With another year at RU in the books, I will first say that I really do have an appreciation for the academic atmosphere, the research these people do, the knowledge of their respective fields they possess, the diversity of the expertise among faculty in all different departments, etc. However, when I reflect back on the time I’ve been here so far, although these instances have been infrequent enough to not be anything terrible, one particularly annoying personality trait/act does emerge from time to time: acting like one knows more than one truly does.

If you don’t realy know what you’re talking about, you should probably shut the fuck up. Unfortunately, many do not abide by this simple rule. There was even a fairly egregious example one time with someone I know who will not be named. I was walking around campus with them and at one point they mentioned how “Dostoevsky said”…I don’t know, some shit about some other shit. I don’t really remember what it was about now. Anyway, since this person had just mentioned Dostoevsky, I figured it would be of interest to them that, for one of my classes the previous year, one assignment had been to read a piece from The Brothers Karamazov, possibly Dostoevsky’s most famous work. I mentioned this, and the person had no clue what I was talking about. They were clearly unfamiliar with it. Now, I am not claiming to be a foremost expert on the man, but at the same time, it is for this reason that I don’t go around quoting him and his philosophies as if I were one.

This is not to say that students are the only ones susceptible to inflating their perceived knowledge bases. It was fairly recently that a professor I had for a linguistics class was discussing acronyms, then wrote one on the board that he opined half the class wouldn’t know. (Unfortunately, he probably was right about that, but it’s beside the point.) The acronym was “NATO.” What did it stand for? Well, he affirmed the choice of a couple students who said “North American Treaty Organization.” Uh…dude. (Note the map and how a shitload of Europe is part of the alliance. As I would venture to guess more than half the people in that room knew, Europe is not a part of North America.) Maybe less than half the people in the room knew what it meant. And wouldn’t you know it, that number included the professor who so sanctimoniously suggested that half of us didn’t know what it meant. Well, buddy, neither did you.

Again, all of this is not to say I don’t appreciate professors. I do. I appreciate the man in question. I appreciate his knowledge of linguistics, and his knowledge of this subject is far more than mine will ever be, and probably greater than my knowledge will ever be in any area. However, I was decidedly less impressed with his knowledge of what “NATO” stands for, less so than I would have been with, say, a poli sci professor’s knowledge of the same. In other words, lecture us about acronyms, not what they stand for. Especially if you don’t know yourself.