7 TAs You Will Find at Syracuse University


TA_MAIN No matter the major, most Syracuse University students will have a TA that they either cherish, adore, or feel like punching at some point in their SU career. Here are seven you will definitely encounter before you graduate.

1. The cool TA. The only thing cooler than this wacky weather is having an energetic, friendly teaching assistant who is actually interested in your class and has a good time teaching the material. If you have a TA who can chat with you about Kendrick Lamar as well as help you with tricky course concepts, coming to class becomes worth your while. Trekking through the snow and nearly skating over black ice is worth it to see this enthusiastic teaching assistant do their thing.

2. The mean TA. At some point in your SU education, you will encounter a mean TA. In fact, you might even become one if you end up going to grad school. Long nights in their offices and waiting for the bus to Westcott can harden the warmest and largest of hearts. Cantankerous and ruthless, mean TAs are those salty jerks that never cut you any slack. While college students do actually get sick and shit does actually hit the fan, the mean TA will just tell you that life is a bitch and then we die, and then axe your grades without remorse. This is not to say that the mean TAs you encounter are pure evil, but it’s hard to not to think so as they give you a zero on an assignment you turned in only 10 minutes late.

3. The hot TA. You have not lived until you have pined for a hot TA. With beauty, brains and power, what’s not to like? Hot TAs are not exactly available to the undergraduate population, as it would be a conflict of interest (or so they say). Still, hot graduate students are more attainable than hot professors, right? Be sure to look fresh to death and get up to date on your readings when you show up to your hot TA’s office hours for some extra “help.”

4. The shy TA. SU’s shy TAs can either be cute or just plain unhelpful. Becoming more confident in teaching the material and more comfortable with the class section serves as an interesting teacher assistant transformation. Nevertheless, it’s hard when your shy TA is too mortified by a class full of stone-faced, bleary-eyed adolescents to do the curriculum justice. The good news is talking to your shy TA one-on-one could aid you in getting the best course experience.

5.The lifesaver TA. This one goes out to all of my lifesaver TAs. Whether it’s helping you analyze pre-modern literature, breaking down a tricky theory, or walking through you a software tutorial, lifesaver TAs are the real MVPs. Bonus points to the ones who extend deadlines and help you hand in a near flawless project.

6. The DGAF TA. These TAs are one of SU’s best-kept secrets: they are literally ghosts. Obviously, they put in the necessary work to become a TA, but dry TAs go through discussion like their academic fire burned only in a past life. Simply put, they don't give a fuck. Beware these misty, droning apparitions. Expect nothing but a reiteration of lecture notes and sparsely graded quizzes.

7. The nurturing TA. Classes with nurturing TAs are blessings. Nurturing TAs are those sparkling gems who genuinely care about whether you’re learning, internalizing and applying the material. Sometimes, this means that your TA will devote more time to creating a unique class experience through fostering an intellectual safe space. Sometimes, this means that your TA will crack the whip on you because they want to push you to be your best self. They don’t hesitate to tell you that you’re thesis is busted or that you need to spend more time hitting the books to do better on your exam. Not all nurturing TAs ooze enthusiasm, but going to their class makes apparent their passion for their field. By the time you finish a course headed by a nurturing TA, you will leave with a profound and shining appreciation of that area of study and maybe even a case of the warm fuzzies.

Photo by Adham Elsharkawi