September is the most awkward month of the year. It’s almost as awkward as a twelve-year-old boy asking out his crush for the first time, but it’s less awkward than when you make an undignified noise in the bathroom and you leave the stall and the only other person in the bathroom gives you the stink-eye.

September is awkward because there is no way you can win. Victory is an impossible goal when it’s fall in the morning and summer in the afternoon, as September is barely a distinctive month of its own, instead being an uncomfortable blend of sweltering August and bristly October. This drastic imbalance in temperature makes it increasingly difficult to feel comfortable throughout the day – you’re either too warm (the kind of warm that makes you hate your jeans with every fiber of your being), or too cold (the kind of cold that sends shivers down your spine and not just because you’re scared of your math test).

The trick is to wear enough disposable layers in the morning so that by midday you’re left in a t-shirt. A cardigan, a pullover, or something of the sort typically suffices in providing enough comfort and balance that one can get through the day without excessive perspiration and/or goosebumps the size of actual geese (or so it feels).

However, the inconsistent air conditioning of Riverside Secondary throws this whole plan completely out of whack. One can show up to school in a sweater, perfectly suited for the outside temperature and the chilliness of one’s own home, but arrive to their dreaded Block X or Block A class to plop down into a seat and quickly send drips of sweat coursing down the legs. Students are quickly adapting to this new level of torture by forsaking their brand new, freshly ironed, straight-out-of-a-Gap-advertisement outfits (because what’s the point of wearing a cute back-to-school outfit if you’re just going to sweat through it by block B?). I call this early morning ritual of cursing the non-existent controllable thermostat the 1st Circle of Hell, shamelessly ripped off from Dante’s Inferno. Heat rises, after all.

Maybe our teachers try to make up for this inconsistency by, when the AC finally does work, holding the “down” button until our body temperature plummets. You’d think that this would compensate for the heat of outdoors, but instead only makes students long for the flannel stowed away in their lockers. One sits at the edge of their seats the whole period, spine erect and frozen shut, our fingers threatening to freeze to our computer keys. Coincidentally, this very situation is described (almost verbatim) in Inferno – the 9th Circle of Hell is not on fire, but drenched in ice, freezing the will of those who pass through (sound familiar?).

It is easy to believe that we are being punished. For what, no one knows. All that is certain is that some higher power is testing our resolve in class, throwing an additional curve ball to the incredible fatigue felt by every student and teacher who has just come from a summer vacation filled with blissful noon-am wake up times. This torture will cease come October, when the weather finally levels out and we can set the air conditioning at a consistent temperature, but don’t go thinking that our punishment is over. The dread one feels when the first bell rings will echo for years.