I thought the question posed in class as to whether we affiliate with the faculty at University of Michigan or the students in our classes was especially interesting because I had never reflected on the fact that these were two distinct groups and it is inevitable that every student, including myself, identifies with one or the other on some level whether we are aware of it or not. I would have to say that personally my affiliation with one or the other varies depending on the class and professor. Initially coming into a room filled with fellow students I have the attitude that I am a good, hard working student who really wants to learn, and I should be rewarded for this whether or not my peers are on the same page. In this sense I would say I identify with the staff, because I seem to want to put myself above the other students in the class, whether it is true or merely how I preserve myself. I think that this stems from being rewarded in middle school and high school for having this work ethic when other kids seemed to regard grades as meaningless or irrelevant. Therefore, when reflecting, I believe I was taught to side with the faculty out of habit and practice.
On the other hand, when a professor is a particularly hard grader, does not explain assignments well, or has ridiculous tests or teaching methods, I immediately gravitate towards the other side, the students. I am quick to become a part of the masses and submerge myself in conversations about how unfair it all is and how awful the class is as a whole. I no longer want to distinguish myself as one of the “hard workers” because it has no benefit if I am not being rewarded, and it is far easier at that point to change my attitude and level myself with my peers so I can vent and express anger. Misery loves company, and when I am miserable in a course it is usually because of the professor, which hinders my desire to learn the material. Although I am not proud of this fact, I become one of the students who whisper in the back of the lecture or go on Facebook instead of watching the slides and completely distance myself from the faculty.
Obviously, I think that the former scenario serves me better because I get more out of my classes when I affiliate with the professor and hold myself accountable for being a driven and distinguished student. Unfortunately, this is not always the case, and sometimes it just feels better to be a part of the group.