An open letter to that classmate who always asks for your notes

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Crystal Zhong/File

The proud home to one of the most diverse student bodies, UC Berkeley has a place for every type of student, from the regular late-night crammer to the eager try-hard who camps out in Doe Library the very day they get their research assignment. Today, we’d like to dedicate this open letter to the student who’s asked for our notes one, five or 10 times too many. 

This is the person who’s skipped more lectures than they’ve attended, who can’t remember their professor by name and who feeds off the intellect of the classmates they’re only vaguely acquainted with. We sympathized with you the first few times. You were overwhelmed in your transition to the beginning of the semester and were already coming down with a cold. We Bears might be competitive, but we’re not heartless, and we’re definitely not immune to illness, which is why it was perfectly understandable that you might need a little extra help. Thus, we were happy to comply and provide you our notes. Soon enough, however, we noticed that this modest request was becoming routine.

You value your sleep — we get it. We do, too. That’s why we’re not too thrilled when we enter class and the sun’s barely risen, only to find that you’ve slept in again. We know then to expect an all-too familiar text from you later that day. Believe us, we feel your pain, because we’d still be in bed, too, except that we recognize the responsibility of showing up.

Not to mention that our fingers are cramping up from the relay races our professor has us running on ours keyboards. We’re really starting to feel that carpal tunnel settling in. Are you really going to ask us to go the extra mile and type your email into that share box on Google Docs now, too? Meanwhile, your muscles are resting up in bed as you recover from last night’s poor decisions.

And maybe you’re forgetting, but here at Cal, we take pride in our notes. We color-code, organize and implement the famous Cornell method, yet here you are asking us for our notes like it’s nothing more than a piece of gum. You’re asking us to hand over a work of art in the middle of the hallway of Dwinelle. Just let that sink in.

This may have been your go-to strategy in high school. You skipped school twice a week and counted on your classmates to pull through every time. Maybe there, no one batted an eye when you asked for their notes, but here in the real world, we like to earn our merit and watch that we don’t overstep certain boundaries.

So the answer this time is going to be a “no”— we cannot send you our notes from last Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Let us know if you happen to come up with a way to share your college degree with us, and maybe then we can revisit the idea.

Contact Shaked Salem at [email protected].