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'Good Work, Team' Says Guy in Your Recitation Who Ignored All Your Suggestions


Photo with edits from Pixabay / CC0

One of the most beloved parts of any recitation is, of course, the breakout group. As Penn students, we are uniquely blessed with the presence of such brilliant classmates, and breakout groups offer us the opportunity to really pick their brains. After all, why discuss the readings from class with the TA, a Ph.D. student who has studied the subject for the past six years, when you could discuss it with Josh (C '24), the hungover guy sitting next to you who hasn’t opened the course Canvas page since syllabus week? 

What he lacks in experience, competence, and general knowledge from the reading and/or lecture, Josh more than makes up for in confidence. Every recitation breakout group needs a strong leader who will use plenty of buzzwords, repeat what the girl in the group just said as if it was his idea, and write the group’s answer on the board. And as someone whose mother has always told him he has great leadership skills, Josh is more than willing to step up to the plate to be that man (because yes, it does have to be a man). 

Working in a group with Josh is a treat for all involved, particularly the token member of the group who actually did the readings for the week that will be talked over and ignored the whole time. Don’t worry — Josh is not one person; he is a genre, an archetype, a PPE major industry standard. Therefore, there is at least one exact replica of Josh in every humanities recitation, so if you’re lucky, this could be you! There is no intellectual experience more stimulating than attempting to answer a question, just for your own version of Josh to hit you with a “Well, actually …” and then rephrase whatever it is you just said. The benefits of Penn!

Like any good leader, every Josh knows how to support and uplift his inferio- I mean, fellow classmates. That’s why, after steamrolling and rephrasing his way through recitation, he closes every breakout session with his classic line: “Good work, team.”