Everyone’s Had ‘Em
From charismatic old dudes to overachieving grad students, some professors just make your whole college experience.
By Olivia Buzzacco, Bowling Green State University
Over the course of your undergraduate career, you’ll experience a vast variety of different professors.
Some of these instructors you’ll only have the pleasure of having once, while others you’ll definitely stumble upon again as you inch closer to graduation and your classes become more focused on your major. You’ll hate ‘em, love ‘em, secretly crush on them, want to have a drink with them after the semester is over, all of the good stuff. Every university has a professor they regard as one-in-a-million, whether it’s an instructor students want to show off to the world or wish would get a job somewhere else. Regardless of what kind of instructors you have, most universities have these five classic professors.
Here are the five professors you’ll experience while in college—I know I certainly did.
1. The Dad Rocker
These are the professors who stroll into class in jeans and a t-shirt. They are probably playing music as you walk in, and will definitely incorporate rock songs or old movies into their lectures each week. They tell you about the bands they have been in and how they continue to jam with some other faculty members in their department. The Dad Rockers are super passionate about their job and they make class enjoyable for everyone. If you get the chance to take another class with them, you find yourself immediately signing up for it.
The Dad Rockers remember everyone’s names and will give you a personal “hello” if they see you out of the classroom to ask you how you’re doing. At the semester’s end, you’ll request to be friends with this professor on Facebook, and he/she will heartily accept your offer.
2. The World Traveler
Oh, the world travelers. Just where do they get all this free time and money?
They have literally been everywhere, even the places you didn’t know existed. Kyrgyzstan? You bet they’ve been there. These are your worldly and ethereal professors who will tell you about the places they’ve been, and maybe even show you pictures and bring in artifacts tie into their lectures. When you cough or sneeze in class, they’ll tell you how different cultures would react to your outbreak and probably narrate a story about how they learned this first-hand.
The world travelers talk about the weather and what winters are like in Russia and how you should stop complaining about how cold it is outside. They’ll tell you where they are going over break and how they’ve been there before, and you’ll wonder why you haven’t seen them on Jeopardy! yet.
3. The Professor on Your Level
These are the instructors who will surprise the shit out of you on the first day of class. You’ll end up walking out of the room when they dismiss you, thinking, “This is about to be the greatest class ever.”
“Professors on Your Level” know how to stay focused on the class materials, but will nonchalantly tell you how to avoid DUI checkpoints. They swear during their lectures, and when you ask them, “What are we doing in class today?” they will answer back, “Smoking crack” or, “Your mom.” When you meet with these instructors for a conference, they will spend most of the time talking about things unrelated to your essay and just have real-life chats with you, but in the end, you’ll get the assistance you needed. You’ll tell all your friends to take a class with them because they certainly won’t regret it.
4. The Love/Hate Professor
The love/hate relationship is real, and it’s a frustrating old time. These are the professors you want to hate but can’t because they’re just so damn good at their job that it’s not fair.
They’re extremely articulate and precise in their assignment sheets, they make the class sit in assigned seats, show a lack of human emotions (they’ll occasionally try and be social, something usually along the lines of looking outside and saying “Nice Indian summer we’re having today, right?”), and will at times appear to have chosen favorite students (usually the ones who have been to actual places that deal with the class materials).
As much as you want to give the love/hate professor a horrible end-of-the-semester review because their personality just bugs you, you find you can’t because you realize that they taught you so damn well. Everything you learned in the class was surprisingly interesting, and the professor really knew what they were talking about. Damn, I need a drink.
5. The Grad Student
Oh, the grad student. The grad student can go one of two ways:
Possibility A: They’ll push you too hard and make you do more work than you probably need to. You’ll form groups with your fellow classmates and complain to one another about how insane your instructor is and agree to give him/her terrible reviews at the end of the semester. You’ll see the grad student at the bars downtown and immediately text all your friends about it because it’s hilarious to see them in a normal setting. They’ll either offer too much extra credit or give none at all. Their exams prove to be too difficult, and you never have enough time to finish answering the essay questions.
The grad students won’t give a literal shit about teaching or the class in general.
They’ll make you laugh and ask the class questions about the university because they sure as hell don’t know where anything is or how anything works. They will either cancel class at least 2 times a month because they’re hungover, or they will just show up hungover and trudge on through the day’s lesson. You’ll see them at the bars downtown and they might be a bit awkward, but they’ll say hi to you like it’s no big deal. They’ll be deliberate about essay deadlines, but will end up giving everyone A’s at the end of the semester.