As you know, the first week of September is the most wonderful time of the year. Indeed, it is back to school and the most interesting observations are made during this time. This is because during this time, Montreal is still warm, people are still outside, and not hidden under their six-hundred-dollar parkas.
I've always observed people around me during my years of university but I could never fully simplify them into categories because I felt like I had more years to go and more to see. Finally, now that I am in my senior year, I feel like I've seen exactly the right amount of people to write this blog post. If I don't write this now, I will regret voicing myself as a student and this can't be done post-graduation. So here we go...
1. "The freshman” - He or she just moved to the city from another province/state/or country. This individual wants to make as many friends as possible. According to statistics, this individual’s gender is usually female. She will give you her iPhone so you can punch in your name, your phone number and your email so she can text you to save her a seat, get notes from you and ask you for “university tips.” She’ll ask you where you’re from, what Rez you lived in and advice on taking "bird courses." She’ll basically study you and admire you every class, and just when class is over and you’re walking out embracing the silence that you missed for the past hour, your phone will buzz and notify you that “the freshman” has found you and added you on Facebook. Eeek!
2. "The GANG of Freshies" - This party will walk together and take up an entire sidewalk leaving you squished amidst them with your six bags of groceries. They are often heard explaining and elaborating upon “SOME CRAZY SH*T THAT HAPPENED LAST NIGHT.” These specimens have probably just met last week at FROSH but will pretend like they've been best friends forever. They will wear their matching shirts and hats from FROSH WEEK and will continue to stick together all of first year. Right from the start of this organically formed group, there will be love triangles, inner-politics and lots of drama. Someone is always hitting on someone but she likes his friend but his friend likes her friend...and there’s always an annoying person who everyone wants to get rid of.
3. "The After-Class Smoochers" - These are often new students, probably in their first or second year. They will wait until the professor has finished his lecture, and will go to “introduce” themselves. They will compliment the prof on the “insightful and though-provoking” lecture that he or she provided and will continue the conversation by asking questions like… "where did you do fieldwork last summer?” or a random question like “so do we have to do the readings before we come to class” - Here, the questions are 100% insignificant - the student has a mission - and the mission is to make him or herself known and distinguished from the rest of the three hundred something students in the class. They will often nod their head and smile as the prof. addresses their question making sure they spend enough time for their face to be stored in the prof’s memory. They will slowly feel uncomfortable as they feel the number of people waiting behind them increase. They will say a sweet goodbye and tell the professor that they'll continue their conversation during “office hours.”
4. “That Funny Guy” - He is often found in upper-level classes where classes are smaller and his chances of being heard are higher. He is usually seen seated towards the front of the class, very close to the professor’s podium. When asked to introduce himself, he is ready promptly and does not pause or hesitate about what to say. He has probably practiced his “introduction speech” the whole last week of August, and is ready to present himself to the rest of his class as a bright, charming fellow. He will start by saying “Hi, my name is Cliff, and I’m an alcoholic." He will wait until he hears a few giggles from the girls and will continue with "haha just kidding." He will take up 10 minutes of class time explaining his major and his minor details and how he didn't actually plan on minoring in "Tibetan Scriptures" followed by lots and lots of unnecessary information in between. He ends up making fun of himself and the class moves on to the next person.
5. “That Annoying Girl” - She is usually well dressed, She will look like she just walked out of a hair salon and through various video footages from university CCTV’s, we have concluded that this female is by majority blonde or has blonde highlights or a fading ombré. Recently, our updates show that the “That Annoying Girl” comes in an Asian version as well. She likes to carry the navy blue Longchamp bag she bought last Spring Break from Paris and carries her MacBook Air in her Marc Jacobs laptop sleeve. Every class, her objective is to prove that she is the epitome of "BEAUTY & BRAINS" and will find a critical point to raise in class. The professor will pause for a moment and respond with "Good Question" but will fail to fully explain the answer to her satisfaction. Subsequently, "That Annoying Girl" will raise her hand again with something along the lines of "But I didn't quite understand so you mean...." She will continue her sentence by simply paraphrasing and simplifying what the prof said literally 15 seconds prior. However, let us not judge quickly, "That Annoying Girl" does not do anything aimlessly, her random question is a chance to shine and reminds her that she is still has her smarts even after 4 lazy months of summer. This will help her sleep at night.
