What time is it? Okay, I have...seven minutes before I have to go up there. God, I hope I don’t screw this up. Five years of work, ruined in in forty-five minutes. No, Dara, don’t think like that. Do I have everything? Where did I put my notes? What if my presentation doesn’t load? I tested it like five different computers, it better. But what if it doesn’t? What if the department’s copy was corrupted? And what if I walked by a giant magnet on my way over and it wiped my thumb drive? They can’t fail me for that, can they? Wouldn’t they just reschedule? No, Dara. Stop it.

Whew. Okay. Five minutes to go. This has got to be the longest fifteen minute break in the history of history. Is it always so sunny in the lobby? That probably bodes well for me, right? Or...no. It doesn’t have to mean anything. It doesn’t mean anything. I shouldn’t analyze every little thing or else I’ll just make myself crazy. Er...crazier. So what if it’s sunny out? It’s just weather.

...What on earth is going on with that dude’s hair? It looks like a bird landed on his head, got comfortable, made a home in it, and then got thrown out on its feet in the middle of the night. Did he mean to walk out the front door looking like that? I bet he’s not deciding the fate of his future today. No dissertation defense for you, sir. What if he is and hasn’t realized that he looks like a hobo? Should I casually walk by with a mirror and see if he notices? Wait. He’s totally one of my students, isn’t he? Walk away, Dara. Walk away before he sees you.

Three minutes. Do I look okay? Do I look like I know my stuff? I didn’t get anything on my shirt since I left the apartment this morning, did I? No coffee stains or anything, no spinach between my teeth or something like that? Damn it. Why did I have quiche this morning? I wouldn’t have to worry about this if I had just had cereal or something like that. Is there a line in the bathroom? I better make sure I don’t have any phantom greens in my teeth. Why is it so crowded in here? Our department isn’t that big. Were there this many people in here a few minutes ago or am I just psyching myself out? Okay, lady, out of my way. You don’t need all of that counter space just to wash your hands. Nope, nothing on that side, and...we’re clear. Now get back to the lecture hall so you don’t have hold people up or fail for being late.

Crap. Were there always so many stairs here? I’ve never noticed this before. Don’t. Fall. Don’t. Fall. Don’t fall. One step at a time, you can do this. Why did I wear this heels again? Why didn’t I think about this earlier? Why didn’t I listen to Hailey? Note to self: don’t ever let her know that you just thought that.

Okay, okay. Here’s your seat. Sit down, act cool, and don’t forget to breathe.