5 things you want to explain to your GSI

The end of the semester has (FINALLY) arrived, and at this point, you’ve established a unique reputation with your GSI. Whether they know you as the one who’s constantly eating during class or that student who always falls asleep, we can’t help but feel they’re constantly judging us, and there’re a few things we wish they’d understand. Here are five things you wish you could explain to your GSI:

1. Why you’re always late

The shame of stumbling into discussion late never fades, especially when your classmates are giving you the side-glance. You know they’re judging you, and your GSI probably is, too. But they have to understand even Berkeley time isn’t enough cushion because life just gets in the way. You either got flyered by every single Sprouler, got distracted by a protest or had to hike all the way across campus when you’re not in particularly good shape.  Maybe it’s an 8 a.m. — who the hell makes it to those on time?!

2. Why you never seem to have anything to say during discussion

You swear you went to lecture and even did the reading, but when your GSI prompts the class with a question about the material, you’re not exactly the first to speak up. You have an answer; you just don’t want to share it because you don’t know how to word it perfectly, or you’re afraid of being wrong. Maybe you just don’t feel the need to say anything out loud because you’re proud of the conclusion you’ve come to, and you don’t really care what your classmates might have to say about it. You’re not thoughtless, just introverted.

3. Why you never go to office hours

Your GSI doesn’t understand why they never see you at office hours. It’s not because you don’t like them or don’t need their help. It’s just that you lost the syllabus they gave you at the beginning of the semester, so you don’t know the location for their office hours, and you don’t ask because it’s something you should already know. Plus, you have no idea how to hold a normal conversation with them, so one-on-one time would probably be awkward.

4. Why you seem to fear eye contact

You spend most of your time in section hiding behind your laptop screen or staring at the floor. Your GSI probably thinks you’re on Facebook or are more interested in your shoes than the class. But in reality, you’re afraid that if you make eye contact, your GSI’d be able to see right through the facade you’re putting up. You don’t need them to know you’re thinking about how the paper you just turned in was complete bullshit.

5. Why you always have that look on your face

There are two expressions people have on their faces during section: the blank stare and the look of sheer discomfort. To your GSI, that translates as, respectively, “I really don’t care about this topic” or “I am so lost right now.” But you’re not careless and confused; you’re just thinking really deeply, or you’re really hungry. You don’t mean to look disinterested; that’s just your face.

You might not get the chance to explain yourself to your GSI because you probably want to use their office hours during dead week for more important questions. At least we at the Clog know how you feel, and it’s completely possible that your GSIs are empathetic, too. After all, once upon a time, they were you.


Image Source: Tulane Publications under Creative Commons

Contact Rayanne Piaña at [email protected].