1. The sleepwalker
You know the one. He walks into the room wearing flannel pajama pants and an expression that tells you exactly how he feels about classes that take attendance. He will come, he will sit and he will be well-behaved — but his eyes will shut the second after he signs his name on the attendance sheet. One day, you will look over at him, as the T.A. is handing back exams, and notice that he scored three points higher than you. It will be the worst day of your life.
2. The online shopper
He has 15 tabs open and none of them are Collab. You’re actually more curious about him than the topic of the class itself — his Amazon cart is much more interesting than political theory. Why is he looking at Keurig machines again? He was looking at them last week and the week before that — is he constantly breaking Keurigs? Is he too afraid to even buy one? Based off the amount of money he spent on Sperry shoes last week, you find that hard to believe.
3. The note taker
You really want to like her. She’s just a normal, friendly girl — her name is Sasha, she is a member of the club soccer team and she’s really excited about the new Avengers movie — but she found a way to ruin your blossoming friendship. She took notes during discussion. Notes. During. Discussion. Listen Sasha, this isn’t lecture! We aren’t learning anything new! We covered strict liability two weeks ago! It’s fine that you need a refresher on the topic, but when I see you taking notes, it makes me feel lazy, inconsiderate and unprepared. I know you’re worried about the midterm, Sasha, but try worrying about my feelings.
4. The literal note taker
This is Chuck. You don’t know much about him. Maybe he’s excited for the new Avengers movie. Maybe not. He doesn’t say much. The only time he’s ever talked to you, in fact, was when he missed that lecture on Tuesday. He said he’d really appreciate it if you send him your notes. You’re happy to oblige — because why not — and he’s happy to reciprocate the favor sometime, but you’re not really sure you want his notes. You’re not really sure he ever takes them. Some favors are best left unreturned.
5. The one in five
A close relative of the “literal note taker,” this person is even more elusive — but somehow more prepared than anyone else in the class. She shows up to roughly one out of every five discussions, and you’ve seen her maybe once or twice in lecture — total. Yet, whenever she chooses to attend, she always has the right answer. You hate her out of jealousy but respect her as a human being.
6. The comedic relief
This guy might be kind of funny at 9 a.m. He’d probably be hilarious at noon. But Jackson, it is 8 a.m. The sun has barely risen and you’re already answering questions in your Kevin Hart impression? I mean, it’s spot on, but none of us have had any caffeine yet, and it’s kind of problematic.
7. The one who’s actually trying
This one is the worst. In a room of 15 first-years, taking a gen-ed class for a subject they’ll never even think about again, she stands alone. She is a fourth-year, she is majoring in this field and, worst of all, she has the audacity to try and generate interesting discussions. You heard me — she wants to foster intellectual debate in a classroom setting in order to challenge your thinking and help you reconsider the subject matter from a different perspective. Who does she think she is? You haven’t even had your coffee yet!
8. The wannabe philosopher
A near-cousin of the “one who’s actually trying,” the “wannabe philosopher” is differentiated by the fact that he has no idea what he is talking about. Only, he thinks he does. You can tell by the tone of his voice that he thinks he’s the second coming of Aristotle — the rest of the class, however, is less convinced. Big words and big egos don’t automatically make you smart, Will, no matter how much you want them to.
9. The clock-checker
This girl is your best friend in the class. You might not know her major, her home state or her hobbies, but you are aligned through a common interest — checking the clock every other minute. You don’t even know her name — you think it might be Kate, but she looks more like a Rebecca — but you can feel the chemistry. It’s palpable. You will never talk to her again the second the semester ends, but you’ll never forget the time you spent with — who was it? Sarah?
10. You, the champion who woke up on time
You are awesome. You are special. You are amazing. Your parents warned you it was a terrible idea. Your friends told you you’d never make it to a single discussion. Your own grandmother laughed in your face when you broke the news to her. But you — you amazing, awesome and special person — made it to discussion. You walked 20 minutes through the blistering cold before you even had the chance to caffeinate yourself to get to your discussion. You may not know it yet, but you are a hero.