Lecture Hall Stereotypes
Taking a look at the characters we all know and love in the lecture hall.
Sitting in a lecture, I looked around. I was paying little attention to the slightly odd man talking in monotone at the front. Despite him probably being a world leading academic on the subject; despite me paying a large sum to be sat in my second-from-back-row seat; and even despite impending exams on the subject, whatever he was saying held no value for me.
Instead I scanned the people littering the large, sloped room and it dawned on me that the same characters would in all probability be found in every university’s lecture halls. So here's a list of the sort of characters I'm sure we're all too familiar with:
The Keen Crew – This little collection of people are characterised by their apparent extreme short sightedness. I’m assuming they must be visually challenged as they show a severe aversion to seats that are not within three rows of the front. Their adoring eyes stare sycophantically at the lecturer who only ever appears to be ambivalent to their unwanted attentions. They will not utter a single word throughout the lecture and will scribble down, with unbridled fury, every word and unrelated anecdote the lecturer cares to tell. Occasionally after the lecture has finished, and after the bemused lecturer has struggled through this bizarre crew like Britney through the paparazzi, you can hear the sickening niceties they exchange that nauseate the miserable cynic in me to the point of retching. You know what I mean. That kind of stifling niceness that makes you want to say something inappropriate just to shut them up.
That Annoying Girl – Picture the scene: It’s 12:55pm and the lecturer is only now drawing to a finish. The hall is alive with the sound of rumbling stomachs and the body language of people who have long since stopped caring (apart from the Keen Crew, of course). Suddenly, a hand from the second row shoots up. The entire lecture theatre turns and glares with united anger and disbelief. People audibly sigh. What could this person possibly want that is so important? The lecturer, unable to ignore such a blatant signal, gestures irritably at her to speak. Apparently unaware of the collective animosity directed at her the Annoying Girl clears her throat. “Urrrmm on slide four you said that you used the 3rd edition of the text book, but I have the 4th edition. Will this make a difference?” A girl quietly sobs in disbelief at the unimportance of the question. Groups of people discuss the ways they will make her pay for what she has done. That Annoying Girl has struck again.
The Weird Loner (WL) – Every classroom of any sort has at least one of these. On my course we have a WL me and my friends hilariously call ‘The Wizard’, because he looks like a wizard. He will sit alone with his waist-length, beautifully brushed but suspiciously shiny hair and carefully maintained beard. He only ever wears a long purple coat, which for all I know he could be naked beneath and I have a strong belief that he is hopelessly addicted to World of Warcraft. Apparently to the extent that he wishes he was his online character. If I was ever asked who would have the highest possibility of committing a high school massacre in my course (admittedly not a particularly likely thing to be asked), I would unequivocally point to The Wizard. Sorry Wizard if you’re reading this by the way. Love you really (please don't kill me).
The Committed Alcoholics – Wobbling into the lecture at least five minutes late and trailing a formidable stench of cheap beer, the bloodshot-eyed future alcoholic stumbles into the nearest vacant aisle and rests his head on the desk. The most astonishing thing about this particular demographic is that they still make it to the lecture, despite having downed quantities of vodka that exceed even a Russian’s GDA the night before. Having seemingly painfully dozed for the remaining lecture time, the still partially drunk student stumbles out of the hall, only to be seen in a similar condition the next morning.
The Laptop Crew – Why would you bring a laptop to a lecture? What do these people think happens in a lecture? Do they think projectors don’t exist and that the lecturer will just display the slides on a tiny screen at the front of the hall? Unless you were a secretary before you arrived at university, there is no way you can type faster than you can write. If you say you can then you are a liar. It’s not just the sheer ridiculous excess of bringing a laptop to a lecture but also the smug look of the tossers who bring them as they unfold it and place it carefully on the desk in front of them. Fuck you laptop users. Especially those Macbook users. Fuck you and your little glowing apple.
Last on the list of lecture hall delinquents is, of course, me. The over-analysing, cynical bastard at the back of the hall who judges people with a hatred only surpassed by the loathing he aims at himself and the soon-to-be employee of the future managers and CEOs that make up the Keen Crew.
Still, could be worse. I could be That Annoying Girl…