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With the end of the semester concluding on Wednesday, I thought it was time to take a look back at all eight full-time semesters I took at Berkeley City and Laney College. Who were my best friends? Who were the "one semester wonders"? The people I wish I had gotten to know at all? Today I'll start out with a look at the Top 5 worst moments... although because I didn't keep track of Fall 05, Spring 06, Fall 06 and Spring 07, most of the moments are restricted to the Final 4 semesters. Next time (maybe even later today) I will do my Top 5 BEST moments.

Admittingly, I didn't find much issues with my time at school, I only came up with seven bad things that happened, and then decided on the 5 that stood out... Only one took place before the Fall 07 semester. 3 of them are actually from this most recent semester

The Top 5 Worst moments at Laney/BCC

Number 5... The final performance
May 12, 2009 - College Choir

I've been in the Laney Choir six of the seven semesters I took classes at Laney (the exception being my first). There are people in that class I've known all six semesters, and some only one. However, I knew coming in that I would be doing my last performances with the Choir this semester.

I was hoping it would be special. I got a bad break when none of the songs on the repitoire had a solo meaning I would not have any chance to sing by myself. I told the teacher I wanted to be considered to sing the National Anthem at the Graduation. He said I was in the running, but I got another bad break when I learned he did not have control, for the first time in years, over who got to sing the anthem. I asked him if instead I could sing a solo song in the Choir concert, but he said no.

Nonetheless I thought this could be a great time anyway, I invited a friend from the internet to come, but a girl I wanted to come rejected my invitation. (More on that later) It would still be great to perform in front of my family and afterwards say goodbye to all the people I've worked with...

Instead, my dad wound up missing nearly the entire concert because he couldn't find parking. After the concert nearly everybody left and I only said goodbye to one or two people. Instead of walking home with my family I decided to go back into the Music room one more time to say goodbye to my teacher and Marc. Instead, I was mostly ignored, except when Marc criticized how loud I was singing. Thanks!

Then I walked home with dad, but he took something I said the wrong way and started swearing at me. I couldn't take all the crap and broke off with him and walked home by myself. Some night. The only thing that went right was seeing Sammy.

I saw nearly everybody in the Choir later, but never really had a proper goodbye with anybody. It affected my decision on whether to visit Laney in the future, and positively, I will still hang around the department for concerts and recitals, to the delight of the faculty. Two people in the Choir have since added me to Facebook, so it wasn't that big a deal retrospectively.


Number 4...The Call out
April 2, 2009, April 8, 2009 - College Choir, Voice class

It started out as an awkward moment that probably wouldn't amount to anything. I was walking in the Quad and mentioning to myself (out loud) my plans for the day when an older classmate from the Voice class (I believe her name is Dee) saw me as she walking by. She rudely exclaimed "Quit talking to yourself boy" and I laughed and said sarcastically "Maybe later..." It actually bothered me more than it looked. I always felt like the school was family, but I was getting a rude awakening that not everybody is accepting.

I didn't realize until the next week that she is also in my Choir class. This set up an incredibly miserable moment on the 8th when we performed at the Tower. While the class was getting their robes I was walking in the hall with everybody when she saw me and said "That boy talks to himself!" out loud in front of everybody. Called me out in front of the entire class. Now actually, in a positive, none of my friends seemed to particularly care, even went of their way to defend me. (He was talking to me!) It still made me so angry I almost didn't perform at all. When I left to get water she saw me while talking to a friend of mine and also told her "That boy talks to himself!" and I just couldn't take it. Why is it such a big deal? And why is she trying to defame me? Does she want everybody to dislike me and reject me?

This has a happy ending. In May I sung in the Voice class a beautiful song "Lascia ch'io Pianga" where I announced I would be transferring to Cal and thus would probably not see anybody in the class anymore. She was watching. At the end of class she walked up to me and hugged me and said something to likes of "We're even." The classy guy I am, I didn't even bring up the events of April and told her that her song (she did one too) was good and that I was grateful for everybody in the Music department for being so nice. Heh. I actually forgot about this one and this was added on at the last minute.

