Interested in taking entry-level Russian at your university? Let me convince you otherwise by showing you who you’ll be taking the class with! (If that’s not enough, I’ll show you the Cyrillic alphabet.)


The Wanna-Be Communist

~10% of the class

They’ve read Lenin, but now they need to read his work in Russian so that their transformation into full-blown communist revolutionary may finally be realized. Obsessed with World War II history. Reminisces non-stop about the Soviet Union and wishes constantly for the return of the good old days. Does not go outside.

Majors: History, Philosophy
Pros: Good at group work
Cons: Will bully you into going to their socialist reading group


The Wanna-Be CIA Agent

~25% of the class

Still calls it “The Ukraine.”

Majors: Public Policy, Security and Intelligence
Pros: Will occasionally bring in various Eastern European pastries to kiss up to the instructor that are pretty good
Cons: Will still be more successful than you


The Will-Be CIA Agent

~2% of the class

Will surely be committing war crimes within the next ten years, if not five. Stay as far away from this sociopath as possible or just drop the class altogether.

Majors: Public Policy, Security and Intelligence
Pros: Probably knows how to get good internships if you also want to become a government shill; at least worth adding on LinkedIn
Cons: Everything else, also smells kind of weird


Here-Straight-From-Military Guy

~5% of the class

Sub-set of wanna-be CIA agent group. Has probably already committed war crimes. Drinks water out of a milk-gallon container. Runs ten miles per day. Has concealed carry permit. Honestly probably has gun on them right now.

Majors: Security and Intelligence, Nutrition
Pros: Good at derailing class
Cons: Non-zero chance of this guy absolutely kicking the shit out of you


Kid Who Actually Has Russian Heritage

~10%of the class

Is just trying to learn Russian so that they can speak with old relatives who don’t know English. Wears Lululemon. Too normal for the rest of the class.

Majors: Marketing, Fashion
Pros: Has better access to hard drugs than you; will let you copy their homework
Cons: Is failing the class


Republican Randos

~2-3% of the class

Consistently wears “America: Back to Back World War Champions” T-Shirts to class. Is as obsessed with World War II history as wanna-be communist, but knowledge base is notably less comprehensive.

Majors: Early to Middle Childhood Education
Pros: If you become friends with them, they may invite you to some sort of religious thing (they are recent Orthodox Christian converts) and to be honest it could be pretty fun to go?
Cons: McCarthyism


The Cool Grad Student

~5% of the class

Here to learn Russian for their dissertation as if that’s going to get them anywhere in life. Pushing thirty-five but desperately wants to come off as relatable to undergraduate students. If that means using phrases like “pupper,” they’ll do it.

Majors: PhD in Russian literature (maybe culture)? Don’t ask unless you want to hear a thirty-minute spiel about it
Pros: Will let you copy their homework, is passing the class
Cons: Studying counts as a date to them


The Linguist

~5% of the class

Knows seven different languages. Still fails the exams.

Majors: Linguistics but is majoring or minoring in at least three other languages
Pros: Will show you cute pictures of their bunny rabbits
Cons: Incessantly asks instructor questions about the differences between Russian and other languages they already know, just so you know that they know seven other languages


Complete Randos

~35% of the class

Will thin out once their language requirements to graduate have been met. Still do not know how to write Russian cursive even though that’s the only way you can turn in homework or exams.

Majors: Not Russian
Pros: Serves as effective foil to the absurdity that is the rest of the class
Cons: Are way cooler than you, will go to ragers together without you


The Instructor

Wanna-be CIA agent’s inevitable future. Is close to giving up and moving to suburban Ohio.

Job title: Adjunct lecturer (has been teaching at same university for twelve years)
Pros: Will put up with you
Cons: Will fail you


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