By Jack Mandaville I want to make a few of my...
The Veteran’s Guide to College: Part II
Now that we’ve had an introduction to higher learning for returning veterans, it’s time to go a little deeper and look at the awesome levels of douchey-ness that one encounters on a typical college campus. After all, the hardest part of secondary education isn’t the tests and essays – it’s the willpower it will take to keep yourself from giving Spartan-kicks to the chest of half the people you meet.
I’m getting this one out of the way first simply because, for those of you who haven’t attended college yet, you’re under the mistaken impression that “hippies” will be the hardest to deal with. You may think that the guy who is talking about all the “baby killers” over in Iraq and Afghanistan and how the murderous tyrannical United States of America is oppressive will make you want to refresh your rear-naked choke skills, but in reality, you’re wrong. This guy is actually quite entertaining.
The reality is they are pure comedy – kind of the court jester of the college classroom. At some level I don’t even think they take themselves seriously. While everyone else is debating things like war and politics, the hippie will inadvertently bring levity to a discussion by throwing out wickedly-intelligent anecdotes like “bro, the reason all people in the world are so angry is because they aren’t, like, in touch with the fifth dimension and the pyramid within their soul, bro.” I don’t care who you are, that’s some funny shit and in no way can be taken seriously. Laugh at this person, pat them on the head, and thank them for being just like a movie character.
The Cute Girl in a Rush:
In almost every class there will be a girl that comes in late to class, but will make sure every person there knows she has arrived and why it wasn’t on time. The look from the teacher that should inspire a student to sit down and shut up will only prompt this girl to loudly sigh and state how sorry she is for being late and proceed to give multiple reasons why; none of which are interesting or matter to anyone except her – and to the guy who is unlucky enough to fall for it.
Avoid this girl like the plague. She will suck the very life from your soul because, though she will pretend to be interested, she will only be waiting for an opportunity to share more of her drama and suck you into the whirlwind of ex-boyfriends, late rent, and car accidents that is her life. Break contact and reengage with another target.
While this person can be female or male, it has been my experience that they are almost always women (feel free to add your story in the comment section). They are the person who, at every possible point in any given class, will figure out a way to work their agenda into the curriculum. I don’t care if the lecture is on George Washington’s leadership, they will manage to fire off a comment about how oil is driving the leadership of the country to oppress poor, indigenous cultures around the globe and kill baby seals. They read just enough to be dangerous but not enough to understand how wrong they are. There is no need to engage this one directly. Use indirect fire – offer up a question that you know will get “the agenda” to froth at the mouth and go on a rant. Then sit back and use it for study time while they drone on about “the man.” This is where having a laptop comes in really, really handy.
You’re not in high school anymore; this guy can be of great assistance to you. Act accordingly and use your judgment, however, because he can also monopolize your time by asking you about how many wizard points you racked up in combat and how he would have joined if it weren’t for his asthma, acid reflux, lactose intolerance, peanut allergies, sinusitis, dyspepsia, polio, leptospirosis, tuberculosis, diphtheria, and Brazilian hemorrhagic fever.
The Other Veteran:
I was in one of my classes for over three weeks when I heard a barely-audible curse from the guy sitting right next to me after the professor made some comment about that “war for oil” going on. After looking at him for a minute or two, I finally just said “who were you with?”
Out of a class of over 50 people, we had managed to sit right next to each other. Not a single other vet in the whole class besides the two of us. I wouldn’t think so much of it, but something very similar happened in three of my classes – another fellow infantryman and one a Marine. We manage to find each other without even knowing and, believe me, it makes a huge difference. Finding others who have even a remotely similar background to you will help make the adjustment to college life much easier. No, they won’t be in every class, but when they are it will bring huge smiles and keep you from punching holes in the walls when the professor starts talking about how the military is just a tool of the industrialist, corporate machine known as the United States of America.
And that is a subject to be covered in the next chapter – the professors: how to pass their class without assaulting the objective that is their pulpit of nonsense.