It is said that the only way to really get to know a person is to have a fight. I say that the only way to really get to know a * university * student * is to observe their behavior when they feel in danger, i.e. just before an exam.
Yes, I know, it sounds like an episode of SuperQuark, but several years of university, and so many exams that I lost count, taught me that it is precisely in these moments that you really understand who you are in front of. In short, other than lessons, parties, afternoons in the library and coffee breaks at the bar next to the faculty. To find out who your classmates are, wait for the first exam. If there is one other thing I have learned over the course of my academic career, it is that the “exam types” are always the same, regardless of the subject, the teacher, the number of credits and the modality.
Here are the specimens – again to put it to Alberto Angela – that meet punctually at each exam:
The one who would rather face a Bengal tiger. With bare hands.
Let’s start our discussion with the most common and most easily recognizable type (and luckily, so you can keep away from it): the one in panic. He stands alone in a corner, surrounded * by books and notes which he continues to consult feverishly, and every now and then you see him muttering something to himself. It is not known if he is repeating some notion, in a last, desperate attempt to get it into his head, or if he is reciting a prayer addressed to the god of CFU. He’s pale as a ghost, his forehead is shiny with sweat and you can’t figure out what’s more likely, whether he’ll cry at any moment or run to the bathroom to throw up.
The one who doesn’t even know why he enrolled in college (and doesn’t ask himself the question).
If on the one hand there are those who go to the exams with death in their hearts, on the other there are those who present themselves to the appeal as if this whole university business did not even concern them. He smiles carefree, shows off the healthy complexion of someone who has spent the last few weeks outdoors rather than indoors studying and candidly declares that he does not even know what the teacher looks like. They’ll probably miss it, but it looks like someone who can easily get over it.
The one who says he knows nothing but always gets top marks.
Unlike the previous two, this category is rather insidious, difficult to recognize especially for the inexperienced, but capable of fooling even veterans. Those who are part of it always come up with statements such as “I don’t feel very well prepared on the third chapter” or “I really hope you don’t ask me just that”, trying to convince you (almost always successfully) that it is exactly like you: a * who did his best to study more or less everything, but who, as a human being, does not remember every single sentence he read, did not understand some passages well and did not have time to deepen certain topics. Suddenly, you feel less inadequate and realize that you are all in the exact same sea of shit. In the end you manage to tear the pass with difficulty, while the other person brings home yet another thirty and praise. And friends as before.
The one who would win the gold medal in the jump of the roll call.
You are quite sure that this person exists because, at each exam, his name and his registration number appear, very punctual, in the list of subscribers. Yet, at the umpteenth appeal to which it does not appear, you begin to persuade yourself that it is your hallucination due to too much study.
That * happy to see you suffer.
Okay, they are probably a bit strong words, yet I can’t find others that make the idea so good. How else to define who, ten minutes before the exam, is keen to let you know that that paragraph you didn’t have time to review is – look at the case, sometimes – the main part of the program, that the Professor rejects everyone, that even at the last appeal someone ran away from the classroom in tears? Well, actually, a * so we could call it * just a bitch *.