6. "The Lost Girl” - Age: 18. This girl is often seen wearing a high-waisted circle skirt, a Jansport bag and a polyester blouse with flying birds printed on them. The frames of her glasses are tortoise shell and they match her leather strapped sandals. She’s in her first year of microbiology and she can’t find any of her classes. After helping her find the building, she will ask you if you have the BIO 112 textbook from last year because she is trying to save money on textbooks and is “asking everyone I see for the BIO 112 textbook." You apologize and tell her to look online on the “classifieds.” She then gasps and thanks you because she didn’t know there was such a thing, and thanks you a million times while bowing down to you and offers you her lunch as a sign of gratitude. (That last part was a lie)
7. "The PhD couple” - The archetype here consists of a male and a female in a romantic relationship and have left their conservative university back home to excel higher at an international level. They are in their late 20’s, early 30’s. Upon various sessions of eavesdropping, especially in foreign languages that our ears pick up quickly, we have concluded that this couple is in the field of a sort of Engineering or a subject that requires plenty of math and physics. They are probably very excited to have moved in together and live in North America without the rules and restrictions bounding them back home. They are usually seen wearing rimless glasses, a bright polo shirt, denim pants and white sneakers. Often spotted holding hands on campus, in the building corridors, in the library, at the gym - you see, the chances of getting lost during the first week is very high and one must protect their loved ones. They tend to exercise at the gym or go for a walk in the evenings after their research and will often match their outfits with one another.
8. "The Eager Gymnast” - This individual is usually a male in his mid or late 20’s. Probably a Grad student. He is always seen wearing a tank top with very thin straps so that his broad shoulders are accentuated and noticed by everyone. His biceps are just BIG, not the toned and defined kind of big, it is the big that resembles the shawarma meat-cone at your local Lebanese cafeteria. He is not there to work out, but he is there to throw a grand performance. He will throw the medicine ball in the air and clap his hands three times while doing handstands. He will keep opening and closing his lifting-belt while making loud thrusts and grunts that reminds everyone about the presence of his machoism (incase anyone forgot he was there or was listening to their music). He will go drink water from the fountain across the room between every set (roughly ever 7 minutes). This is a time where he can cool off from the heavy weights lifted, glance around for some good Lululemon yoga pants and show his pumped out veins to the rest of the guys. He makes the fitness centre a little more entertaining. Thank you.
9. “The Vegan Feminist” - Beware of this individual, she may look small and frail in her physique but her mouth will voice facts thrice her size. When it comes to opinions, she is the ultimate fiery dragon Super Mario has to slay in order to get to Princess Peach. She is the last level of all opinions and she not only defends herself while speaking, but also takes it upon herself to be a saviour and a voice of all the minorities in her generation. She will often interrupt the professor in the middle of a lecture and ask him/her to edit the slide and use more “gender neutral” language for teaching. She will shun history for being to "male-centric." She will quote from Judith Butler, Michel Foucault and Karen Horney and show you photos by Cindy Sherman. She will remind you that Cambodian kids in sweatshops made all the clothes you are wearing right now. She will show videos of meat factories and make you hate burgers. She will also remind you how oppressed you are as a woman, even in North America, and will convince you to move to Norway.
10. “Someone Like Me” - This individual is female. She walks between campus with a straight/serious face but will crack into a huge smile the moment she sees an acquaintance/friend. She is often carrying way too many things in her hand and if you ask her about it, she will complain about how much wrist pain she has because she carries her camera everywhere. She is often running from one class to another and will shout out “hey Samantha,” and run to her next class with her bag dangling behind her. When stopped for a brief chitchat, she'll overwhelm you by talking very fast, and will use high tones when talking about things she’s excited about. During these brief conversations, plans like “let’s catch up over lunch or coffee” are brought up and both parties seem very keen on. However, as the semester unravels, no one follows through and they prefer to keep in touch and follow updates through various forms of social media.
That’s a wrap folks! Share this if you laughed as much as I did.
Warning: Some incidents may not reflect actual reality and are written solely for satirical purposes.
Mina Mohit © 2014
Mina is a multimedia journalist currently based in London, U.K.
subscribe below to receive notifications of new posts via email