The reason why my groupmates were acting this way was that after decades of genocides and repressions, people had become afraid of pretty much everything. This is the kind of fear that gets transmitted on a genetic level. You might not have experienced the genocide yourself, but the genetic memory of your ancestors who conceived you in fear and gave birth to you in mortal terror is always there with you.
So the students started attending one of the courses and ignored the other one. Now, the professor of the ignored course showed up to his scheduled class and discovered that the students weren’t there. He also had the Soviet legacy of inborn terror, so instead of going to the Dean’s office and inquiring as to the whereabouts of his students, he kept coming to class in a futile hope that one day students would appear.
They never did, of course.
At the end of the semester, when the exam period came about, a huge scandal broke out. Students hadn’t taken one of the courses and couldn’t pass the exam. The professor had been getting paid for not delivering his lectures. The future schedules got messed up beyond recognition.
People got into all this trouble for the simple reason that they couldn’t deal with the simple task of going to the administration and saying, “I’m sorry, I think there might be a mistake.”
This was when I realized that I wasn’t only completely different from the older generation. I also had nothing in common with my own. Believe me, I’m not blaming my people for being the way they are. I just understood that I was so different from them that no happiness was possible for me in their midst.
So I came home and said, “You were right, we should leave. I’m now ready to submit an application to the Canadian consulate.”
This was absolutely the best decision of my life. It brought me poverty, divorce, struggle, hardship but it got me to a place where, on the most basic level, people think and act like me.