Hello friends, this is your neighborhood nightmare, The Existentialist! Just a fun little pseudo-intellectual with no idea WTF is going on. I am so, so excited to be here and unqualified to answer your most difficult questions. 

Dear Existentialist,

“What to do with the people in your classes who ask big-brained questions that are annoyingly advanced, like those questions that show they understand everything and just confused you more? So how do you get rid of those people or politely tell them to shut up.”

Such a good question friend! We’ve certainly had those moments. I personally was in an intro non-STEM class this year where a kid thought he would *really impress us* by comparing an irrelevant concept in class to string theory in the Zoom chat. But I argue, why move to eradicate this big-brained fellow when you can do something so much better? Play with them!

Top three tips: 

  1. Come up with something fake but believable on the topic and see if they buy it. “Such a good point about the metaphor of green light, Stephen. Especially because F. Scott Fitzgerald was actually colorblind, which obviously informed your take.” 8/10 times they will buy it, 5/10 times they will keep talking out of their own butt and you will have a great laugh.
  2. DM them “Oh cool! I didn’t know that quantum physics was also in the syllabus!” and have them explain that no, your class on biology was NOT meant to include quantum physics, they are just being a heinous know-it-all.
  3. DM them in the group chat: “I don’t understand this point” and they will obnoxiously explain it. Then say you don’t get it again, and again, and again. See if they will explain a basic human principle to you without realizing they’re being a mansplaining Jerkwad. (Works better than you think)

Before you know it, that student will stop trying to relate the things they know to the class and be miserably trying to actually follow along like the rest of us, toiling just out of the grasp of graduation’s green light.

Best of luck!

The Existentialist

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