Ah, the first week of the fall semester. *gives a prolonged sniff* Can you smell it in the air? Smells like teen spirit! Actually, it really has more of an odor of desperation as everyone scrambles to get a perfect schedule, tie up their summer fun with a pretty bow, and try to navigate the swirling mass of students who are just as desperate as them to salvage what’s left of their summer. Let the games begin!
For some reason, watching that mass of students herding toward the library or through the quad reminds me of the wildebeest scene in The Lion King, only you’re Mufasa, and you just pray you don’t lose your balance and get trampled by the herd. Then, of course, there are always a few hecklers milling about on the grass, cackling like hyenas, and you’re just thinking you can’t wait to be king and graduate. Pretty much sums up the first week of class before you settle into the groove of things.
Then there are those students who, before the first week of class is over, have their online postings and responses completed, extra credit in the making, and already love probing the instructor with “insightful” questions that launch the teacher into an excited diatribe on economics or the beauty of mathematical science in raising marmosets in some jungle, or whatever, that causes class to go way over. And then, if you’re like me and don’t mentally get into the groove until week two (when you map out and color-coordinate the rest of the semester), yet somehow manage to roll out of bed each morning, you most likely have toothpicks propping your eyelids open and a cup of dark Joe in your clenched fist. Seriously, the amount of coffee consumed by American college students during the first and last weeks of each semester is astounding.
So, basically, there are four types of students, fantastically speaking: The Dragons, Zombie Children, the ghosts, and the Unicorns.
Dragons are pretty self-explanatory; they’re the students who overachieve and stress themselves out by accomplishing every task with absolute perfection a week before anything is due. They won’t have to take the final, but they’ll be in therapy that day anyway. Oh, yeah, and sometimes they breathe fire. Awesome!
The Zombies tend to stumble into their early morning class with a beanie smashed on their head and a strong espresso in hand. Their eyes are generally glazed over, but somehow they manage to complete the assignment that morning and get a pretty good grade. Come on, admit it; you’ve been a zombie at one point or another in your college careers.
The Ghosts kind of just, well, vanish after the first week of class, only taking on a tangible human form to turn in large assignments and take tests. You’ve probably thought you’ve seen them around town, but when you look back, they’re gone. Whenever the teacher calls on someone to answer a question, she never quite seems to notice them, like they’re the Invisible Man, or something. Yet somehow they manage a passing grade.
And then there are the Unicorns. Super-human, mystical creatures of beauty. They seem to flit in and out of class without a care, acing everything slapped onto their desk. They do the extra credit, though it’s unnecessary, and the instructor is instantly their best friend. Worse still; they never seem to need coffee. This type of personality is actively sought out by other students when it comes time to group-up, so snag ‘em first!
So, what category do you fit into? Most of us probably have a smattering of each, though we can’t seem to disappear as easily as the Ghosts do. May the fittest survive! And the rest of you, sit back and enjoy the show!