Every lecturer you’ll have at Cambridge
If you do English, you might want to Google what a ‘lecture’ is first
Today, we take it upon ourselves to study Cambridge’s most fascinating creature: the humble lecturer.
Native to libraries and overpriced coffee shops, the common lecturer can usually be found drinking tea in a teak-panelled room, reading books in a language you didn’t know existed, or lecturing in a hall that hasn’t had the heating fixed since before the Clinton administration.
(For those reading this after November, I mean the first one.)
But most distinctive about lecturers is that they’re rather diverse – a 10am Materials lecture might be lively and engaging, but next door in Mechanics half the unfortunate listeners are desperately wishing for the sweet release of death.
Several notable subspecies of the common lecturer are native to Cambridge; we’ve compiled a list of attributes for easy identification.
Has funny and/or intriguing lecture titles, without the content to back them up. A variation of this is the ‘Over-Appealer’: has a lecture title that sounds relevant, but then they talk about some bullshit niche aspect for an hour while you count ceiling tiles. 341. 342. 343.
They think they’re the next Louis CK and sustain their fragile egos on the occasional titter they get delivering that joke about Schrodinger changing a lightbulb. Sometimes they’ll be working and their head will lift from the desk, and they’ll say ‘Quantum Shrekcanics! Genius!’ and scrawl furiously on a piece of paper, before chuckling and returning to their book.
The One with Some Level of Hair, and Glasses, I Think
This lecturer is so nondescript he could walk into a bank, repeatedly stab the teller, and have a staring contest with the security cameras before leaving, and any witnesses would still be like ‘Well…they were definitely white, and had all four limbs. Probably.’ As for the lectures themselves, they’re moderately useful, if uninspired. Occasionally they’ll make a joke and by the time anyone’s registered that it was a joke, it’ll be too late to laugh.
The Reverse Time-Turner
Instead of letting you repeat the last hour, lectures with the Reverse Time-Turner punt you forward an hour, having learned absolutely nothing. The RTT has an astounding ability to make words for an hour and somehow not say anything. It’s as if tinnitus got a PhD.
The Pleasant Tuesday Morning
Okay, they’re attractive. Obscenely so. So attractive that you’d consider murdering your kindly DoS if they’d be the replacement, even after all those mugs of peppermint tea they’ve given you. Does attractiveness make you a better lecturer? Of course not…but you’ve still never missed one of their sessions, even at the arse-end of the West Cambridge site.
The Sentient Lizard Wearing the Skin of the Previous Lecturer
They’re just a normal lecturer. Nothing to see here. Sure, they might shake habitually, like they’ve just had a strong coffee, or they’re a sentient lizard shaking with desperate longing for the death of the human race. They’re usually a specialist in an ‘-ist -ism’ (modernist constructionism? Constructionist lyricism? Abstractionist embolism?), stare at slightly the wrong place on your face when they talk to you, and sometimes kill and eat flies with their unusually long tongue. Where do they come from? Where do they go? Why do they speak in short, reptilian screeches? Nobody can be sure.
The Homeless Dumbledore
There’s one in every department. Maybe it’s the same one. He can Apparate, after all.
The Fresh Meat
New tie, new suit, elaborate Powerpoint, looks at the undergrads like we’re about to eat them.
I Could’ve Just Taken the Handout and Saved an Hour of my Life
If you’re going to just read the handout out loud for an hour, tell me at the start and save me the trouble. I have Bake Off episodes to catch up on.
OMG my DoS is doing a lecture!!!
You have to come!!! We’ll sit in the front row! Alex can bring pom-poms!
But every so often, on a sleepy Tuesday morning, the planets will align and you’ll come across…
Talented. Funny. Passionate. Insightful. The kind of lecturer that makes you want to become a Buddhist or start recycling after one of their sessions.
Invariably they’re only there for one term, so treasure them.