I could never be a professor.

The sheer amount of crap that they have to put up with from students is just mind-boggling. I couldn’t handle it. I would have to light somone on fire as a coping mechanism. How they manage to do their jobs daily without losing their sanity is beyond me.

There’s a notable difference between how people act on their first day of high school as compared to their first day of university.

You see, everyone makes it to high school. The law demands it. So no one goes into high school on the first day thinking that they’re hot shit just for making it to high school.

Not everyone makes it to university, however. And not everyone makes it to a university such as Queen’s. For a lot of people, getting into Queen’s isn’t that big of a deal. I never went around bragging about it, and not too many people did.

But some people get into university thinking that they’ve attained some level of greatness just for being there. And that’s a problem, especially when you place one such person into a classroom with 400 other people who have all attained that same level of greatness.

Let’s look at the situation here:

1. You’re sitting in a room with 400 other people of the same age and approximately equal intelligence.

2. There’s a professor at the front of the room who doesn’t know you or anyone else in the room.

3. You’re an egoist.

Your course of action is painfully obvious. You need to show off your high degree of intelligence so as to:

a) Make the professor aware that you are better than the other 400, and
b) Make sure that the other 400 know that they are not on the same level as you and that you alone are worthy of your place in that classroom.

And in trying to show off how brilliant they are, some people say the stupidest fucking things. Honestly, I can’t remember the last time that anything has managed to annoy me this much.

Like yesterday, for example, in philosophy class the professor was discussing power relationships, and as an example she briefly mentioned the relationship between a man and a woman.

Some girl in the fourth row raised her hand and said "The relationship between a man and a woman would be considered a sort of microcosm of the society in which we live today then, right?"

And the professor laughed a little and said "No, I think that would be stretching it just a little. I don’t see how you could justify that without it breaking down somewhere."

And the girl was silent for the rest of the class.

Now, what I would have said was: "I’m glad that you know the word ‘microcosm’, but in this class we try to string together theories, as opposed to slapping together big words and hoping that they make some sort of sense. That’s what elementary school was for."

A better example of this happened today, actually, in politics class. The professor asked a very simple question as a way of leading in to his lecture: "What is an animal?"

And someone from the front row raised their hand and said:

"The species homo sapien is differentiated from all others by its capacity for reason. Animals lack such a capacity, and as such are distinct from human beings, who are able to use logic and reason to their advantage."

(That’s not the whole of what she said. Her full answer lasted closer to a full thirty seconds, and was full of more redundancies and needlessly wordy language than you see here. All in all, it may just have cracked my top ten list of the stupidest things that I’ve ever heard. In fact, if you just repeat that sentence three or four times, you’ll probably be really close to what she actually said.)

Are you fucking kidding me? First of all, no one ever says "homo sapien" unless they’re trying to impress someone. Not even professors. Secondly, what the fuck are you rambling on about? He asked what an animal was, not what a human was. Shut the fuck up. 

The professor responded by saying: "That was a great description of a human being, but I was looking for the definition of animal."

I would have said something more along the lines of "Alright, that was good answer right up to the point that you started speaking. I’m pretty sure a second grader could have given me a better answer than that, since a second grader probably would have actually answered the question that I asked. Thanks for wasting my time though."

Maybe I’m nuts, but I think that in an Institution of Higher Learning such as this, people should be more concerned with actually learning as opposed to sounding smart.

The reality of the situation is this: We’re not in university because we know a lot. We’re in university because there’s a lot that we don’t know. And we know that we don’t know much. And the professors know that we don’t know much. So I fail to see the purpose of this facade.

It’s not everyone. And it’s not a majority of people. In a class of 400, there are usually about three or four of these people. But those three or four people have thus far really tested my nerves.