Even though it may feel like this semester has already aged you a decade, the fact is that it’s only just started. The bright side is that each new semester offers an opportunity to evaluate the kind of student you’re going to be that term.
It’s possible you’ve already established a role for yourself, like as the person who sits silently in the back of the class hoping that your professor (and your classmates) never learn your name. Unless, of course, you’re the person who immediately seeks out friends and volunteers during discussions to impress everyone with your insight.
Regardless of your preferences, VALLEY has compiled a list of five kinds of people you’re bound to encounter in class.
Starting off pretty mild, there is The Academic. This person is just there trying to get the grade — or so it seems. In actuality, they bought every book on the syllabus weeks before classes began and sent the professor a welcome email to get an edge over their peers. (Oh, and they’re also most definitely judging you for not doing the assigned reading.) Encountering this person is inevitable. You’ll find at least one in almost every class.
There is caring about doing a good job, and then there is obsessing over being correct. The Instigator doesn’t care so much about getting the grade as they do proving a point. You’ll spot them trying to insert completely unrelated and incoherent ideas into the conversation to stir the pot. The professor will either love this student, fueling their desire for attention, or hate them. Either way, get ready to listen to a lot of long-winded debates about supply chains or irrelevant political commentary.
A close relative of The Instigator is The Expert. Clearly, this person chose a course that would allow them to demonstrate their already vast knowledge on the subject. While this person might not strike up unnecessary debate, they will consistently make the class run past its end time by asking questions they already know the answer to. You can bet they’re sitting front and center to have the best chance of getting called on too.
Chances are you’ve been The Philosopher in class at least once in your life. This person tries to add to the conversation so they can grab some participation points, often answering a question with a question or rambling on. Most of the time, The Philosopher wasn’t paying any attention and needs to give a generic answer to save face. Basically, they say a lot without really saying anything at all.
Class started five minutes ago, but The Distractor just rolled in late with an iced coffee in hand and picked the seat in the middle of the room. No doubt, this person pulls out their laptop and starts online shopping, emailing or texting throughout the whole period. It’s common to check a text or answer an email once or twice during class, but The Distractor has their laptop on full brightness and does not care if you can see their whole group chat conversation.
Even if you haven’t met these types of people yet, you are likely to have a class with them soon (or maybe even become one of them, yourself). There are all kinds of students who you’ll get to know at Penn State that aren’t on this list which begs the question: What kind of student are you?
Tweet us, @VALLEYmag, and tell us what kind of students you know at Penn State!