The mammoth size of U of T is something students here are constantly reminded of, between lectures of thousands of students and the packed stacks of Robarts — yet it seems to us that we continuously encounter similar people. Read on for our breakdown of some of the sorts of students we seem to meet over and over again on campus.
The friend you make in class whose MO seems to be putting you on edge about your already-precarious academic standing. The thin veneer of camaraderie rapidly dissipates as talking to this in-class companion (read: being interrogated about what grade you got) becomes just as stressful as taking your exams. “You know it’s worth 40 per cent, right?” they remind you moments before you’re about to write a midterm for which you are only mildly prepared. “Did you pick an essay topic yet?” They ask, “It’s due next week but I’m feeling pretty comfortable. In fact, I’ve already written mine and shown it to the TA during office hours.” No matter the circumstances, it seems that they’re always prepared — and everyone else is decidedly not.
Mass email sender
To this student, lectures, as well as the notion of actually attending them, are afterthoughts. These people own laptops, but they’ve never opened Word. Instead of taking notes, they ask — nay, plead — for them, like a brazen panhandler who resides exclusively in the binary-coded haunts of UTOR Webmail. It’s a staple experience of any Con Hall course: you open up your email only to find it chock-full of messages from unfamiliar sender names. This student was sick, or out of town, or the subway was delayed, and they kindly request that you send them your notes, because, after all, midterm season is rapidly approaching. The mass email sender just wants to pull on your heartstrings, and, ideally, reap the benefits of your generosity.
Do you even study, bro?
With their chiseled abs and thighs like steroid-addled tree trunks, this student defies all logic of university, foregoing studying and embracing Schwarzenegger-like habits of self-inflation. Their timetables are seemingly devoid of any curricular activity, and instead, they live at the gym, filling the protracted hours of their day with protein-rich meals, infinite reps at the weight rack, and dizzying loops around the track. They’ve been into the Athletic Centre so many times that they have a permanent turnstile mark on their stomach. They eat so much chicken and boiled eggs that their living quarters are most likely just one big chicken coop. Readings are but a thing of the past, and the only way this student will ever do them is if they prop their laptop onto the control panel of a treadmill.
The tutorial orator
Fuelled by both an insatiable desire for tutorial participation marks and a narcissistic obsession with the sound of their own voice, the orator is a time vacuum, sucking up valuable minutes with ramblings far beyond the scope of the class. They’d offer an Aristotelian analysis of The Hunger Games if the opportunity presented itself. “I believe it was Foucault,” chimes the orator, “who first synthesized Heidegger and Hegel, and if one were to look at the issue through the lens of the Critical Race Theory, one would see that his points, as well-worded as they may have been, are utterly vacuous.” Yes; leave it to the orator to call Foucault “vacuous.” This student almost certainly doesn’t know what they are talking about, as demonstrated by their over-reliance on the term “Kafkaesque.”
They’re a suggested connection on your LinkedIn profile because they have over a thousand connections. They were interning at the Pentagon this summer while you were working retail. Through casual conversation, you find out that they recently had dinner with an important Canadian author, and they maintain casual email correspondence with U of T President Meric Gertler. You never actually see them working on anything, but photos of their many accomplishments are all over Facebook. You assume that they don’t sleep and probably drink unicorn blood for sustenance, as they always seem strangely charming and well-rested.
It seems possible that they’ve spent more on their wardrobe than you did on your tuition. Challenge their sock game and walk away broken. Sure to be found working on various political campaigns, or roaming the halls of a law school soon enough, flinty-eyed and boat-shoed.
It doesn’t matter if your life is good, their life is always better. If you did one fun thing this weekend, they had a bender of Hangover-like proportions. If you went to Beyoncé concert, they were chilling with Jay and Blue back stage. Alternatively, their life is always worse. You only got three hours of sleep? Wow, that must be so hard for you, whereas they’re doing okay considering they managed to catch just 15 minutes of sleep at Robarts with one eye open. Everything you do should be measured in the context of their more important life — and don’t worry, they’ll be sure to remind you.
Seriously, screw those guys.