It's time to get retro and look at one of the first socially inept moments in my time at Peralta.

Number 3...The Silence
November 23, 2005 - Spanish 1A

I had a dream the morning of this class that I entered the Spanish class and only one person was in it. It was one of the beautiful girls in the class, Baraccas. The interesting thing about her was that she really disliked the class and I thought she dropped as she didn't show up for about a week. I thought she was gorgeous though, despite that she was 8 years older than me. In the dream, we flirted with each other and uh, I think there was a happy ending at the end. I didn't consider that she was still going to be around.

For some reason or another I wanted to be at class really early, so about 20 minutes early I went into the Spanish room. Incredibly, only one person was in the room. That's right, you guessed it, it was her.

I was 18, although I had previously gone to two internet meetups (E3 and Lemocon) I was still very raw socially. I have not made any friends aside from maybe one geek I talked to in the class occasionally. So you might guess what I did... I sat two or three desks next to her and said absolutely nothing. 10 or 15 minutes passed by until someone else came in. It wasn't until that person said hi to both of us that I realized I made a huge blunder. I didn't even say hi to her, let alone talk to her. There were so many things I wanted to know about her, she majors in Japanese, why? Is she into the same things I was in, or was it purely business/family? (She didn't appear to be Japanese, she was a caucasian blonde)

I wasn't completely silent. When a third person came in, I mentioned how nobody seemed to be here and she looked at me and concurred. That was about it though. Keep in mind this was the day BEFORE Thanksgiving. Usually attendance is very low. The teacher came in a little late, and I think there were just four people at the time. Eventually there were 10 people and we had a short class.

I was unbelievely distraught about the developments in the class. I whined about it to family and friends about my screwup. Feedback ranged from a total verbal shellacking and "does it really matter?"

I did find out that day that she had a boyfriend anyway... I talked to her a few times later when I had the chance but we never had a conversation and most of the time she didn't appear interested in talking to me anyway.

There's a silver lining and that I have since used that moment as a reminder that I need to be more outgoing. It was a huge wakeup call and it probably helped me be a bit more social the next few semesters, although it wasn't until the Fall 2007 semester things seemed to go in the right direction.


Best of the Rest:

My penchant for awkward comments can get the best of me sometimes... In April during Spanish 2B class one of my friends who was also friends with me on Myspace told everybody of a comment I made to the likes of "I love boobs!" (honestly, I don't think I said it like that...) and all of a sudden the spotlight was on me in a negative way. Fortunately, it didn't have that much of an affect on my relationships with most of my classmates.

Sometimes my lack of skill in certain areas has caused for awkward moments. In Basketball class in the Fall 2008/Spring 2009 semesters my terrible play caused for lots of smack talk against me and often getting snubbed from pickup games. In the Spanish classes I had a lot of difficulty with having conversations in Spanish and this would not turn out well when I was working with a classmate who wasn't particularly tolerant of my effort.

One of those classmates is the center of Number 2...

Number 2... The Snub
May 22, 2008 - Spanish 2B

Spanish 2B was one of the most challenging classes I've taken, I had to write essays completely in Spanish (I actually had to rely on my Dad WAY too much, my B should have an asterisk next to it) and not only was it hard to follow the class, I also had social issues in the class. There were a bunch of people in my age range in the class who were all very social and they all seemed to hang out together all the time. I tried to get in their group (though I could have done a better job) but it was too late. I was already seen as a socially inept person who's kind of creepy and not worth talking to. Not that I didn't get success sometimes, I did get to eat lunch with the group one day in April after being in the right place at the right time (Intentionally) . I did get to sit with them during class and communicate with them as if I was part of the group, but it never felt like I was. I never talked to any of them outside of class.

