If you walk into any lecture theatre across the university campus, you will be confronted by a diverse group of people. Some will be furiously typing away on their laptops, others will be checking their Twitter sneakily under the bench and a few may even be having a quick nap at the back of the room. It is obvious that we all have a different approach to tackling lectures. Here are some of the most common kinds of people you will find inhabiting the seats.
1. The Motivated
First up, is the person we all aspire to be. This person is likely to have already looked over the slides and made notes before even entering the hall. During the lecture, they do not stop writing. It’s as if they are being powered by some hidden machinery that makes them completely immune to hand cramp. People who are part of this group are the only ones who manage to keep up with the lecturer’s pace.
2. The Latecomer
This person is a serial offender when it comes to waltzing in after the lecturer has already begun to speak. It is clear they rolled (reluctantly) out of bed roughly fifteen minutes before the lecture was due to start. Common items of clothing worn may include tracksuits, oversized jumpers or anything that looks suspiciously like pyjamas. At least they’re attending though, right? That is more than can be said for this next kind of person.
“The daydreamer has perfectly mastered the art of zoning out.”
3. The Absentee
This person remains safely tucked up in bed for most of their lectures, even the ones in the afternoon. They only make a fleeting appearance once or twice each term and regret turning up each time they do. Lecture Capture (for those lucky people whose courses can use it) is the best friend that they could not live without.
4. The Daydreamer
These guys are easy to spot. They are normally sitting back, staring into space, with a blank notepad forgotten on the desk in front of them. Physically they are in the room, but mentally they could be anywhere. Perhaps they are reliving drunken antics from last night, planning an essay for another module that’s due the next day, or even thinking about rustling up some fajitas for lunch. The daydreamer has perfectly mastered the art of zoning out.
5. The Online Shopper
Also dotted about are the online shoppers. The lecturer will assume these people are typing away behind their screens, completely and utterly engaged in whatever complicated theory he is examining. In reality, they have just managed to nab a gorgeous pair of heels for 50% of the original price and are hunting down the bag to match. After the bargains have been purchased, there might even be time to catch up on this week’s bake off before the lecture is over.
6. The One Who Is Always Asleep
This person can be found languishing somewhere at the back of the room. They carefully position themselves behind someone else’s head so that they are obstructed from the lecturer’s view. Once they are safely hidden, the head goes down and does not resurface until it is time to get up and go. Perhaps they are subconsciously absorbing all the information from the lecture, with the least amount of effort – who knows?
7. The Confused
To finish off is someone who I’m sure we have all been at one time or another. This person tries hard to understand what is going on, but often leaves the lecture hall with less of an idea about the topic than before they went in. Examples of behaviour they might display are loud sighing, head shaking and pen slamming (when things get particularly tough).
Which type of person sums you up the best? Maybe you start the week as the motivated one but by 5pm on a Friday you have become the absentee. Next time you’re in a crowded lecture theatre, have a quick glance around. How many kinds of people can you see?