I had my final class of the summer last night and, after handing in my scary Mormon paper, had nothing to do but watch my classmates give presentations on their own papers. Some were good, most were not so much. It didn't help matters that I was in a terrible mood from a crappy day at the office, a day made crappy by grad students who simply do not hush up and do what they're told because they think they're the most brilliant person ever to grace academia, and that we should all feel grateful to catch a glimpse of the sun shining out their ass.
I spent the first hour of the presentations replaying the season premiere of The Hills on a loop in my head, but one can only muse "God, Spencer is the douchiest douche that ever douched" so many times before her brain begins to short-circuit (quick side note-- if there are any bars in the Columbia Heights/Mt. Pleasant area who would organize a weekly viewing party for this show, you'd earn my undying gratitude. Based on the amount of shame-laden GChats about The Hills that I participated in yesterday, I really think there's a market for this). I came out of my reality TV coma just in time for a presentation on Cuba that I'm pretty sure was taken verbatim from Wikipedia. And went on for FORTY MINUTES. I was ready to chew on my arm from boredom and frustration. "Really, the Cuban Missile Crisis was the closest the world has ever come to nuclear war? What Earth-shattering news! As graduate students in American history, surely no one here has EVER heard such a shocking interpretation of the past! Do teach us more, O Wise One!"
If you can't tell, I was deeply annoyed by this point. It's not that I hate my fellow grad students, but after seven years in academia I am so very over students who just yaaaaaapyapyap to hear themselves talk. They never bother to ask questions because they don't want to look stupid, (even though, um, we're students! people who by definition are supposed to be learning) and so instead just bleat out whatever trite trusim happens to be on their mind. I swear to God, two weeks ago a classmate of mine made the brilliant, Eisteinian statement "Well, y'know... the world revolves around money."
WOW. Fuck me sideways with your genius, friend.
After you've been in school for a while, you get to recognize stock types specific to your program and can almost immediately tell from Day One how much of a tool someone is going to be. With this in mind, I present now what will be the first in a new series here on EJ Takes Life: People You Meet in Grad School. This first PYMIGS is dedicated to the most annoying person in my most recent class, someone I wanted to irrationally hate almost from the moment I saw her, but who did not take long to actually earn my ire through basically just sucking at life.
The Unattractive Belligerent Pro-Israel Girl
This girl likely did her undergrad at Berkeley, Michigan or one of the Seven Sister Schools. If there is a single mention of Israel, the Middle East, Judaism or the Holocaust in the entire class, her face will light up and she will lurch forward in her seat, suddenly eager to share her memories of her birthright trip, even if they have nothing to do with the subject at hand. She will scowl a lot, have very frizzy hair and carry a bag make of natural fibers. Odds are high that at some point in the semester she will accuse the professor of being anti-Israel and/or equate Palestinians with terrorists.