Most of the classes I had to watch after class and they all got together in Elaine's car and drove to some Mexican restaraunt. I was never invited, though I never did anything to deserve it. Not something to cry about. I wish I could have been treated like I was you know, a friend though.

It's the last day of school and I was very anxious as Hell as I was wondering whether I would get to say goodbye to the friends I made in the class, which (oh socially pathetic me) included getting hugs from the girls in the class. I walked out of the class when I saw Analisa and Pricilla sitting on the bench outside. I decided to sit with them. Eventually Pricilla went to class but Daniel came by and sat with Analisa and myself as the two of us were looking at classes to take next semester. (Most of the group were transferring but we weren't.) As we were talking Harold, Elaine and Tammy came by.

Of all the people in the clique, I never really got along with Elaine. She seemed the most creeped out of my "awkwardness" and just a week earlier we partnered up to discuss a story that I couldn't read, and the results was an incredibly difficult day (See "The Comeback" in the Top 5 Best moments). Nonetheless I was hoping that things would go well with her that day.

Then the next 10 seconds happened, and quite frankly I knew it was coming.

She walked up to Daniel, gave him a hug and a kiss on the cheek, and then walked to Analisa and did the same to her. I was right next to them. Instead of even giving me a courtesy greeting, she completely ignored me altogether.

This memory is one that haunts me for life and I'm getting emotional thinking about it. At the time I didn't think it was a big deal, after all, we were not really friends. I still thought it was incredibly mean and I wouldn't be surprised if she skipped me intentionally rather than an oversight.

The class would go to Cancun (the restauraunt) later and the day would be redeemed, as I hugged Daniel, Analisa, Harold, Tammy and Carey. I also talked to Leslie and the "smart people" clique of whom I would see for an additional two weeks for a Summer class. I probably thought I could say goodbye to Elaine there, so I never got defensive during that scenario. Instead, she held Tammy's son (also named Harold) and walked out. As I said bye to her she, with a sarcastic tone, said "bye" back and that was it. While I was there I heard Analisa and Daniel talk about how crazy and mean she is. (though not because of what she did to me) It made me feel a little better. I shouldn't worry about what certain people think if they're no good anyway.

I still live that scenario in my head though, imagining that I got up and stood up to her and asked her why she ignored me. It made me feel like such a pushover that I didn't do anything and just let her do that.

Unfortunately it's not the last time I've been snubbed, though that was the worst one. In Voice class in the fall, I was talking with Marc, Tommy and Tony when Sara came by and greeted us, hugged Tommy and Tony and went in. Marc asked me "Where's ours?" but I didn't expect anything myself. To be fair, she saw them for the first time this semester, and we had already reunited the week earlier (sans hug though). Similar, though understandable, scenarios happened this semester just like that.

I saw Elaine again in March of this year, but she ignored me as we walked by. She seemed sad but her body language suggested that she recognized me. Same ol' same ol'

A nice transition to the Worst moment of my time at Jr. College


Number 1... The Silent Treatments
Spring 2009 semester - Music History, Voice, Biology

The Fall 2008 semester will be remembered for my two love interests and my challenges trying to ask them out, Leslie and Analisa. Both from Spanish 2B in the previous semester, I did not take classes with them in the Fall. However I ran into both of them regularly. Leslie in the Jazz Combos and Analisa at BCC when I came over to do 3D Animation homework.

The Fall 2008 had somewhat of a nice ending (see "The Offer" in the Top 5 Best Moments) and I thought the Spring 2009 semester was promising. Analisa told me "we'd probably see each other again" and Leslie was going to take Music History in the Spring, and I was also taking it.

The Music History class started off perfectly. I talked to Leslie on the first day of class and we talked for a (at the time, record?) 10-15 minutes about our Winter break. I thought I handled it near perfectly, and at the end of our talk we hugged. Unlike our previous one in the Summer Spanish course, this one was natural and didn't feel forced.

It appeared as if I would not see Analisa at all as I didn't see her in the first two months I went to BCC, with the exception of one time I saw her come in at 1PM, but that was on a day where Choir was cancelled. I usually get to BCC at 2:15.

