When you first enter university, you think that you’re the bomb because you’ve just received multiple scholarship offers, and got straight A’s in high school. You think the world revolves around you and that your opinions matters more than others. Simply put, if you believe something is right, it’s right in general.
This is the dreaded black mamba, also known as first-year students, that everyone at SFU dreads, from faculty and staff to senior students. Everything that comes out of their mouths is full of arrogance, self-entitlement, and shallowness. Their personality is so dark and the things that they say are so bitter that their whole mouth is black. Whoever they talk to starts feeling a little bit disappointed as they boast about their accomplishments and such.
Their speech (venom) is so potent that they create a competitive environment wherever they go and that just plagues the other person’s day and mindset. If the person does not go and talk to someone else who is more down-to-earth, humble, and welcoming (in this case, the antivenom), the person can start experiencing headaches, a sense of worthlessness, and depression, all of which are classic symptoms of the black mamba’s venom. Even when you don’t want to interact with the black mamba, as soon as it sees you, it will chase after you until it can bite you. They’re highly aggressive. In this case, the undergraduate student would come up to your face and talk about their grades and scholastic achievements and extracurricular involvements, even when you didn’t want to be a part of the discussion.
Eastern coral snake
Students in the faculty of science can be really competitive, especially kids from biomedical physiology (BP) and molecular biology and biochemistry (MBB). The competition is so cut-throat and the friendships you make don’t last very long. I mean, most friendships end once you no longer have class with the other person for these two departments.
The thing to worry about is that some of these kids can look really nice, bubbly, and optimistic on the outside, but on the inside they just want to sabotage you and make you fail. It’s true. They’d literally teach you the wrong thing, tell you false information so that they can get 4–5 marks higher than you on a midterm because that’s what determines the A and the A+. In the jungle, it is about being the fittest to survive, but it’s also about being the slyest, foxiest, and most cunning individual in order to rise to the top.
These BP and MBB kids are similar to the eastern coral snake. If you misinterpret that colouring pattern, and are unable to recognize the shadiness that is underneath their layer of bubbliness and pretentiousness, death, and academic failure are inevitable. Therefore, be careful when you associate yourself with these kids because the relationship might not be as mutualistic as you’d expect.
Besides the instructor, the teaching assistant (TA) stands at the top of the hierarchy. They’re usually responsible for all of the marking, and if you have an English TA, their marking scheme can be incredibly subjective. I mean, no matter how convincing your essay is, if the TA doesn’t like your writing style, you’re bound to get a mark that you’re dissatisfied with. Moreover, these TAs can be really mean and cold. If you don’t use specific jargon on the exam, the TA will take half a mark off. Seriously, there is so much content to remember for certain courses, like endocrinology, and taking half marks off just demonstrates how cruel and heartless TAs can be. The TAs in a sense are similar to king cobras: their opinion matters more than yours and whatever marks they give you can have an impact on your future. They were undergraduate students once, but they don’t empathize for undergraduate students who are going through the same stuff. This is similar to what a king cobra does in nature: they eat the smaller snakes when they’re hungry even though they’re the same species.