Ten people you’ll see in every lecture

July 03, 2017
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What students know and what newcomers soon find out is that only a very small part of attending lectures is about learning. The rest is about people-watching. These are 10 of the people you have seen (or will see) when you should be paying attention.

The hydration-obsessed

These people were born with a Voss bottle. Their over-engineered bottles always take pride of place on their tiny tables and they’ll sip them whenever there’s a moment’s silence. To be avoided at all costs.


There are three options when you’re late to a lecture. The first is to write it off and pretend that you’ll catch up. The second is to use most lecture theatres’ convenient back entrance to enter without disturbing proceedings and the third is to come in through the front door. This third type is usually rewarded with a front row seat right next to their tutor they hardly see.

Pointless question askers

No one knows why these people do it. Some people say it’s public academic masturbating, other people call it a lack of basic social understanding. All you’ll know is to stay away from pointless question askers as much as possible.

Pointless question answerers

Believe it or not, there is a type of person that enjoys and even looks forward to answering a lecturer’s question. Although it’s nice to positively engage with course content, it should never, ever be taken to this extreme.

High school friends  

These people only surface about a quarter of the way through the semester, when Ben, Simmo and Charlie all figure out they do International Politics together. If you’re unlucky enough to sit near them, you’ll know exactly how they’re finding life after rowing, and how much more ‘hectic’ they reckon uni is than high school.

Mature-aged students

There’s a mature-aged student in every single lecture, without fail. They’re not nearly as annoying as the pointless question askers, but would it kill them, just once, to relay an anecdote that’s both a) related to the subject and b) concise?

Online shoppers

Some lecture-goers have gotten it into their heads that a lecture that the perfect time to buy new Flyknits, or browse Pinterest for festival outfit inspiration. Don’t hate on them though, at least they’re getting something done in a lecture, which is better than most.

People there “out of interest”

Some people think that it’s their responsibility to take full advantage of the untold paths of knowledge that universities offer to their students. These people attend your lectures because they find your course “interesting” or they’re a fan of the guest lecturer. If you don’t want to feel bad about yourself, steer clear of them.

Notebook purists who take all notes by hand

How do you know if someone writes their notes by hand? Don’t worry, they’ll tell you. You don’t have to be a good people-watcher to figure out who these guys are. They’re the ones scribbling and grimacing while they try to keep up with a world that types out its notes. Sit as close to them as possible, for the free entertainment.

The lecturer who loves memes

Typically male and a fan of tan chinos, there’s nothing these lecturers love more than a good meme, no matter how outdated. As you’ve seen, these guys have to put up with a pretty weird audience, so the next time one of them puts up something to try to liven things up, the least you can do is give them a loud pity laugh.

Callum McDermott

Callum studies Arts at the University of Melbourne when he's not drinking any coffee he can get his hands on.

Feature image: Giphy

Digital signage image: Francisco Osorio, Flickr Creative Commons license