The Most Notorious Section Phrases

Caley C. Smith teaches a section for Advanced Literary Sanskrit.
Caley C. Smith teaches a section for Advanced Literary Sanskrit.

We taught you how to spot section kid, and now you just can’t stop rolling your eyes at their blatant try hard-ness. Now, we bring you the next level of nuance in section analysis: “unpacking” the most common and most annoying lead-ins to section discussion.

By Alana M Steinberg

Can we unpack that?

Let’s unpack the word “unpack”—this student wants something explained, but thinks that they can mask their confusion and sound intellectual by inviting their peers to engage in the scholarly “unpacking” process.

I'm gonna have to push back on that.

This is section speak for “you’re about to get wrecked.” Nothing good ever follows this opener. This student thinks you’re dumb, insensitive, or somehow misinformed, and is about to lay down the law. Academic aggression lurks behind this thin veil of language, causing even the section sleeper's ears to perk up in roast anticipation.

I want to echo (smart classmate who does all the reading)’s point.

This student has not done the reading and wants to piggyback off the ideas of their more studious peers. It’s always nice to hear that someone else favors our view, but in this case, we know that the student is just trying to boost their participation grade without doing any real work. (Granted, we have all been this student once.)

To play devil’s advocate for a second…

Essentially, this student is the devil. They are about to disagree with the rest of the class—and possibly also the laws of morality and nature—while passing it off as intellectual engagement.

This passage reminds me of (insert impressive philosophy that was not in the reading).

This student is just being a show off. We get that they are smart and well read. Congrats, but please don’t make the rest of the us look bad in comparison. It should be enough to do the assigned reading without making connections to Hume’s theory of the self.

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