Casey Kessler, a junior at GVSU, purchased books for one of her courses, English 327: Books You Should’ve Read in High School, several weeks before classes began. On the first day of class a neat pile of the 15 novels listed as required reading tottered precariously on the edge of Kessler’s desk as she made notes on the copy of the syllabus she had printed out.
“I got my books about three weeks before the first day of class,” Kessler said. When we asked why she made the decision to purchase books so early, she said something about wanting to “be prepared” and “to get a head start on the readings.” Students at nearby tables recognized Kessler, and shot death-glares at her. “I already started reading one of the books,” she said. “It’s pretty good.”
Kessler’s overachieving behavior immediately made her the subject of her classmates’ eye-rolls, snide remarks, irritated sighs, and doodles ¾ most notably one in which she was depicted as a stick figure, falling from the top of a mountain of books into a pit of fire, wherein other stick figures with brown noses lay crying in agony. Many of these other students in ENG 327 reacted with surprise and horror when they discovered that a fellow student had bought textbooks in advance.
“Why would she do that?” said incredulous junior Tony Marcus. “Is she trying to make the rest of us look bad? What a jerk! I knocked all those books over on my way out, and I’m going to keep doing it for the rest of the semester.” So far, Marcus has kept his word, violently swiping Kessler’s books off of her desk at exactly 2:50 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday of this week.
Senior Samantha Rhyss was also shocked when she heard her classmate purchased books before the second week of the semester: “What’s she going to do when she drops the class? Keep them?” Rhyss picked at her nails with a pen and smiled an almost maniacal smile, “Because she will drop this class.”
“Who does she think she is?” GV student Kevin Blagh lamented. “For years, college students have worked to cultivate an image of loveable-loser incompetence and functional alcoholism that has served our best interests: continued financial support from our parents and low expectations from professors and employers. She’s ruining everything!”
We spoke to the professor of the course (we went in during office hours, and it was terrible) to better understand the situation: “I never bought my books in advance when I was a student,” he said. “I don’t always buy the books in advance for courses I’m teaching either. I don’t like Kessler’s eagerness and responsibility. It’s appalling.”
Kessler’s classmates have taken to calling her “Kiss-ass Kessler.” Messages proclaiming “Death to Kiss-ass Kessler!” have been appearing on white boards in the classroom where ENG 327 is usually held. “I’m not saying I did or didn’t write on the board,” said classmate Krista Log. “I’m just saying that for buying her books early, Casey definitely deserves it.”
While some of Kessler’s fellow students have been seen feverishly typing ISBNs into Amazon, the retaliation against her has not ceased.