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The Eight Types Of Students You’ll Find In Your Forum Class

The Forum Building is a rite of passage here at Penn State. It’s basically a guarantee that every student will suffer through at least one — if not many — classes in this infamous circular building.

Since these classrooms often host gen eds and intro classes, a wide variety of students can be seen hurrying in and out of these doors every day. We compiled a list of the eight types of students you’re sure to find in your Forum class.

The Great Participator

There’s always that one kid who has their hand in the air before the professor is even done asking a question. Whether they truly know the answer or not, they say their response with conviction and enthusiasm. Sometimes this kid can be as savior, as they prevent those awkward silent pauses after questions. But other days, their voice sounds like inescapable yammering.

The Debater

While similar to the great participator, the debater is unique in that they almost always disagree with what is being said. They seem to have just enough knowledge about every possible topic to try and pick a fight with the professor. While some professors are definitely more tolerant with the debater than others, they can be quite entertaining.

The Jack In The Box

It is pretty easy to predict when these students are going to pop up — syllabus day, midterm day, and final day. You don’t truly notice how empty a classroom is until it is exam day and you have never seen any of the kids sitting around you before. How are they surviving without those clicker points? We’ll never know.

The Snacker

It’s with great jealously that you watch this student pull out their snacks. Maybe you ate breakfast as you walked to this class, but your mouth will still savor at whatever they pull out, whether it’s Cheez-Its, an apple, or even an entire plated meal. This student is clearly prepared and doesn’t mess around when it comes to their food, consistently leaving you wondering why you didn’t think of that.

The Sleeper

It could be an 8 a.m. class or it could be a 3 p.m. class. This student came in to the class with no intention of paying attention. They didn’t even open their backpack when class started. Instead, they pulled their hoodie up, slouched their head, and will be awoken by the shuffle of kids leaving. Why do they even bother coming here?

The Over The Top Note Taker

The professor could be introducing themselves on the first day of class, and you can hear this kid’s laptop keys clicking away.  It’s hard to understand how these kids fingers don’t cramp up with all of the relentless typing they do. Calm down, kid. I’m pretty sure the professor’s hometown will not be on the exam.

The One Who Definitely Has Their Life Together

While characteristics can vary greatly, you know this student when you see them. It’s the girl who has jeans on for an 8 a.m. or the guy who keeps papers in — gasp — organized folders. You judge, no doubt. But in reality, we can do nothing but look on with envy as these students appear to have gotten eight hours of sleep last night, have next week’s assignment already done, and probably saved a kitten from a tree on their way to class.

The Seat Buddy

Even with the size of the classes in forum, it is possible that you may not have a friend. Nothing is more important in those first few days of classes than scouting out and picking a faithful seat buddy. They can be relied on to sit in the same seat every class, and expect you to do the same and may even exchange some casual conversation. While they may not be a friend for life, a seat buddy can even transform into a homework and study buddy if you choose wisely.

About the Author

Janelle Rothacker

Currently a junior studying Kinesiology, Janelle is proud to call upstate NY (the real part, not the 30 minutes north of the city part) home. She's an avid runner and enjoys everything and anything sports. She also has a love of pancakes, avoids the HUB like the plague during the in between classes rush, and can quote the majority of Friends episodes from memory. If you want to hear all the embarrassing things she does daily, or want to contact her, follow her on twitter at @janellerothack or email her at [email protected]


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