So in the true spirit of Teach For America, we have an acronym for people upon whom you may develop a crush at institute, IC, short for institute crush. This is the guy whose eyes I catch across the library during a CS session. Or perhaps that guy that I see on the way to breakfast every morning. The one that my girlfriends giggle about when he walks down my hallway (and in the CT corps’ case, had to step over us in the hallway). He’s very cute – maybe tall and rumpled with beautiful blue eyes. I get this kind of euphoric clamp around my chest when I get to ride in the elevator with him. I just about pass out when he walks past me, looks into my eyes and says, “hey…” And I look up from underneath my long lashes – thank god for those! – and stutter, “hur…huh…hey!” I daydream in lesson planning clinics about him walking me to my room really late some Friday night and confessing, “I can’t stop thinking about you.” Maybe in my daydream, he kisses me; maybe he doesn’t.
But, here’s the thing, at least for me, it’s all fake. An IC is the expected result of being in this high-pressure fish bowl for a solid month. Your emotions are rattling around in your head and if they leak out your ears onto someone else, no one can really blame you for that. He’s the guy that you’ll get all fluttery over but you’d never actually make a move. Because he probably lives in Philly or D.C. or Baltimore, and when you leave institute, you know, you’ll likely never see him again. Far from being heartbreaking, it’s actually a relief. You can be all silly and googly-eyed and enjoy the high you get from the attention but without the pressure of a real relationship. You crush. You giggle. You leave.
I discovered who I was an institute last summer was a very bare-bones, unadorned version of myself, all of my unappealing traits and none of the good ones – I wasn’t even real. How could anything I was feeling be real, either? I really think that you can’t call any relationship real until you’ve had your first good knock-down, drag-out (figuratively, of course) fight, and you come through on the other side. How do you know that you can trust something until it’s been tested?
So all of that philosophizing to say, perhaps you shouldn’t act on that little ol’ IC. You’ll be going home in a few days and at that point, you’ll either forget about him or you won’t. But either way, it’ll be too late to say anything, which is probably for the best anyway. Go home and find a nice boy you can fight with. *tongue planted firmly in cheek*