Overheard at London Unis: Lecturer Edition

Thought we missed that little comment professor? Guess what – it’s recorded

As the year draws to a close, we find ourselves questioning once again whether we learned anything at all.

However, there are a few things we do remember: Listening to your lectures like podcasts while you take a shower and make some pasta, regretting not speaking to your crush on a Zoom call one time, feeling irritated when you dress up for class but somebody looks cuter – it’s been a year for sure. 

While it may be easy to forget the brunt of module content, we’ve all had a moment this year when our professor has said something absolutely ridiculous – so ridiculous that you have to text someone about it or awkwardly suppress a smile while trying to turn off your camera so you can cry-laugh.

So, to wrap up the year, here are the top 10 overheard lecturer comments from Zoom Uni that’ll leave you wondering how exactly you’re paying nine grand for this:

“Potatoes are just trapped beams of sunlight”

In this instance, we find that a biologist has transcended and become a philosopher. Is this what happens when you read too much Foucault? Not everything is a prison, dude. However, this is admittedly a cute thought — no wonder potatoes taste so good if they’re just full of sunshine and happiness.

This is the kind of lecturer who really does not have a single clue how Zoom works, so tries and fails to use both Blackboard Collaborate and Microsoft Teams all year with some serious repercussions.

His students all say that he’s sweet and “trying his best”, but if you really think about it, that’s what we expect from five year old children too. Consistently not being able to unmute yourself or share your screen is not endearing, Martin.

If potatoes are trapped beams of light, what are bananas?

“Some ideas die. Like Communism”

Unfortunately, we seem to have stumbled across a professor who thinks the entire world consists of Europe. Apparently, he hasn’t heard of Cuba. He will also not take it well if his students help each other with homework because that is a bit too left-leaning for him.

Either an Eastern European History fanatic who has simplified centuries down to a sentence, or a “devil’s advocate” type Politics professor who is obsessed with arguing with 18 year olds over Zoom, this lecturer clearly is looking for a bashing.

This professor’s favourite book section at Waterstone’s, evidently

“Well, let’s not get into Thanos’ ethnicity right now”

When is an appropriate time for this conversation? I want to know how on earth this came about? What subject? Can I study it?

Arguably, a subject of this importance should be debated by Law students as an exam of sorts or philosophised in an English Lit essay. Or theoretically we could just ask Thanos, but him turning into a dust bunny makes it a little difficult.

Clearly, this lecturer has gotten themselves down a rabbit hole that they did not anticipate but are highly enjoying. Sometimes reason must stand over rhyme, and I dearly hope that this class did not, in fact, get into Thanos’ ethnicity during this lecture.

“Losses loom larger than gains”… RIP Iron Man

“Why should we even bother to do anything if in five years someone is going to say it’s wrong”

It seems like this lecturer needs to take a sabbatical. Isn’t all knowledge redundant, anyway? We’re just little specks on a bigger speck of rock floating around a flaming speck. Sounds like an excuse to day-drink.

This is definitely an old white man who got called out on a racist comment in his dissertation paper 40 years ago when he thought he was “in his prime” and just can’t seem to let it go. He will spend the rest of his career telling everyone that everything that has ever existed is a social construction and, ultimately, doesn’t matter at all.

Let’s talk about existentialism, baby!

“I’d take whatever that man says with a grain of salt because… I don’t trust that man… for reasons”

I’d take what that man says with salt, tequila and a lime, personally. I probably wouldn’t remember any of it tomorrow.

This is the kind of sentence only a man with a grudge or a female with a sensible brain could muster up into speech. Whichever lecturer category it falls into, I’m absolutely intrigued and would personally invite them on a pub crawl in order to truly learn the truth.

Moral of the story? Never trust a man, and if someone asks why, say “reasons”.

A series of books by men you shouldn’t trust. George Eliot, you’re on thin ice

“Holy diet Coke”

Ever since the Coke can packaging changed, there has been something just magnetic about the drink, perhaps so magnetic that a new religion is forming around it.

Arguably, diet Coke is a gift from the gods because it has no calories and it’s an easy drink to put vodka in, just in case you want to spice up your Physics lecture at 3.00pm on a Friday afternoon, or in case this lecturer already has.

10/10 on taste for this lecturer. They know the good stuff.

This would call for a post-lecture bender down IOE bar in normal times

*After simping over Cadbury’s biscuits for 10 minutes* “I’m not sponsored by Cadbury’s, by the way”

This lecturer is definitely an influencer on the side. They know it’s all about the branding, and come on, who would want to be associated with Cadbury’s when you could be sponsored by tiny blue gummy bear vitamins for your hair, or whatever Kylie Jenner is into these days?

This professor knows their clientele and it is definitely not middle-aged couples drinking a cup of tea in the afternoon with biscuits on the side. They’ve let something slip here, and don’t want to reveal their true Instagram handle and Depop shop side hustle which are both respectfully named beccababexoxo.

I recommend eating 15 of these as you watch a lecture. Stomach-ache guaranteed if you need to apply for extenuating circumstances

“I’d say that the biggest threat Classics faces is artificial intelligence”

We’ve all said something similar five pints in. If you see a Classics kid in a bar, run fast because this is the knowledge their lecturer is feeding them. Unless you’re ready for alien conspiracy theories and not-so-subtle eye-rolls when you mix up the Greek and Roman gods, do NOT make eye contact.

This lecturer is stuck in the year 566BC and thinks they would’ve been an absolute catch in Ancient Rome. And when you’re angsty that you were “born in the wrong era” and convinced that in another life you would’ve been cool, what better thing to blame than the mystical AI?

The Classics student pantheon — a slightly racist textbook, illegible handwriting and Air Pods because, let’s face it, you went to private school

“If (student’s name) was drowning, I wouldn’t save her because I would ruin my expensive pants”

This is what would happen if an Eton boy became a professor. International students with their designer bags and £400 sweatpants can surely relate, and a murmur of agreement from them was probably heard straight after this sentence was spoken out loud in the Zoom lecture. 

We should probably question here whether this student really is thinking of the unlikely possibility of finding themselves drowning in the ocean, or whether they are just crying out for help with the sea of uni work they can’t get on top of. Either way, a metaphor as deep as this with a response as harsh as that could only be addressed in an Economics lecture.

Thankfully, Jack from Titanic didn’t share this lecturer’s world-view of saving his pants over another life. He did freeze to death, though, so maybe this lecturer is right after all.

It’s okay, drowning student, the duck’s got you. Ah, London

“We’re constantly trying to avoid death”

A bit deep for a recorded lecture, right? Death is one of the many things we are naturally inclined to avoid, others including blue cheese, marmite, and attending lectures.

This lecturer is a budding young female PhD student-turned professor who is rapidly approaching her 30s and is absolutely petrified of the thought. As a coping mechanism for this fear she turns to death rants in her Psychology lecture on cost-benefit analysis, slowly awaiting her mid-life crisis with gritted teeth and a tear in her eye.

Pretty apt graveyard setting for an existentialist breakdown

So this has been bizarre, to say the least. We have never seen a closer look into the inexplicable minds of lecturers than we have today, and I for one have definitely learnt something incredible from this experience.

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Overheard at UCL: the good, the bad and the bloody disgusting 

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