STATE COLLEGE, PA—Drew Phelan, 26, a Penn State University graduate student and teaching assistant for History 107: Introduction To Western Civilization, was spotted at the Bulldog Brew Pub last weekend, Section Four sources revealed shortly before class Monday.
"I walked into the 'Dog at, like, midnight Saturday, and sitting right there at the bar was Drew, our T.A.," sophomore Zach Matthews told several fellow students in Phelan's 11:05 a.m. discussion section. "It was crowded as hell, but I'm totally positive it was him."
Matthews, who assured sectionmates that he was not shitting them, said Phelan was dressed in his typical style, wearing a button-down shirt and khakis. The T.A. was accompanied by two females, one of them "pretty okay-looking," and one who "looked kinda cute, but sorta old." Matthews said it was not clear if either of the two women were Phelan's girlfriend, though at one point, the older-looking one stroked the T.A.'s forearm with her left hand.
Phelan appeared to be having a good time and was witnessed talking and laughing. He did not have his briefcase or his usual copy of England From 1066 To 1688 with him.
"When I saw him, I was like, 'Holy shit, it's our T.A.!'" Matthews said. "It was so weird to see him out in the world, at a bar. You just never think of him as being interested in anything besides Western Civ."
Matthews continued to relate details of the T.A. sighting to rapt classmates for four more minutes, until a student seated near the door signaled that Phelan was about to walk into the room. The students then exchanged smirking glances and carefully studied Phelan for any sign of a hangover.
"Wow, that's so bizarre," sophomore Stephanie Munoz said. "Phelan doesn't seem like the type to go out and party, but I guess you never know."
"Last year, I saw my Spanish T.A. at a free Guided By Voices show at the union," Munoz added. "It looked like she was really getting into it."
Matthews was accompanied to the Bulldog Brew Pub by fellow History 107 student Eric Lake.
"At first, Eric was kind of freaked, because we both have fake IDs," Lake said. "But he was like, 'Chill, Zach. How would Phelan know how old we are? We could be in an intro class because we're, like, returning students or something.'"
Though Lake attends a Tuesday-Thursday discussion section with a different T.A., he recognized Phelan from lecture. Neither he nor Matthews approached the T.A., but from their vantage point by the dartboards, they could tell he was drinking beer.
"It looked like it was a Sam Adams, though I'm not 100 percent sure," Matthews said. "Eric said he thought it was a Rolling Rock, but I'm positive the bottle was brown."
Matthews said the sighting has given him a newfound respect for Phelan. He even told fellow History 107 student Jeff Dinardo that if he ever saw Phelan out at a bar again he might buy him "a shot of Jager[meister]" as a friendly gesture.
Lake, however, was less pleased by the T.A.'s unexpected foray into his favorite hangout.
"I go out to have a good time, not to have some teacher hovering around, reminding me that there's a bunch of shit I should be reading," Lake said. "If [Phelan] starts going to the 'Dog on a regular basis, I'm going to start hanging out at Looney's instead."