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Crushing on Professors???
1 month ago · · Stress,
congratulations, you're the only person whom I'd allow to read this non-anonymously. I'll be sitting next to you, carefully watching your reaction while cringing at every frown you make, doubting my words at every pause you take. Yes, I could just tell you what's on my mind, I could be texting you right in this moment, but I don't want to bother you too much with my emotions and problems during your "private" life; I don't want to interrupt your routines and demand your attention while we're not seeing each other. No, I'll wait till Sunday before I fill you in on what happened. But still, for the sake of self-reflection, I have to keep track of my insights now while they're still fresh. And imagining that I'm already talking to you is incredibly helpful for structuring my thoughts.
Anyway, enough with my rambling introduction. The thing on my mind is the one topic that we've been avoiding forever, the one we only now really start to open up about in depth: romantic feelings! (Big surprise after you've read the headline!)
Point is, you probably don't really understand how messed up my feelings are, and pretty much always have been. Abandonment and trust issues, repressing feelings and not daring to really fall for somebody - sure, we've talked about it. But what about the opposite? What about falling too easily, in the wrong situations, for the wrong people?
There's this boy in my biology class, we're often matched to do group tasks together (not by fate or choice, mind me, simply because we both belong to the very few people who regularly participate in class). We have no personal connection. I have no intention of leaving my boyfriend anytime soon, and I have no profound interest in that guy whatsoever - but still, I get nervous in projects where it's just the two of us. Still, I obsess over what to wear to that class. Still, I wonder what he thinks of me. It's not a big deal, I'm used to it. The semester will pass, and I will forget him without really looking back twice. It's nothing new - a casual smile on the bus, or a tight shirt imprinted with one of my favourite band logos can be enough to make me waste a daydream or two on a person. Catching feelings, without a care in the world, for random, interchangeable NPCs, and letting them go effortlessly as if they never existed in the first place - that's me.
Although, over time, I've noticed two criteria which my long-term victims all share:
First, they have either long, brightly coloured, or dark hair and brown eyes. (Yes, apparently I can be a little shallow and superficial every now and then.)
Second, they need to inspire growth in me. That guy from biology, he motivates me to do my homework and to be prepared - I want to have something to say to him when we're comparing our results, right? More of an issue with this criteria: A vast majority of people who catch my eye are professors, teachers, lecturers. Even at school that was sort of an issue. Yes, in most subjects I aimed for perfection simply because I could, but every now and then... Every now and then there was a young apprentice teacher with brown eyes, who made me want to get perfect grades to impress him instead of myself. Every now and then, I put my private studies in the context of a direct, interpersonal connection, feeding my motivation from the desire to be likeable instead of successful.
And it's only getting worse at university, where lecturers are even closer to my own age, and somewhat more approachable and relatable as people. According to a sketchy youtube comment, a study has shown that students learn best if they are in love with their teachers. While I have never seen such a study, at least from my personal experience that's definitely true. This semester alone, I'm juggling three young post-docs, having my mind set on the fact that I definitely need to stick out from the other students. I need to be smarter, more motivated, my flaws need to be likeable and relatable. I will always be in their class, I will actively participate, and I will feed of their praise for my correct answers for hours after the lectures are over. To earn that, I'm willing to work harder and think deeper about the questions they ask me than I would ever do just for the sake of finding out answers.
I am a social creature, highly motivated to be liked by others, much more so than to strive for power and status. If a little bit of pointless love makes studying feel more important for me than the prospect of finding a good job some day, so be it. It's useful, it serves my purposes, and it makes life more colourful. It might be a blessing, really.
I just wonder... Am I really this starved for compliments and encouragement? Am I really not convinced of my own value until some academic comes along to toss me little pieces of "well done" or "good thinking"? Am I really attaching my innermost feelings to little symbols of wisdom, to little idols just one step ahead of me in my career, instead of pursuing excellence for my own sake? Huh.
LT, you probably don't know what to say right now (thought I had forgotten about you, haven't you?), and that is okay. I guess I just wanted to show you a snapshot of what's going on in my mind when you're not here to see it, and I guess once you're done processing all of this, I'd be very interested in your opinion. But sure, take your time. Feel free to just pretend to keep reading until you're ready to comment - I'll be patiently waiting next to you until you're ready. Just tell me, as soon as you can qualifiedly do so, do you think it's problematic if I fancy every single young and dark-eyed lecturer that crosses my path? Let me reassure you, I'm not suffering, I'm not obsessing over them, but... isn't it weird?
Whatever. Thanks for listening to me, LT, and thanks to all the other anonymous people out there on the internet, who - for reasons unknown to me - care to listen to my thoughts every now and then. It's nice to have you guys in my life. Have a nice day.