These are the five types of student personality you’ll find in every Uni of York seminar

Which personality type best matches yours?


Seminars. Whether you wholeheartedly embrace the opportunity to show-off your knowledge in front of your peers, or you prefer to adopt a more reticent approach to group discussions (in other words, sitting back in your chair and letting your peers do all the talking), seminars are at the heart of learning at university. Whether you love them or dread them, uni wouldn’t be uni without those all too familiar, mandatory gatherings with students who share a passion for the same subject as you.

With that being said, I have spent the last year or so of my university career closely observing the different types of students in a typical seminar at York, and I have reached the conclusion that there are five distinctive personality types that each and every York student falls into in a seminar scenario. So, in a display of dazzling, seminar worthy knowledge and research on my behalf, here is my definitive guide to the five student personality types you’ll inevitably find in every York seminar.

The model student

The model student is instantly recognisable in a York seminar, with their towering pile of library books (to rival the Empire State Building) arranged immaculately beside their notepad or laptop, their neatly highlighted notes brimming with annotations, and their takeaway cup of coffee or tea purchased from one of the campus cafes.

At every opportunity offered by the seminar leader, this one’s hand is in the air, and they are always ready to recite their eloquent, rehearsed answers to the seminar leader’s questions. In fact, they recite their opinions and thoughts, which rival those of the teaching staff themselves, in such a persuasive and articulate manner, that it feels like the seminar room has somehow turned into the Houses of Parliament.

Beyond the confines of the seminar classroom, the model student can be found borrowing yet another book from one of York’s libraries to add to the evergrowing bibliographic collection that they are accumulating at their accommodation or home, or they may be found with their laptop (and their customary cup of coffee) in one of the cosy campus cafes, editing the final write up of their assignment that isn’t actually due for another five weeks. No pain, no gain, though, right?

The foodie

There’s always at least one student who treats a York seminar more like a picnic than a group teaching session. (Someone please start a petition to incorporate buffet tables into seminars at York, please and thank you.)

The vast majority of the time, foodie students fall into two distinct camps: The ones who are disorganised, and the ones who are just insanely busy. Think about it: The disorganised ones pressed the snooze button on their alarms one too many times prior to their nine am seminar, so they didn’t have time to eat breakfast before they left, which means that they are now forced to devour their pastry, bagel or cereal bar during the teaching session itself.

Meanwhile, the insanely busy ones apparently just don’t have time to eat, which also means that they are forced to resort to picnicking during seminars. They might as well bring a picnic blanket and a basket of food to share with the rest of the seminar group, as tummies of other students begin to rumble at the sight of the foodie snacking on a packet of crisps or a chocolate bar (which has, more often than not, been conveniently bought from one of the vending machines on campus, as these students don’t have time to make their own lunches, let alone eat them, remember?).

But whether they fall into the disorganised camp, or the just insanely busy camp, this one’s just hungry. Like, all of the time.

The one that’s more interested in their phone than the topic at hand

Let’s be honest, we’re all guilty of this on occasion. It’s so tempting to sneakily reach for your phone to check Instagram, Snapchat, BeReal or WhatsApp when the seminar leader turns their back during a boring class.

However, this one is glued to their phone. Literally. I honestly wouldn’t be surprised at all if the hands of these students were physically attached to their phones with super glue.

This one has somehow forgotten that they have voluntarily enrolled into uni to study a degree in their favourite academic subject(s), because they might as well have signed up to study a degree in screen time studies. Their obsession with their phone is questionable, to say the least, and it is likely that their hand’s marriage to an electronic device has hindered any opportunity to engage with any of the pre-seminar reading or activities. This contributes to the vicious cycle of: Student is addicted to their phone, student skips all of the week’s readings, student falls behind in the seminar because they haven’t engaged with any of the reading, and therefore student turns to their phone during the seminar because it seems like everyone else in the room can suddenly speak an unfamiliar intellectual language. A vicious cycle of eat, sleep, screen time, repeat. Way to go.

The quiet one

There is always at least one student in every York seminar who is a bit of a mystery (and it’s not solely because of the secretive aura that they radiate). They are, in fact, a bit of a mystery because you don’t think you’ve ever heard the sound of their voice before. The quiet one really is as quiet as a mouse, maybe even quieter than a mouse, because you have yet to hear even a squeak from these students.

As with foodie students, there are two different subtypes of quiet ones: the modest quiet ones, and the unprepared quiet ones. The modest quiet ones are simply the shyer cousins of the model students, they have the potential to strut into the seminar room, their head held high, their laptop tucked protectively under one shoulder, clutching a cup of campus coffee.

However, the modest quiet ones are a little more restrained and subtle in their approach to seminar teaching and group discussions. While knowledgeable and intelligent, these ones largely hold back during discussions in which the seminar leader ‘opens the floor’, so to speak, to thoughts, opinions, and answers from their students.

On the other hand, the unprepared quiet ones are silent for a very different reason. These students, like the ones addicted to their phones, simply haven’t engaged with any of the pre-seminar reading or activities. At least the unprepared quiet ones can commiserate with those addicted to their cellular devices, as both of these personality types respond with bemused bewilderment to the unfamiliar intellectual language that everyone else (especially the model student) has suddenly become fluent in.

The hungover one

Despite their striking contrast to the model student, this one is also immediately recognisable in a York seminar. Sleep deprived and dazed from the alcoholic residue of the early hours of the morning that has just passed, this one reluctantly dragged themselves out of their bed to the seminar despite spending four extra hours in one of York’s nightclubs than originally intended. In other words, this one was on their feet drunkenly dancing in the club six hours before their 9am seminar, and now they’re exhausted.

Despite their best efforts to make sense of what is actually happening and being taught around them, the hungover one is slumped over their notepad or laptop, chugging from a cumbersome bottle of water, in a desperate yet futile attempt to sober up before the seminar leader calls on them to answer a question or offer their opinion on the topic being discussed.

So, there you have it, a definitive and indisputable guide to the five types of student personality that you’ll be either fortunate or unfortunate enough to encounter in every York seminar. Which personality type best matches yours? Are you more of a model student, a proud foodie, or are you still hungover from the five hours that you spent drunkenly dancing in the club last night?

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