However in late February I did manage to spot her at 3:45 leaving the college. I tried to catch up with her but I failed, mostly because of someone delaying the elevator. This however was nice to know that she was around. I tried to "force" a running into her in the coming weeks. But I had trouble getting her attention, and two: maintaning my composure. (I actually got severely ill one hour after failing to get her attention because of the stress)

Around the same time, things were getting better with Leslie. As we walked out of class one day in early March we were talking for several minutes about the Music History class. I offered to form a study group together (she seemed mildly interested) and everything was going perfect.

Then, just two days later, after class she bolted out the room. I tried to catch up to her but she, looking behind her at every step, managed to elude me. It seemed like it was just a one-time thing, except then it happened again the next day, and that was even worse, I could see her looking at me with a scared look on her face. What happened? Just a few days earlier we were at the height of our friendship, and now it was going down.

I went to BCC and ran into Analisa again but this time she intentionally ignored me as I walked by her. I couldn't figure out what was going on, but two days later I found out what was going on: She had a boyfriend. Probably got him sometime during Winter Break or in the first month of the semester. I decided not to bother with her anymore, but I was still hoping we'd get to talk to each other sometime before the semester ended.

Things seemed to calm down with Leslie. I asked her if she wanted to hang out on a certain date and she said she was "busy" but didn't seem particularly frightened or anything. We would talk one or two more times since then. I found out some nice info on her ballet performances.

Then we approached the final month of the semester, and this is where things got really bad.

It was one week before my Choir performance and I wanted Leslie to go. I thought it would be nice if she could see my last performance, despite my lack of a solo. She even may meet my folks or Sammy and that would be kind of neat. So I went out of the classroom after Music History and saw her. I called her name twice and she was completely unresponsive. I thought I might have been too aggressive, but there's no reason she couldn't respond to me the first time. I asked her anyway: "Do you think you could come to the concerts next week?" (There were more than one) and she said rudely "I can't" and ran off.

We never talked again for the remainder of the semester.

Three times we walked by each other in the final two weeks and she didn't even acknowledge me when I waved at her. One time, at the BART station she even ran to the other side of the BART station when she saw me sitting on a bench 10 yards from her.

Things got a tad better with Analisa as she at least waved at me when we walked nearby. We never talked though. She ignored me one time when I asked her "How are you?" and just kept walking, despit waving, and the one time we talked at the PC lab it was only for help and she seemed like she was only doing it because she had no other choice. That particular scene was the last time we talked, probably forever.

They were the two notable ones, but it wasn't just them who seemed to want to get as far away from me as they could.

Early on in the Voice class, I met this girl named Amanthis, and although we didn't talk much, we started to get along in the two to three weeks before Spring Break. After that she seemed very reluctant to talk to me, only nodding at questions I asked her, although I could be mistaken. She's probably shy too, but it's hard not to have her in my mind when I think about girls I've scared off this semester. What about Sophia in Music History? She would not talk to me either, and blew me off on the last day of class when she saw me, rather than say a goodbye. I'm not sure that has to do with me. She's very shy herself.

Every dream I've had for the last few weeks has involved Leslie (and/or Analisa, but mostly Leslie) and in them we either make up, or I attempt to make up with her before I wake up and realize reality. May 27 was likely the last time I'm ever seeing her, and it ended with a thud. I will not find out what happened between us, or will I see her again and make up with her. Did she get a boyfriend? Perhaps. Did she consider me creepy? Well how does that explain our friendship prior to that? Surely she had seen me act weird before that. Maybe her parents had forbid our friendship because of my age (22 - 17), or my religion (a friend of mine theorized she's Jewish, but I've never seen/heard any evidence of that and I've known her for two years)? Who knows... but it will haunt me for the foreseeable future. A two year friendship with lots of potential, ending with a whimper.


Next: The Top 5 Best Moments in School History

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