Wednesday, 28 November 2007

Phantom Student

I never had much luck in school or uni with my classes or houses or teams. I guess the Sorting Hat had it in for me, because I always ended up in the team or house that failed in competition, and the class that caused the teachers enormous trouble. My house always came last. My team always scored nil. My class often had the headmaster come and tell us off. Teachers hated us.

Now, a little of this could possibly be my fault as I'm rubbish at team sports. But the performance of an entire segment of the school can't be my fault, can it?! And I was generally the nerdy teacher's pet. Actually, it's lucky I was such a nerd, because the distraction of my classmates was pretty huge!

Anyway, one such boisterous group I ended up in was my class for my computer course at college/uni after I finished school (it was a technikon, which is a kind of cross between the two - 3 years to qualify in IT with none of the deep theory or social life of uni. Uni students sneered at us but employers found us ready to work). There were 4 classes taking the course, but I ended up in the one that chatted and laughed and threw things and skipped class to drink beer on the beach. I was one of 5 girls in a group of 30 or so youngsters, and thoroughly enjoyed being one of the lads for my time there. Although I was still a nerd and came to most classes and did my homework and handed in my projects on time... I was very popular when people needed to copy notes (or code).

Near the beginning of our first year one of the lads decided it would be funny to turn in an exam in the name of a non-existent student. He picked up an extra exam paper on the way in to the exam, filled in some rather bad answers, and submitted it for marking under the name of "George Torsolopolous", who was the little brother of a friend. I suppose all he was really thinking was that the lecturer would find the answers really rubbish but know that the student wasn't in the class. What happened instead was that the phantom student had their marks posted in the exam results, and their name added to the class roll!

We found this hilarious! From that moment onward someone was nominated in every exam to fill in a paper for George. The poor guy's marks were never very good, and we had a quiet snigger every time a lecturer asked the class if George was around. They did find out eventually - after nearly a year I think, although it may have been longer.

The funniest thing about our phantom student though, was that the real George Torsolopolous actually did do that same computer course a year or two later. I hear he had a great deal of trouble convincing the lecturers to mark his papers!

PS. I've googled his name and got no hits, so maybe I've remembered it wrong. George, if you google yourself and find this, sorry mate!

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