He glares for a second before giving me the third degree, telling me that I’m lucky he even lets me take the exam at all. That would be fine by me. I don’t even care anymore.
The computers were set up in hexagonal groups, six to a table. He told me to take a seat at one of the open iMacs, so I park myself across from Amy. Amy Summers. Somehow I think the only reason she got in this school is because some admission dean somewhere thought it would be hilarious to have a person with the name Summers and someone named Winters in the same classroom. She’s my only sort-of ally in the program. I say ally because she’s not even close to being my friend. However, she’s also the only person who doesn’t hate me, so she’s got that going for her.
Suddenly Ryker comes scampering in, his hair a mess and the bottom button of his jacket undone. Papers are flying, and he practically crashes into the computer directly behind me. Nobody says a word. Such is life. You think people are beyond middle school social cliques, organizing into groups and singling out people to pick on, but that maturity is too much to be expected of people of any age. The social dynamics of 14-year-olds are not much different from those of 24-year-olds, they just take on a different, more “professional” setting as people age. And academic types, for all their “knowledge” of why people behave the way they do, are the absolute worst.
Qualifiers are, honestly, the incarnation of getting socially screwed over in the form of an exam. Professors get together and choose what questions go on each person’s exam on an individual basis. I have no doubt the suck-ups, like Ryker, and the ringleaders, like Brad, get easier questions just because of their popularity. Then, those same professors get to grade the exams. They determine your fate, and quite frankly, your entire future. And if you fail, you’re out. Game over. And good luck getting into some other grad school.
Dr. Lewis instructs us to log in with our user account, then open the document with the alphanumeric name on the desktop. It’s just a simple text document, preformatted with 12 point Times New Roman font, double spaced, and my name in the upper right corner.
Question 1: Compare and contrast the character of Socrates between one of Plato’s earlier dialogues, such as Lysis, and one of his later dialogues, such as The Republic. Please be sure to focus on the themes of civic duty to…
I caught my mind trailing off. That’s a stupid question because those two works aren’t even about the same thing.
Question 2: Name and describe in detail the five most predominant communication theories studied in class. Be sure to include the name and a short biography of each of the primary developers of the theory.
I knew them. Cognitive Dissonance. Groupthink. Agenda Setting. Accommodation. Uses and Gratifications. I knew them all. I just didn’t care. That’s a stupid question too.
Curious, I took a look around the room at everyone else’s questions, without getting caught of course. Amy’s text is backwards but super easy to read. She was wearing these thick-rimmed glasses which magnified the text of the entire display. I’d make one heck of a poker player. Her second question was: .hpargarap trohs a ni yroehT gninraeL laicoS ebircseD
Erm, make that: Describe Social Learning Theory in a short paragraph.
I then used my CSW to see Ryker’s second question in the reflection behind me: Describe Framing Theory in a short paragraph.
One of Dr. Lewis’s favorite things to remind us was that correlation does not equal causation. In this case, it’s true. I need to see somebody else’s question. How do I do that?
Let’s see. The main design flaw with arranging Mac computers with giant screens in a hexagonal formation is that light bounces from screen to screen. The computer directly behind Brad was unoccupied and had the standard NCUIT maintenance sticker on it, leaving the screen completely black and a natural mirror to any other monitors in the room. Pair that Brad having the zoom on his document set to like 160% (he must be freaking blind), and I could just make out his second question in the reflection.
Describe Social Judgement Theory in a short paragraph.
Well, that is all I need to know. I’m not even angry.
You wanted a prominent communication theory? Name and biography? I got ya covered, Dr. Lewis. I start typing my own response:
The I Don’t Give a Shit Anymore Theory was first developed by Sydney Winters at New Country University to explain why people at NCU were such jackasses. She spent two years thoroughly field researching the topic by subjecting herself to intense scrutiny, social ostracism, and major bullying on a campus environment. Her peer-reviewed findings indicated a high correlation between individuals involved in the NCU Liberal Arts program and jackasses.
Further research should not be attempted, as it was determined to be hazardous to the mental health of most individuals who actually have a soul.
Screw you, Brad. And your stupid fedora.
I then click the antiquated floppy disk save icon in the upper left hand corner. With a smirk on my face, I slowly reach behind the screen to the Mac’s power button, press it in, then hold about five seconds until the screen goes blank and I hear its familiar hum die down.
Standing up, smirk turned into a full smile, I make an announcement to the entire class.
“I just want you to know, you are despicable. Each and every one of you. Have a nice life.”
I feel like a damn champion.
[End of Chapter One]
A new section is released every Monday! Next week we’ll be starting Chapter 2: “A Study in Bad Acronyms” As always I welcome your feedback in the comments. 🙂