As part of my job, when a professor is sick or out for the day in my building, sometimes they ask me to cover their class. Believe me, it's not taxing whatsoever. This generally means handing out a worksheet, proctoring an exam, or simply putting in a video and hitting play. The other day, I was asked to do just that. I received very simple instructions: stick VHS into player, press play, wait around long enough to adjust the volume for the students. Simple.
But it wasn't.
I got to the classroom about 5 minutes before class started to get the movie ready. The VCR was inside a cabinet on the wooden podium at the front of the classroom (It opened down-ward...think of the usual book drops that are outside public libraries). I crouched down and pulled but it wouldn't open. I pulled really hard and it just would not come open. Being somewhat stubborn, I did not ask for help. To put this in perspective, I'm working at an all male school. I did not want to openly admit in a classroom full of 18-22 year-old males that I couldn't open a little cabinet door. So I sucked it up, put both hands on the handle and yanked and the thing slammed open.
Unfortunately in the process I bent the nails on both of my thumbs backward and it hurt. A lot. I looked down in shock and saw that both of my nails were completely purple. I shoved the VHS in, hit play and stood there willing myself not to tear-up. Taking deep breaths, I adjusted the volume appropriately and slipped out of the classroom door quietly. I think I should have learned a lesson from this experience to not act tougher or stronger than I actually am or physical pain may ensue...but I'm not sure it will stick. I think brief pain may be a preferable alternative to developing a reputation of being a helpless female hardly older than many of the students here...