GLYNN WASHINGTON, HOST:
OK, so I start college, and I don't have a major. They're steady talking about what you want to do with your life? I have not a clue, but I like video games - you know, playing Pac-Man with my friends and such. So when the clipboard lady asks me if I enjoy computers, I say yeah, the kind that you can play. So she writes it down - computer science major. Well, you're going to need a rigorous mathematical background in order to get into the higher-level courses. She prints out my course schedule - analytic geometry II, elementary probability, differential equations. And yes, I know that I have the math aptitude of a turnip. I'm that self-aware, but I think maybe just being in the classes with these people, maybe something will finally click into place.
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WASHINGTON: My first days are bewildering. Everyone speaks a language I do not understand, so I wait for the fog to clear. I go to class, I nod, write things down in my little notebook, go to class, I nod, right things down in my little notebook. I power through, I listen. I open myself up to the instructions they are trying to impart. I'm optimistic, and I know it's just about to happen, just about to make sense. On my calendar, I can see it - several exams all scheduled for the same day. Whatever's going to happen has to happen before that fateful hour, something - a change, an aha moment, something, anything. And even on exam day, brushing my teeth, eating my cereal, walking toward my probability class, I expect this change to occur. And when the professor hands the exam to me and I see that it's written in an alien language, for maybe the first time I understand that whatever the clipboard lady thinks, video games are not in my future. Today on SNAP JUDGMENT, from PRX and NPR, we proudly present "Caught Up" - amazing stories from real people trying to go with the flow. My name is Glynn Washington. Please remember not to paddle upstream because you're listening to SNAP JUDGMENT.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.