Weird Classmates: Tales from the Classroom

by Lilith Lillian Martirosyan

I’m no stranger to snacking in class, especially when it’s something small just to hold me over until the end of lecture, like a handful of almonds or apple slices. At most, I’ve gone so far as to munch on a few carrot sticks, which once became a mistake in a dead silent lecture hall. I’ve never felt that gut-wrenching starvation that forced me to eat an actual meal in class. Yet, that was not the case for one classmate of mine who did so daily while also answering the professor’s questions.

My first economics course was scheduled near lunchtime. On the first day of the quarter, out of the fifty students enrolled in the course, one student made his presence apparent with his antsy behavior: looking at the clock religiously, shaking his foot up and down, and staring at the board with a vacant expression.

Perhaps his schedule featured back-to-back classes or he had a job immediately following the course’s end because as soon as class was over, he raced out of the room.

Whatever the case was, it seemed as if he anticipated  dropping this class, but, to my surprise, he returned  the next day.

Little did I know, his antsiness was a consequence of his unfulfilled appetite. This time  he came  prepared with an entire lunch made for  lecture: a monstrously thick sandwich, granola bars, fruit, chips, and  a large thermos of water to wash it all down.

It was an unusual sight, especially since the professor started to take notice: looking toward the back of the class each time a package of food was opened with a grimace and furrowed eyebrows. I assumed the days of repetitive foil crinkling would force the professor to call him out for being disruptive, but  this never happened. The student ended up delivering  a thought-provoking, in-depth analysis one day that left the room dumbfounded at his ability to simultaneously eat a full course meal and engage in discussion.

After weeks of inattentive behavior, at that moment, it seemed as though he received the instructor’s “blessing” to eat in class as the cold looks he received disappeared.  

by Summer Wong

It was that time of the quarter —  where sleep deprivation, caffeine intake, and stress levels reached an all time high. The exhaustion was present everywhere on campus —  in the students’ eyes, haggard faces, and in their comfortable attire — sweatpants, sweatshirts, hair tied up in a bun and glasses instead of contact lenses. During finals week fall quarter of this year, I had my eyes set on getting straight A’s in all my classes, and nothing but a few hours’ loss of sleep every night was keeping me from achieving that goal. I was incredibly determined and studied as if I was a machine.

I anticipated my organic chemistry final to be the hardest final I had.  My heart pumped  furiously against my chest and my adrenaline shot up as I felt the venti double shot Starbucks espresso kick into my system. As everyone was getting settled in the Physical Sciences lecture hall, putting backpacks and purses in the front of the classroom, I noticed that the girl sitting next to me hid a bright pink knitted scarf under her leg. At the time, I didn’t think too much of it. Maybe it was a good luck charm or she was keeping it just in case she got cold in the middle of the test?

When our  professor announced we could begin our tests, I threw myself into it, trying my best to ignore the girl with the pink scarf tucked under her leg.

However, I found that difficult when twenty minutes into the exam, the girl started fidgeting noisily in her chair. Taking a quick peek at her, it was obvious that she has not studied for the exam and had not written anything down. I was in the middle of solving a meticulous scientific equation when I heard her tapping a pair of knitting needles that magically appeared from  the pockets of her ripped boyfriend jeans.

 Astounded by what was going on next to me, I was temporarily distracted as she took the knitting needles and began to knit her pink scarf under the tablet arm. I was shocked. Here I was, trying to get an A on the exam like it was life and death, and this girl not only gave up on the exam, but she also decided to do something as random as knitting in this stressful environment. It was the weirdest and funniest thing I’ve ever seen a classmate do.

by Elyse Joseph

On the first morning of a physics lecture a couple of years ago, in a class of around 250 students, the instructor was giving a demonstration on Archimedes’s principle and called up a volunteer.  The young man she chose walked around the cart with  his back facing a  small section of the lecture hall, where I was seated. As he lowered himself to get a better look at whatever he was doing, the waistline of his pants began slipping off, exposing his butt crack in the process.

It wasn’t just a little glimpse of the crack. There was a solid six inches of butt laid bare. One second, the class was just trying to get through  syllabus day; the next, we’d all been mooned.

I sat in shock and avoided making any commentary or — heaven forbid — laughing, but little did I know, the best had yet to come. While I sat and bore this new burden in silence, I could hear those in the row behind me making small commentary in the vein of, “Oh my God…Oh goodness…” and gasping a bit in… surprise? Horror?

Only a fraction of the class had seen this appalling moment. The  initial shock was just passing when suddenly  the young man turned to face the whiteboard. His back now faced  the central and largest section of the class. He bent his knees ominously.

In that moment I heard one distinct voice say, “Oh no…”

He never did end up bending  down (presumably ever) again.

The real challenge for me, however, was restraining my laughter at the alarm in the voice from the row behind me because no one wants to see butts in physics. It’s just not why we go to physics lecture.