(All illustrations are my own work)
These avid note takers are common in the lecture environment. From behind their essential laptop, they can be spotted engaging in countless tasks all at once: from note taking to online shoe-shopping and looking at pictures of puppies in hats. Their split focus is identifiable by a wry smile that has absolutely nothing to do with the dusty lecturer explaining in-text citations. To witness this creature’s full abilities they must be viewed from behind, but approach with caution, they are prone to unexpected outbursts most likely due to a message from a completely unrelated Facebook group chat.
Super Cool Guy
Possibly the lamest super-hero name ever. These slightly uncommon beings are to be unearthed at the back of any lecture theatre or seminar room, as far from participation as possible, throughout adolescence they can similarly be found at the backs of buses.
Eye-rolling, sighing and even the occasional rowdy ‘tut’ are all behaviours to be expected of Super Cool Guy, usually when another student expresses a cliché opinion or even just at ‘the system’ itself.
Their dissent is only matched by their thorough and obscure knowledge of their subject of choice. However, when pressed for examples a common reply might be ‘you probably haven’t heard of them’. Naturally.
The Sniffers are a mysterious cult. Unidentifiable by sight alone, they communicate through somehow organised and often rhythmic ‘sniffs’. The quieter the class, the bolder their movements. If you identify one in the wild, approach with caution, as they recruit members without asking. Often associated with the infamous ‘Fresher’s Flu’ pandemic.
Another elusive specimen, The Absentee is rarely seen in person, only their rough shape is known. Some experts and even lecturers have come out in public denial of their very existence. However, evidence that they do exist can often be found in Tiger Tiger club photos or Snapchat stories. For the keen spotter, aside from social media, they are most likely to be found in the very last classes of the semester, usually enquiring as to why they had no idea that there was even an assignment in the first place.
The Who-Now is the Absentee in its fully evolved form. They leave no trace of themselves anywhere. They are known to cause great confusion and distress amongst fellow students and lecturers when they are called up to present their work, and no-one has ever seen or heard of them before. They are so anonymous that their existence is often put down to no more than an administrative prank or error.
The Fog Horn
Whilst a common feature of most lectures, you are unlikely to see more than one Fog Horn at once. You do not need to look hard for them, as they soon make themselves heard. They often interject loud opinions which the lecturers foolishly indulge early on, thus setting a precedent for the rest of the year which convinces the Fog Horn that her anecdotes are welcome. She increases the volume of anyone she sits with and can also elicit groans or cries of outrage from other students in the lecture. Encourage at your own risk.
This exotic creature often tumbles into the first week of lectures with sand still in her hair and smelling like she’s had a sandwich in her pocket for too long. Her skin is often tattooed, pierced and so tanned that it is near impossible to guess her country of origin. Her attire is exclusively floaty and printed with elephants. She displays signs of aggression when forced to wear more on her feet than flip-flops or toe rings – regardless of the season. Gap-Year Gal has almost always just returned from ‘the trip of a lifetime’ and can regularly be heard loudly regaling the rows around her with stories that start: ‘So, this one time, in Bali…’ or ‘When I was off travelling…’.
Though my tan has long faded and my favourite floaty trousers have a massive rip in the bum, deep-down I am such a Gap-Year Gal.
And who are you?
If you and your friends moan about Super Cool Guys or Foghorns every day,
Or if you have no sense of humour and have been offended by this,
Or if you just had a bit of a lol,
Give us a share, so that other sad and tired students can be offended or amused too.
Go on, do your bit.