Academic Lethargy

Un­ser Au­tor Ross kommt aus dem ver­reg­ne­ten Nor­den Eng­lands. Letz­ten Herbst ver­liebte er sich in eine Re­gens­bur­ger Erasmus-Studentin. Nach zwei Se­mes­tern war ihr Aus­lands­auf­ent­halt vor­bei. Sie ging zu­rück nach Re­gens­burg – und er kam mit. Doch die Stadt und ihre Ein­woh­ner be­sche­ren dem Zu­a­groastn seit­dem den ein oder an­de­ren “what the fuck?!”-Moment. In sei­ner wö­chent­li­chen Ko­lumne „Ra­tis­bo­nisms” er­zählt Ross mit sei­nem dry english wit von Re­gens­burgs Eigenheiten.

If I had been the Professor in the following lecture, I would have ended it all, pen through the heart there and then; such was the slothfulness of those in front of him.

I recently took the opportunity to attend a lecture presented in English. The subject was scientific and I wasn’t surprised to see a strong majority unfolding Macbooks and frantically tapping tablets. I found my seat away from the main concentration, a prime observation spot. Having never studied this subject, I accepted the fact that I was about to have my mind blown. I had even prepared an escape protocol, should I be asked to explain anything.

It began slowly, with the lecturer quizzing those gathered about the previous lesson. What could they remember? Why was a certain method better or worse than another? And so on. Ghastly reticence engulfed the room. Not a sound but the incessant ticking of the clock could be heard for what felt like a decade. Hardly anyone raised their heads. This theme of questions followed by awkward silence continued. Expensive laptop screens were occupied by Facebook and it became apparent that no one was listening. Befuddled gazes were all that the Professor received upon requiring the slightest interaction from his students.

Ross 5

Where I studied in England, our professors were more like oppressors. If you thought about logging onto your favorite social network, they could sense it and they’d be pissed off! If no one could be bothered to recall information from the previous lecture, they left. It was harsh but extremely effective, like locking your child in the cupboard for an hour when they don’t eat their peas. They learn quickly.

To his credit, the Prof cracked on. He went on to explain a simple equation of adding and dividing a few single figure numbers. “So what is the answer?…” I couldn’t take it any longer! “It’s ten”. Oh shit. My foot was well and truly in it, my cover was blown. He looked up and paused when he realized that he didn’t recognize me. I realised I was sweating and my face was now a rosy shade of red. I was the only person who had responded to him in the last hour and I had no idea what he was talking about. I just knew how to do a primary school equation. To my flooding relief, he said “good” and moved on. The rest of the lecture carried on in the same vein. No one cared what this guy was saying. I could see over the shoulder of a lethargy riddled brute in front of me and he was playing a game in which the screen showed an abstract picture and you had to guess the band. Four beetles, each holding a different instrument … It took him seven attempts.

The end came abruptly with the Prof informing the group that there wouldn’t be a lecture the following week. This roused the group from their slumber and a rumble of voices rolled through the hall. “But there will be a tutorial instead! I’ll send the required exercises via email.” Silence.

Then came the knocking, which I have learned to be a sign of appreciation. No one paid any attention or course fees for that matter but the evidently appreciated it all the same. In England the price of studying at university has increased astronomically. I’m certain that the students in this lecture would have taken at least one or two notes if they were paying almost ten thousand Euros for the privilege of sitting there.


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