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The 9 Professors You’ll Have In College

When watching movies or TV shows set in college, you’ve probably had a laugh at some of the professors on screen because, admit it, you’ve had ones just like them. Although most TV characters are based on stereotypes, many of them are inspired by reality. So while many of these professor types are oversimplified generalizations, chances are you’ll come across a professor with one or more of these characteristics. Check out our list of the nine professors you’ll have in college.

The Hot Professor

If a little eye candy isn’t an incentive to learn, then what is? Sometimes you’ll get a professor that makes you never want to miss a class, because then you’d miss out on seeing his gorgeous face every Tuesday and Thursday. Usually the hot professor isn’t just blessed with good looks, he’s got the whole package — charm, wit, smarts, and the perfect smile. Victoria*, a freshman at Douglas College, realized that while having a hot professor is fun, it has its downsides. “I actually looked forward to going to his classes [but] sometimes it made it hard to concentrate ‘cause I was just being like a little schoolgirl, thinking he was so hot.” Why scope out frat boys when you can look at your professor and learn something at the same time?

The Very-Close-To-Retirement Professor

You’re bound to get at least one old professor at some point in your college career. There are those professors whose classes benefit from years of experience, and then there are those profs who use every last bit of energy they have to resist the pull of retirement.

Whether they’re having trouble working the projector or forgetting what they were going on about, some students will find it cute or funny, while others might find it a bit annoying. Hannah, a sophomore at NYU, had an elderly professor who fit this stereotype. “He was constantly trailing off sentences, going off on tangents, a little out of touch with modern society,” says Hannah. “If a younger professor had acted the same way, it would have seemed completely unprofessional, but the class’s general reaction was, ‘Aw, he’s just like my grandpa!’”

The Professor Who Tries to Be Hip

These types of professors may be older, but they like to try to keep up with their students. In an attempt to try to connect with you and your classmates, they’ll throw pop culture references into their lectures — Jersey Shore this, Kim Kardashian that — and drop the latest slang every now and then. If they’re not talking about the latest Twitter trending topic, they’re singing YouTube’s latest viral hit. Sometimes even if they are really up to speed on the interests of our generation, their attempts to be “the cool professor” fall flat. Although professors like these are getting laughed at, instead of laughed with, you can’t fault them for trying!

The Dull Professor

It’s inevitable that you will experience the all-too-common snooze-inducing professor. Monotone voice? Check. Dry subject material? Check. Slowest and longest class ever? Definitely check.

Michelle, a senior at UNC-Chapel Hill, had a professor who seemed to specialize in boring. “The entire lecture consisted of him droning on and on in the most boring voice you could possibly imagine — it was near impossible to actually pay attention, let alone stay awake!” she says. “It was almost like his voice had some magical power to make a large room of college students fall asleep within a minute.”

Although no one has died from a boring lecture, it can make already boring material even more boring. The Dull Professor has the ability to slow down time and cause your eyelids to become heavy. Their monotonous voice seems to push into the deepest of daydreams (which, let’s be honest, is the only thing getting you through the class!).

The Eccentric Professor

For some reason, academia has no shortage of kooky personalities. Sometimes you get the oddball professors who add a little bit of color to an otherwise drab classroom. These professors’ eccentricity can range from just a few strange habits to completely bizarre behavior.  Roxanna, a junior at Hiram College, had a philosophy professor who wore a different Hawaiian shirt every day. “He told us that it was his life goal never to wear the same Hawaiian shirt twice during a single school year,” she says.

If they’re not dressed down in a Hawaiian shirt, they’ve got their best vagabond (or at least minimal effort) look going on. They might speak in riddles or encourage you to meditate in class. If they’re not impertinently starting the class with pictures of their taxonomy collection or speaking in riddles, they’re encouraging you to do certain yoga poses and meditation in your seat.

At least these professors make for good stories!

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The Comedian Professor

If you get a professor who sees class as a stand-up show, consider yourself lucky. Once in a while, you’ll get a comedian professor who is so funny you get not only an education but also an ab workout from laughing so hard. They have the charisma to get the class engaged, and not only do they have an affinity for humor, they also feed off of your laughs. As long as the class howls after each quip, they’ll continue to keep the atmosphere light.

Then there is the goofball professor that is not necessarily funny, although they try to be. His or her jokes may incite eye rolls instead of laughter, but they still keep the mood light. Enjoy this professor, no matter what form they come in. Any sense of humor is a gift, especially during stressful points in the semester.

The Professor with a Thick Accent

There are some professors you know you’d learn a lot from… if only you understood what they were saying. You turn to your peers and see that they’re wearing the same baffled expressions that you currently have on your face. As the professor goes on with their lecture, you wonder if he or she can tell that no one can decipher what is coming out of their mouth.

The stages of dealing with a professor with a heavy accent are as follows: confusion, amusement, panic, frustration, and finally, acceptance. You finally accept that you’ll either eventually get used to the accent or will be left to teach yourself from the textbook and PowerPoint slides.

The Intimidating Professor

You will no doubt come across a professor who seems to never smile. Once they walk into the room, you immediately feel tension and anxiety fill the air. It’s their stare that sends shivers down your spine — you definitely wouldn’t want to get on their bad side! Although they invite you to come by during office hours if you have any questions, you interpret the look in their eyes and the tone of their voice to say: “Don’t you dare waste my time!”

You might dread the class, but he or she has you on your best behavior. Although the increase in your heart rate every time you come to class might be a bit to deal with, the fear forces you to come to class prepared with all your readings done — which can’t be a bad thing, right?

The Role Model Professor

The Role Model Professor is the one who gets you through college. No matter how stressful your day is, his or her presence brings warmth and comfort. Whether their passion for social justice inspires you to sign some petitions, or their general kindness makes you want to be a better person, they’ve got you thinking “I want to be just like The Role Model Professor when I grow up!”

Ruth*, a freshman at Trinity Western University, admires her Spanish professor because he brings more to the class than what’s on the curriculum. “He’s very experienced in his travels. He’s been in the military for five years and he’s this big guy, but when you talk to him, he’s very down to earth and not as tough as he comes off to be,” says Ruth. “His aura exudes grace and kindness and he is definitely someone that I look up to and can appreciate.”

These are just some of the professors you might have during your college years. Are there are certain types you’ve had that haven’t been mentioned? Let us know in the comments section!

*Names have been changed

Sarah Casimong is a graduate of Kwantlen Polytechnic University, with a bachelor's degree in journalism. She has written for the Vancouver Observer, Cave Magazine and Urban Pie. She is also the scriptwriter for Beautiful Minds Radio on Vancouver Co-op Radio 100.5 FM, and occasionally conducts interviews for the "personal story" segment of the show. In her spare time she enjoys British music and television, playing the Mass Effect and Dragon Age video games and getting lost in really good chick lits. You can follow her on twitter: @sarahcasimong
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