The Tragic History of William Shakespeare and I



When I came to university, one of my main goals was to avoid the whole “talking” thing. I know, I know, it’s anti-social  but that’s why tutorials terrified me. My voice isn’t loud, I’m alone, and sometimes you get one of those crazy tutorials where everyone is super, duper passionate and, well, you’re not.


Gonna be honest, I didn’t go into my Shakespeare class loving Shakespeare. Not at all. Shakespeare and I actually have a very complicated, long relationship dating back to grade 9 where we first locked eyes. Ever since then, he’s been my enemy and I’ve avoided his work like the plague (even as an English student).

So why did I take a Shakespeare course? Well, I wanted to be BFFs with Old Will and I thought this would be a good way of going about it.

But OH GOD the tutorial! And this one was worth 20% of my grade and we had quizzes on a new play every other week! It doesn’t sound too bad, but some of Shakespeare’s works are craaaaazy long, man! And they sure feel long, to the point where my brain was basically in la-la-land by the end of A Midsummer Night’s Dream (which is a play I will never like, oh my goodness). I performed poorly on the quizzes too. Like really, really poorly. There was a point when I got one back and almost drowned in my own self-pity.  It was totally my fault, but I angrily blamed the actual tutorial itself instead because, you know, it’s everyone else’s fault that Old Will and I don’t speak anymore.

Every Wednesday I’d sit by the door, Nintendo 3DS in hand, trying NOT to think of the next hour of my life. There were only, like, 18 or so students—most of them passionate and awesome and super smart, by the way—and I didn’t know any of them. Mostly, I tried to keep to myself. The TA was also passionate, only slightly more eccentric than the students. All the Shakespeare love annoyed the heck out of me, so at some point, I started to tune the class out.

I gave up.

It’s difficult to explain, but I think my irritation with Shakespeare was due to a weird, screwed up kind of jealousy—I wished I was that passionate student and I wished I could project my voice and I wished I could get great marks .

But see, after all my tutorial-hating and swearing to silence and being a brat, in the end, I was totally wrong. Like, fully and completely wrong. See, those passionate, Shakespeare-loving students (and TA!) were awesome and talented, and because I refused to speak up, it cost me marks and potential friends. I almost failed! And in the end I felt stupid because, in reality, the people I was judging very harshly were cool and nerdy and fun and just my type, and I had wasted the year not giving them a chance.

Gotta say, I don’t exactly regret the whole ordeal. It could have been worse, but let me give you Imaginary Reader (who may or may not also have a chaotic relationship with good ol’Shakespeare) a piece of advice from my stupidity:

Don’t get all huffy because you hate an aspect of university. Uni life is a difficult road but we’re all here together, so make friends! Be kind! And don’t give up halfway through the class, guys. People are pretty cool here at UTM, and even if you’re like me and you broke up with Shakespeare (or another writer or math formula or scientific theory) many years ago, you’ve still got a lifetime to repair that relationship, and that’s part of what tutorials are for.