Student who knows the least talks the most

Illustration by Raya Deussen

Although the spooky season is over and flu season has peaked, a far more irritating terror has swept across campus at an unprecedented rate. Lewis & Clark students have begun reporting an alarming number of peers who are completely uninformed and yet dominate the class discussion. The details of the report vary, but three things are consistent. All outbursts were devoid of any substantive information, unrelated to the topic at hand, and began with the phrase “In my experience as a PolySci/Philosophy double major …”

It is an all too familiar and frustrating situation. You are sitting in your 8 a.m. class, listening to a lecture trying not to lose focus, when the student who has spent the entire period furiously pretending to take notes while doing their homework for their next class raises their hand. The tension in the room bubbles as this student, who has already asked five questions about the lecture from two classes ago, prepares to derail the entire class again.

One such student, Richard “Dick” Johnson ’22, has since achieved a previously unprecedented level of class participation in his History 130 course, to the chagrin of his peers. To get insight into the thought process of these students, we conducted several painful interviews with Johnson who provided appropriately valueless statements.

“As a PolySci and Philosophy double major, I like to talk in class as frequently as possible to provide some insight to my classmates,” Johnson said. “I can tell they’re all too intimidated to ask for my help outside of class, so I like to leave them a little bit of information.”

However, his peers do not appear to be as receptive to the information as he thinks. All of his peers agreed that Johnson was mildly to extremely irritating and probably had no clue what he was talking about. One student, Chaz Normanz ’21, went as far as to say, “Yeah, that dude makes class a straight-up bad time. I saw the professor roll his eyes and groan before calling on him.”

When asked if he was up to date in his classes, Johnson nervously laughed.

“I do not read for my classes because I do not see any point,” he said. “I already know about history — I’m living in it. I also listen to the Drunk History podcast, so I basically know more than the rest of the class anyway. Probably even the professor.”

Johnson’s professor, Dr. Gary Smellman expressed a concerning lack of surprise over Johnson’s questionable homework habits. 

“Yeah, I have known Dick (Johnson) has not been doing any of the homework,” Smellman said with a disappointed look on his face.“Last week he tried to explain Canada’s current political climate. Aside from it not having much to do with the French Revolution, he was also not correct in any of his assertions.”

Unfortunately for everyone, Johnson has no plans to slow down his participation; rather, he plans to accelerate.

“I think that in the next class period I am going to try out my own mini-lecture or something,” he said. “I feel overqualified to teach the class, so I might as well take over. I’m thinking of calling my study group ‘Dick Help.’”

Although the topic of Dick Johnson’s lecture has not been decided and its factual accuracy may be in question, one thing is certain: no one will care.

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