Here we are, three weeks into the semester. For many, the return to Harvard for the spring meant a glorious reunion with friends, and a return to the college lifestyle. For others, the homesickness of being away from our families for a long period of time has hit, and we’ve already called our parents a couple of times to “check up on them.”

handraise
The overeager hand-raise is a dead giveaway.

So fortunately or unfortunately, the second semester is in full swing, which means lectures—and sections—are back. Along with them? Everyone’s favorite section kid. Yes, with “that” kid around, you may need to take a quick stop at CVS for a quick dose of headache relief before your weekly section. But if you’re looking for more healthy coping mechanism, here are a few habits of the typical section kid. And, more importantly, how to avoid them.

Arrives to class 30 minutes early

You know that feeling when you wake up at 6 a.m., do your reading for the following two weeks, review past class notes, re-watch the lecture, write down all your questions, and then get to your 9 a.m. class at 8:30am? And then you’re half an hour early only to find out your class is empty and your TF hasn’t shown up yet? So to pass the time you reread your notes and questions, then practice reciting them out loud? Literally no normal college kid does. But “they” do. Or at least they appear to.

Section Activities

A typical encounter with section kid goes as follows, stream of consciousness-style:

Average Harvard Student: *So I’m in section for chem, and these polar bonds have got me thinking. In fact, for the past fifty minutes now, I’ve been thinking about how baby polar bears kind of look like puppies. I’m right in front of the TF though, and I really don’t want to look rude pulling out my phone to google baby polar bears. OH YES! We’re doing a “group activity!” Finally some free time so I can relieve myself. Okay, I’m about to pull out my phone, real slick. My table partner is giving me the eye. Whatever man, this is important. Okay, typing it in now: baby polar be-*

Section Kid, at full volume: “WHY ARE YOU ON YOUR PHONE DUDE CAN WE PLEASE IDENTIFY THE POLAR BONDS LIKE OUR TF ASKED?”

Those Damned Colored Pens

One of the telltale signs of a section kid in their natural habitat is their assortment of multicolored writing utensils. Just as the male peacock fans his colorful feathers to attract a potential mate, section kid fans their colorful pens to attract an A from their TF. If you’re looking for a seat, and see an open one next to another student, take a quick peek at their pens. In fact, there’s a simple science to this. One black pen signifies an average student. Add a blue pen, and that student is prepared. Another red pen, and they’re a bit over prepared. Add orange, brown, purple, magenta, aquamarine, sienna, cornflower blue, lemon chiffon, and whatever the hell else and you should probably find a new seat.

Who knows, maybe after reading this, you’ve realized that you’re the section kid! If that’s so, no worries. Just prepare for a life (read: four years) of annoyed stares from your classmates before you shoot off to a successful life. After all, if you’re that prepared at Harvard, you’ll probably do fine in life.