wasn’t already over me; that would just suck like hell.
“It’s okay, what about you; anything wrong?” I asked when what I really wanted to say was ‘I miss you like ’. The question was followed by an extended pause before she said,
“Not really, why have you heard something?” This is crazy I thought. How could our relationship have become worse than strangers? Ah, that was my fault too, so I had to fix it.
“Look, something’s going on with you only no one will tell me. Now are you going to tell me or do I have to hop a plane and come find you?” I asserted surprising myself. I was surprised not that I had said it, but more because I meant it.
“Why would you do that Luis? We no longer have anything to do with each other?” Her words cut me like a knife and it felt like she had just -slapped me.
“Penelope, seriously don’t make me come to Maryland. I swear I’ll leave school. So tell me what’s going on?” I couldn’t believe how manic I was. Seriously talking to her made me realize how much I was missing her and what a big fool I had been all along.
“Luis, you don’t have to do that. I’m fine, everything is fine okay?” I could hear the smile in her voice and suddenly my eyes were wet with tears. I nearly choked on the pain of rejection. I had always been the one rejecting others before they had a chance to reject me. This was my first time ever receiving rejection. It hurt much worse than I could have ever imagined. I felt small; insignificant. For a brief moment all of those countless girls’ faces flashed before my eyes. Suddenly I felt the need to apologize; if for no other reason than for my cruelness. Too bad I couldn’t remember what any of them looked like.
“Penelope, please… Please don’t shut me out like this.” I felt like I was losing a very big part of me again. It felt like my mother abandoning me all over again. Suddenly I was eight years old again.
“Luis, study hard and concentrate on school. I’m okay and there is nothing for you to worry about. I’m happy and was very glad to have had the pleasure of meeting you. Take care of yourself, okay? I’ve got to go now.”
I sat there in the stairwell for at least another hour maybe two. Penelope had given me everything I had asked for; she didn’t cling to me and she seemed like she had moved on. Okay, then I should rest easy; I could let go of those nagging feelings. I heard it from her own mouth that she was okay and nothing was wrong. I would do as she said, study hard and concentrate on school. I would let her go just like I wanted.

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