The study has enlightened many students as to why their physically young professor seems to act so… old. But age 30 or 90, most do seem to share the same qualities.
What does this mean for college students across America? Nothing negative, of course. Just that their favorite (or maybe least favorite) professors’ lectures full of insightful information and wonder, regardless of age, could contain some of the following at any moment:
- The same uncomfortable personal anecdotes. Over. And over. Again.
- Going over material from the previous week without realizing it.
- Never, ever pronouncing your name correctly.
- Complete incompetence in using projectors and electronic equipment (i.e. calling the tech to turn on the computer, or open a cabinet).
- A significant amount of classtime spent watching “relevant films” (i.e. Harvard documentaries from the 70’s).
- Frequent use of “I’m sorry, I lost my train of thought.”
- No knowledge of music, movies, or television since 1995 unless involving Betty White.
- Awkward fatherly advice.
- “No eating in class” followed by munching on FiberOne bars.
- Constant mentions of exactly how long they’ve been teaching the course (since the Clinton administration!”) and “back in my day…” references.
- Seriously strange, outdated clothing.
But until then, students surveyed at the University of Southern California don’t really seem to mind. “She reminds me of my grandma,” said a freshman of her writing professor (age 50). “I really enjoy hearing what she has to say. But she also nitpicks about everything and whines a lot, so. It’s comforting to have someone like that around.”
Another USC student chimed in: “Yeah, my spanish professor told me to “take a haircut,’ “cortarse el pelo’… just like my grandparents would!”
So the next time you’re a student sitting in class, wondering why the professor just reviewed material from three semesters ago? Remember: they scientifically can’t help it.