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     Volume 6 | Issue 44 | November 04, 2012 |


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Extra Credit

The Awkward Moment

Sabhanaz Rashid Diya

Most doctors hate the Internet. When patients come in, asking awkward questions and ranting medical jargons inappropriately because they seemingly picked it up from a Google search, the doctors realise, much to their dismay, that their fifteen minutes is about to turn into thirty. Not good for evenings on which they have promised to spend a couple of extra hours with the family.

A classroom is the place where you discover yourself. Photo: Kazi Tahsin Agaz Apurbo

With teachers, of course, it's a different story. They encourage the Internet and when they figured assignments were being handed in way before the deadline and with way too much proficiency in the English language, they made rules about plagiarism. Pfft, as if that stopped anyone. Of the billion results that appear on a Google search, we can always do a bit of a 'Glee mashup' of the 90s' marketing principles- piece of chocolate cake with a whipped cream topping.

But, there are those other times when some of us go overboard. We search, re-search, unlearn, learn and re-learn. In the process, we are victims of the awkward moment when we realise, thanks to our newfound knowledge, which is often more irrelevant than not, we have ticked our teachers off. Pink Floyd's 'Another Brick in the Wall' starts humming in the background. As we sit there, our hands nonchalantly placed between our legs and eyes on the multimedia powered slides on the board. Right then, our minds starts racing down our Facebook newsfeed to mentally 'like' everything and anything, our hearts getting confused between the two and a half hot girls (or boys) in class. We, our shoulders smug, realise the Internet has taught us more confidence than we deserve. The only problem is, we just don't know when to put it into practice.

Imagine a typical day in class. The teacher walks in, switches on the multimedia projector and computer, turns to a couple of slides and basically, starts reading from each slide sequentially. If you happen to ask a question in between, you turn out to be the annoying one. Sadly, this happens because you picked up the question from reddit.com. The teacher stops abruptly, squints his or her eyes and then replays the entire presentation from the beginning. I repeat-the entire presentation. As you sit petrified, the abomination of the moment hits you like the original maroon-coloured cricket ball while the rest of the class glares at you. You are not only wasting time for everyone, but have also effectively placed an unappealing, low-cost spotlight on yourself. You, are the epic questioner that everybody hates.

I love classes where a good-humoured professor cracks jokes. Hey, have you seen the news? There's a cabinet minister who got fired. Cab-e-net on fire, get it? The whole class follows with a roar of laughter and you realise no one gets it. And you feel it's your responsibility to crack a good joke, but you're basically not a funny guy. You feel compelled enough to pick up something from a meme a friend shared on Facebook. Hey, you know what's another way to say retard? Re-tart? You know, if you keep making a tart, you can make a re-tar(t). There is pin drop silence as all eyes stare at you, including those of your professor and you realise, with much discomfort, that you have made a complete and utter fool of yourself. You've also stolen your teacher's thunder and that's a greater offence than cheating in class. The professor makes the snort, goes back to the lecture and you are now officially the class idiot! You've also made everyone go back to world recession and writing down notes. Buzzkill.

My favourite kind, of course is the smart aleck. These are folks who would put their lives on the line to challenge, defer and basically, show off whatever they have picked up from Yahoo! Answers or WikiHow. A new oil spillage in the Bahamas? Apple wins a war against Samsung? Demi Moore is pregnant? Bangladesh shouldn't go digital? They have an opinion about anything, everything and nothing. On days you have had a decent breakfast, you enjoy the occasional one-on-one exercise between the teacher and smart aleck. On other days, it's just a colossal waste of time. Especially if you have accidentally followed the topic under discussion and realise whatever the smart aleck is saying is incredibly pointless. At one point, the teacher gets tired, the smart aleck is smug on the 'win' and from there onwards, there is undue pressure to comment, respond and excel beyond the average for the smart aleck. If you're this guy, your life is over.

By the time this article goes on print, everyone should be back in class and prepping for their finals. Let this be a reminder of who you wouldn't want to be as you go into life et al.

(Sabhanaz Rashid Diya is a major in Media and Communication, and founder of the nonprofit youth organisation, the One Degree Initiative Foundation.)

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