A tale of two universities

Two completely identical student’s experiences with Mt. St. A (What? I'm not colour blind?)

Here I was thinking middle school would be the last time I was the only POC person in a room full of white people. Boy, was I wrong. Go to Mt. St. A, they said. You’ll be fine, they said. WRONG. My first meal at Junkings Dining Hall should’ve been enough warning. Labels that read “bibimbap,” “kimchi” and “curry” made my heart sing…until I looked at the white rice, cabbage and what could only be referred to as sandpaper they plopped on my plate. Not only did it make my stomach churn, but when I went back home for the holidays I began to find black pepper spicy. I know, embarrassing is an understatement. In the winter I started carrying a bottle of chili oil in my hoodie pocket to douse on the stir fry instead of the seemingly 100 percent corn syrup sauces they offer. You might get some weird looks, but anything is better than permanently adopting a white person level spice tolerance.

As a self identifying cis white man, the good old Mount Aryan was the easiest school to get into. Mt. St. A gave students the option of submitting a record of their blood lineage instead of their high school transcript. Being only a couple generations removed from good old potato farmers in New Brunswick got me into the totally diverse computer-science program. I was so surprised by all the things I have in common with my math and comp-sci professors, from being the same race, to being the same gender—it’s uncanny. If I was thirty years older, with depression, and a dead sense of humor, I’d practically be my professors. 

Then, I went to class. In my first year it was fine. At least there was some comradery and I wasn’t the only one keeping the professors in check. The longer I stayed, however, the more the professors would call my name. The university should’ve paid me a salary with all the political conflicts they had me explain. “Wow! Your English is so good,” they would say, after making me give a 15 minute lecture on [insert political conflict here]. I was born in Ontario. Ontario, Canada. Time and time again, I was called on to be the authority on slur discourse, or whether people could dress up as other races. Just call me the woke police, I guess! 

Junkings is so amazing, almost every meal has fries, and I’ve only gotten food poisoning once! The worst part though, the food is too spicy. They put black pepper on nearly everything. And the salt just set my tongue on fire. It’s ok though because they have a milk machine, so I just make sure to drink a lot of milk whenever I eat spicy meals. Like white bread with butter.

Finding roommates is hard too. This may be shocking, but I hadn’t lived with a white person until university (gasp). It starts with vaguely insensitive questions about the food you eat. Then, they get a little too comfortable and start cracking jokes that they really shouldn’t be making. And if you try to push back, or instate a microaggression jar (it’s a joke, I swear!), you’re hit with a million “But I’m not racist!” 

I just found a place for next year with four friends. We set up a cooking rotation where every night someone has too cook for the entire house. So far the meals are: chicken with boiled veggies, chicken with boiled rice, and ketchup with boiled chicken. All unseasoned of course. Sundays are football nights where we buy the mild chicken wings and see if anyone can finish one without having to drink yogurt.

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