Browners, Apathy, and Anonymity

During my first week of the winter semester, some new and familiar professors reminded me what they want is for us to succeed as students – but from my perspective, not every student is interested.

I think this brings me to the fact that we all encounter students in our respective programs that, regardless of their achievements, have to be recognized one way or another.

There’s the guy whose wardrobe consists only of hoodies that advertise the hundreds of (probably mediocre) concerts he’s been to – and the number of times he mentions it. The girls (because there’s always more than one) who take pictures of themselves during class. Or, better yet the person who happens to be so proud of touting their religious beliefs that they bring a bible to class every day.

I wish I was making that one up.

In my opinion, it takes a special kind of person to enjoy a lack of recognition. Or, should I say, a special kind of browner.

It takes people who are removed enough from themselves and their own achievements to be happy without a label.

The crucial difference between average students who don’t care about recognition and these pseudo-browners is basically apathy vs. anonymity.

Apathetic students are in a completely different spectrum from the browners, whose advantage is that their own internal pride matters more than any outward recognition they may receive from teachers or other students.

Usually, they are the kind of people who smirk instead of smile, who try not to stand out (this means no tie-and-argyle-sweater combos), and who almost never admit to the extent of their hard work. Not even to their parents.

That is, if many people are still subjected to the Spanish Inquisition at the dinner table. No? Maybe it’s just me then.

The irony being that behind the layer of  anonymity the browners relish, they are the kind of self-deprecating people who convince themselves their work is run-of-the-mill, that they’re likely to just pass the expectation level here at Sheridan. The kind of people who shrug indifferently when pushed to divulge their marks.

But truly, these things come down to their personality above all – above their secret desire to bask in the receding glow of the limelight, above their often-maddening habit of perfectionism.

It’s hard to find people like this who really believe they are as good as they try to be, not only in academic value but also in ego.

They are more likely people who are thankful for the possibility of their complete inanity or fallibility. Who are content in knowing that they could always be better people, better students, but accept that human nature always falls short of their high expectations.

I try to be this kind of person, when I’m not seconds away from throwing in the towel. The important part to remember is that there’s something you lose when you’re too easy to read or label – the idea that you are so small compared to this vast world of high achievers and attention seekers.

If you can hold on to it, or reach out for it, you may find that it affords you more slack and comfort than you expected.

Lindsey Barron is a first-year Print-Journalism student at Sheridan College

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