Categories: College Life

The Six People You Will Meet At A Liberal Arts College

Colleges attract a lot of different personalities, especially at liberal arts schools. Some of the people that you meet will be your friends for life, while others…maybe not so much. If you’re headed to a liberal arts school, you should be prepared to face these six people.

1. The Laidback Literature Professor

There’s really nothing to fear about the laidback lit professor. (Think of Sikowitz from Victorious). They’re usually—as you might infer—easygoing. You can identify the laidback literature professor by their excessive use of scarves, their socks and sandals combo, and the speculative, lost-in-thought look in their eyes. This professor will assign very avant-garde books on your syllabus that only they have heard of. They probably have a very random side-project they’re working on, like fermenting beans or refurbishing antique dollhouses. The potential pros of having the laidback literature professor is a light workload and a class discussion that will somehow turn into them rambling about a completely unrelated topic. The only con the laidback lit professor poses is that they are either very, very hard graders, or the most lenient graders in the world. It’s hard to determine which kind of grader they will be at first glance, so be warned.

2. The Kid With The Skateboard

Everyone knows that one kid. You know who I’m referring to? The grungy, elusive upperclassman who doesn’t seem to go to class, but rather parades around campus with their skateboard? Most of the time, they aren’t very good at physically skateboarding. You might know them more by the thump they make when they fall on the ground after a failed kick turn. Usually, you hear this sound in the wee hours of the night, when one should not be outside skateboarding. If I were to guess the major of the kid with the skateboard, I would say either philosophy or, randomly, neuroscience. Again, I’ve never seen them in class, so it’s hard to tell what they study. This particular student is as unpredictable as they are terrible at skateboarding. 

3. The Independent Coffeehouse Barista

Oh, the independent coffeehouse barista. How I love you. The independent coffeehouse barista is the definition of artsy and cool, yet sweet and humble. They usually have a septum piercing and some variation of overalls on (thrifted, of course). They’re the type of person you want to be friends with, but you never see them outside of their coffee shop of business. They are known to make a mean chai latte, and occasion, still give you your drink when you’re $1 short. Behind the scenes of their coffee shop, I assume they push for the use of more sustainable straws and cups. (Good for them). I also get the sense that they have a very obscure major, like improv comedy. Sociology is another possible major for the independent coffeehouse barista, since they care so very deeply for other people.

4. The Dark Academia Wannabes

Pack it up, Hogwarts. Kidding. If I’m going to be honest, I think I’m one of these people. My school, Trinity College, attracts a lot of dark academia wannabes. These types of students are drawn to liberal arts schools that have gothic architecture and, preferably, are in New England. They treat Donna Tartt’s The Secret History as a Bible. You can spot them by their uniform: loafers or Mary Jane shoes, round glasses, formal trousers or corduroy pants, and oversized blazers. Typically, the dark academia wannabe is clutching a gothic novel and a cup of tea with no milk, no sugar. There may be something menacing about them, or maybe that’s just the aura they want to emit. They are prone to majoring in creative writing, literature, or classics. Whatever their major is, they are probably deeply passionate about it…even to the point to obsession. Bonus points if they’ve taken a course in Latin or Greek. 

5. The Random Frat Bro

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Frat houses are an uncommon sight in many liberal arts campuses. Even if the Greek Life presence isn’t huge at your school, you’re always bound to share a class with a random frat bro (or two). The random frat bro doesn’t try to camouflage with their more artsy student population. Quite the opposite. The random frat bro embraces their randomness, standing out in their chino shorts, button down tops, and hungover expressions. They thrive in the one business or econ class your liberal arts school offers. The humanities are not their environment of choice. Rarely will they touch their assigned reading, yet still they can B.S. their way through a class discussion. You envy them for how well they dress. 

6. The “Experienced” Theatre Professor

Beware of the “experienced” theatre professor. Maybe you took their class because you thought it would be fun. Maybe you’re serious about acting. No matter who you are, the “experienced” theatre professor will wear you down. This is one of the most dangerous professors out there. They will stress to their class how they hate giving directions to assignments, as it limits the “spontaneity” and “limitless possibilities” of your piece. Shortly after they say this, they will proceed to give you the most confusing and contradictory set of instructions known to mankind. They tend to leave class early unannounced, allowing you and your classmates time to rant about them. They will also not stop talking about the one experimental production of Our Town they did in high school. Oftentimes, you will question their teaching credentials, and just how “experienced” they even are. The experienced theatre professor is likely to wear a long ponytail, several bangles, and a condescending, “I really want to fail you” smirk on their face. 

If you currently attend a liberal arts school, some of these people might sound familiar to you. If not, proceed with an open mind. A lot of these students and professors are amazing people (save for the “experienced” theatre professor…beware). You never know until you meet them!

Know someone who fits one of these personas? Send this article to them!

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Jill Schuck

Hi everyone! My name is Jill, and I'm a senior at Trinity College in Hartford, CT. There, I'm studying creative writing and sociology, with plans to work in publishing. Aside from reading and writing, I enjoy traveling and practicing self-care. If you want to connect, follow my Instagram @jillschuck!

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