Why do all my classes have the same people in them?

by Staff Reporter

I’ve just experienced another first day of class. While that is always exciting, I seem to find the same people in every class I take.

The first of these is a woman known as “The Camper.” She has come to class not only prepared to take notes, but to provide a complete forensic transcript admissible as evidence in a court of law.

Upon arrival to class, she establishes her command center.  Occupying the seats on either side of her are notebooks, textbooks, a voice recorder, pens, pencils, highlighters, a laptop, an iPad, a bookbag, her purse, tissues, a jacket and a standard issue U.S. Navy inflatable life raft.

The upshot of having The Camper in your class is that if you ever need to borrow a pen or piece of paper, she’s a one-woman walking Office Depot.

The person who usually sits next to the Camper is another of my regular classmates.  I can’t describe his physical appearance, because I’ve never seen him.  He is “The Invisible.”

The Invisible has a genuine superpower.  Once he attends the first day of class, he has the ability to vanish into nothingness, never to be seen again.  Except, of course, on test days as listed in the syllabus.

I know it’s really invisibility and not just absenteeism, because when the instructor posts grades, there’s never a shockingly low score.  Obviously, The Invisible is attending class and remaining unseen.  Does Wichita State offer a Ninja Studies major?

Another classmate of mine I can never seem to avoid is the “Grade Obsessive.”  He makes his intentions known within the first 30 seconds of a new class.

“I’m starting an attendance sheet around the room.  Please write your name and major,” says the instructor.

Instantly, the Grade Obsessive’s puts their hand in the air.  “How many points is this worth?”

The Grade Obsessive will interrupt any explanation of any assignment at any time to inquire about the credit received for work, extra credit, partial credit, credit where credit is due, credit unions, or free credit reports.

Ironically, sometimes if the Invisible’s powers fail him, he can morph into the Grade Obsessive.

At least the Grade Obsessive occasionally asks a question you’ve been wondering about.  

Another person unafraid to indulge in endless blathering is “The Tangent.”

The Tangent is a bold thinker, willing to find the connection between the subject of the class and any other topics that may run across his or her mind.

The instructor is lecturing on the function of the medulla oblongata, when suddenly, the Tangent strikes.

“I was wondering … is the word ‘medulla’ Latin or Greek in origin?”

Meanwhile, in a history class not far away, the professor is deep into a fascinating story about Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo. Behold! The Tangent strikes again!

“Is it true that when Admiral Nelson was killed, his body was stored in a keg of rum?”

No one is ever safe from The Tangent, but at least they stay within the realm of the subject at hand. The Tangent has an evil twin brother (who also manages to attend most of my classes).  He is known to the underworld as “The Non-Sequitur.”

Where the Tangent’s questions merely stretch the scope of the material to the limit, the Non-Sequitur stretches the material to the outer rims of the galaxy.

Picture a lecture on the sociological writings of W.E.B. DuBois.  Suddenly, the Non-Sequitur pipes up: “What is the effect of industrialization on the individual?”

At least that’s in the realm of sociology.  Usually, the Non-Sequitur has an obscure major and is determined to probe every single one of his classes for links back to his bizarre field of study.  You’ll know you’re dealing with the Non-Sequitur when he announces his major before every question. 

Here he is in a trigonometry class:  “As an Early Hungarian Cabinetmaking major, I was curious about your opinion on the effects of the law of cosines as applied to the counterpane work during the 17th century Budapest period.”

In closing, some advice — if you find yourself in a class with any (or all) of these people, remember that the educational experience is different for everyone.  Look within yourself for patience and understanding.  Try to see the situation from their point of view.  And above all, find out when it’s too late to drop the class.