As the winter semester resumes at colleges and universities across America, I thought it would be fitting to point out those that make our campus experiences interesting, maddening, and downright loathsome. I have compiled a small list of common college-going specimens every student has encountered at one time or another or might not have because they were too busy learning rather than paying attention to public nuisances.
1. The Walking Diary
This person (almost always a girl; more likely as her age increases) insists on sharing their life story with anyone, especially the professor, who makes the mistake of entertaining a conversation with them. Any attempts to move the conversation away from the details of this person’s life will be promptly thwarted, since the person has years of experience seeing the world only as it relates to them.
2. The One-Upper
How much homework did you say you have for the weekend? Oh, I have, like, TWICE that much. How hard is your homework? Oh, man, I had this one assignment last week that was, like, TWICE as hard as that. Isn’t this class boring? Man, this one time I had this professor that was even more boring than this guy! You get the idea.
3. The Cocky Underachiever
A person who takes a class that is under their current skill level (e.g., a person with eight years of French education taking French 2) and then attempts to answer all questions and dominate all discussions. Not only does this person attempt to make you feel small, he insists that his expertise on the subject at hand be applied in some way to the curriculum even though it doesn’t coincide with anything being taught.
4. The Professor Corrector
Self-explanatory. There is a good way of raising a question or objection with what a professor says in class, and there is a bad way. These assholes only understand the bad way; aggressive, impertinent, acting in an insubordinate manner and sometimes borderline insulting to the class and instructor.
5. The Pontificator
A perfectly average college student with a perfectly average personality that goes through a transformation the moment a classroom discussion starts. Their old posture melts away, and they assume a very upright posture, or maybe do their best attempt at “the thinker.” They squint their eyes and nod their head at the professor as if saying, “Yes, I see what you said there and I find it very, very interesting.” They are likely to place their fingers on their chin to indicate to everyone their thoughtfulness. They then raise their hand and, when called upon, proceed to offer the most baffling, retarded comments anyone has ever spoken, but they do it in a very confident, preachy voice. Not only is it annoying, it’s painful to watch, because you feel so embarrassed for them. You feel even worse for the professor, who is obligated to take them seriously.
6. Mr. Passive
Almost always a male. Identifiable by the way he routinely arrives ten minutes after class has started but strolls in as if it’s no big deal. Then he plops down, slouches in his chair, and tries his best to take a nap. When called upon and forced to offer some kind of insight or opinion, he is only capable of shrugging his shoulders and saying, “I dunno” or pointing to someone else and saying “He said what I was going to say.” Once the evasion is over, he goes back to his nap.
7. The Cell Phone Kid
TURN IT OFF AND PUT IT THE FUCK AWAY FOR THE LOVE OF CHRIST. Putting it on vibrate doesn’t count. Wah-wah, it makes it quieter, boo-hoo-hoo. Bullshit. It just exchanges an annoying ring tone for the annoying racket your phone makes while it rattles across your fucking desk, the floor or against the dildo (or whatever) in your purse. OFF MEANS OFF, ASSHOLE.
8. The Tag-Nut
After almost every class, you’ll find this person standing awkwardly at the back of the room, or over in some corner, or otherwise away from everyone else. A sort of human island, shifting from one foot to the other, quietly waiting for everyone to leave, the tag-nut is unlike the other students who have after-class questions for the professor, who stand near the professor and wait their turn. No, he awkwardly waits, far off, to be the last. When it’s finally his turn, he asks a meaningless and/or stupid question. (e.g. “Did you say you were from New York? Oh, that’s interesting. I was just wondering because I have an uncle from New York. Yeah. Okay, see you next class.”) Whiskey. Tango. Foxtrot.
9. The God Girl
In my experience, it’s ALWAYS been a girl. You always hear her talking before class about how some class or professor was offensive in some way, because something about the class or the professor’s comments called her religion into question, and she just thinks that’s so rude for them to force students to read stuff that makes fun of religion (literature, etc.) or to make them pretend God’s not real to pass the class (biological anthropology, etc.). In classes that explicitly or implicitly call the notion of God into question, God Girl is always willing to offer her apologist explanation to the class. God Girl is on college campuses everywhere, bitching, protesting, and generally causing a scene to further her religious agenda.
10. The Competitor
Did you start on that paper for next week? No? I started mine last night. I’ve got about three pages done already. How far are you in the reading? Really? I really like it, so I read like ten chapters ahead. Don’t I have (insert other class) with you? Are you worried about the exam? Yeah, me neither, I got As on all the assignments so far. How are you doing in there? The only question you should ask these people, when they’re finished making you seem slow and dumb, is how they’ll be able to maintain that “head start” attitude once you reach your bare hands inside their head, rip it out their brain, and stomp all over it like a badly choreographed Mexican hat dance.