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05/28/2002 Archived Entry: "School Days"
I made my triumphant return to the college arena today. It's been four years since I graduated so I've noticed that a lot of things have changed. When I left college I was used to professors saying, "You may not use the Internet for research. The Internet is unreliable and not a good resource for educational purposes." Even in 1998 this was a pretty numbskull way to think about the Internet but I accepted it. I simply went to the library, grabbed four or five books, copied down all the information I needed for a sound bibliography and then returned home to write my papers.
Now things are different. The instructor informed us that we could download all the assignments from his website if we so desired. I so desired! This is great! At last school is designed exactly for a person for someone who is so utterly afraid of and unwilling to engage in human interaction that the mere thought of talking with another human being turns their skin!
I can spend the long beautiful summer cooped up in my air-conditioned computer room downloading my assignments and doing them while my friends are at the beach!
With everything that has changed over the years since I have been out of school there is much that remains the same. Namely, the students. I was immediately reminded of what the classroom was like and why it is that I hate people.
Every class I've ever been in is comprised of the same people. This classroom dynamic exists in every college class I've attended after high school. Here's how it breaks down.
The "Funny" Guy(s)
This is usually just one person but there are exceptions where it's a pair of friends. This person generally wears a grin during the entire class while (s)he carefully constructs the next witty retort to something the professor says. This person is not actually funny but rather is under the false impression that they are the world's greatest comedian.
We all know this person well. This person truly believe him or herself to be smarter than the professor. Rather than raising a hand to comment or ask questions, they raise their hand to correct something the teacher has said. The best part about this is that this person is usually wrong. The way the professor handles this person is what I look for early on to judge how much respect I have for him/her. Sometimes the professor will leave an intentional and awkward pause after comments seeing as how they're usually irrelevant or just rehashing what the teacher just said. About half the time these comments are actually just plain out wrong and then the professor will correct the dummy that made said comments. I can't understand how someone could think that they're smarter than the teacher let alone how someone would continually chirp in with false information only to be shot down. This type of idiot-extrovert's motivations boggle my mind.
I like to keep quiet. I generally get very good grades but do not speak ever, for any reason. Since I fear even the most basic human contact, speaking to a group of people unannounced is not something I ever intend to do. It's not that I am afraid of public speaking, I've done a lot of it, but I just don't want to be that guy in the paragraph above. Even if I know the answer and the teacher is asking someone for it and no one else is raising their hand I will under no circumstances raise my hand. It's just the way I was raised I suppose.
The Girl That's More Shy Than Me
This is the girl I usually respect the most in the class. Usually I develop a crush on her early on because for some unknown reason shyness is really attractive to me. I respect the fact that she won't even speak when the teacher takes attendance. In fact she won't even fully extend a raised hand and usually gets marked absent for at least half of the classes she attends.