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Classroom politics: part deux

So, the much-anticipated part two has arrived. Last time, we examined the kids who try to look smart in class. This week, we’ll look at the kids who try to look dumb, also known as the kids who think they’re too cool for school... literally.

Let’s start with Absent Kid. Absent Kid never comes to class. It is unknown if Absent Kid is even enrolled at Duke. You saw Absent Kid once or twice during drop/add and just assumed he dropped. Oddly, he showed up last week for the midterm and left 30 minutes before everyone else.

A shade better than Absent Kid is Sleep-Deprived Kid, who comes in a little late and sits in a seat out of the professor’s line of vision. After a few moments, his head begins to nod as he lulls himself to sleep. By the end of class, Sleep-Deprived Kid is passed out, his head on the desk, his mouth open and drool dripping out of the corner of his mouth. When he realizes that he just fell asleep in class, he straightens up, shakes his head slightly, takes a deep breath and looks around the room to see if anybody noticed. Yeah, that’s subtle.

Crossword Kid also has to be equally covert in front of the professor. Crossword Kid’s greatest academic moment was when he completed it that one time. Crossword Kid tries to be really sneaky by ripping out the puzzle and putting it on top of his notebook. That way, it looks as if Crossword Kid actually is taking notes, but he isn’t. I’m onto you, Crossword Kid. I’m onto you.

There’s also Kid Who Has No Books, who, well... has no books. He comes to class with nothing but himself. Kid Who Has No Books may bring a notebook, if he is feeling exceptionally sassy, but usually, he walks in, sits down, appears attentive and leaves.

The most ubiquitous of kids who try to look dumb is the Boozer, and no, not Carlos. The Boozer comes into class and often looks like Sleep-Deprived Kid. However, if you look closely, the Boozer still has X’s on his hands and/or fluorescent wristbands on. If the Boozer is a girl, she still has WAY too much makeup on and it’s smudged from passing out from DRINKING SO DARN MUCH the night before. The Boozer will often carry a Nalgene or Volvic bottle around with him because he is just that hung over from last night.

And there’s always Funny Kid, who lightens the mood of class and discussion with funny jokes. I like jokes… especially funny ones. Funny Kid adds a clever remark here and there that rarely has anything to do with the subject at hand. Funny Kid probably has a very poor self-image and thus, must overcompensate by exploiting the only quality that might make him seem just the slightest bit attractive. And that’s sad.

So, we’ve covered the kids who try to look smart and the kids who try to look dumb, but there’s one more kid that I haven’t mentioned yet—Poor, Poor Kid. Poor, Poor Kid tries so hard in school. He does all the reading, hands in multiple drafts, does problem sets weeks in advance; yet, still can’t pull anything higher than a C. Poor, Poor Kid.

But why does this happen? Why do we fall into these categories without fail? Classroom politics exist because we have to fight for power, whether academic or social. But, it really makes no difference whether we act smart or act dumb in class. We’re not here to play a part, to pass judgment on each other. Because, what’s the point? We’re here, at one of the best universities in the country, to learn. So, let’s let classroom politics go, and feel comfortable being who we want to be, and not who we’re expected to be. We’ll leave all the ugly politics for Tuesday.


Sarah Kwak is a Trinity sophomore.


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