An Experienced Student vs A Know-It-All: What I've Learned from Both

What type of classmates have you experienced in school?

This is my experience with know it alls and what I've taken from the positive and the negative.


What type of classmates have you experienced in school?

In each class, we usually encounter the know-it-all. It usually goes two ways, it either annoys the hell out of you and leaves you with doubt, or you actually take away a thing or two from the know-it-all. I've had personal experiences with a know-it-all and a knowledgeable student.

The Experienced Student

In my first attempt at anatomy, I would brand this person know-it-all (because I didn't have a good word at the time) when they were a freaking genius. He had prior healthcare experience, working as an MD but decided on a change of careers. He didn't just study the assignment's objectives, what we were learning inside out, and had a cheery attitude. He was much older than our teacher and the students. Despite the environment, he made the best of his anatomy experience and never let others get in his way. Here is what I learned from this genius!

1.  He didn't care what others thought. He was there for his education – This is something I look back on and admire him for. He never cared what anyone thought of him and was solely there for education.

2.  Opened to questions and constantly asked questions. The few times we were paired up, he helped me understand things I didn't get but also, if there was time left over, he helped me and gave me links and resources. Along with this, he never sulked at missed questions but spent time asking the professor many questions about what was being learned.

3.  Diagrams, lots and lots of diagrams – When it came to labs, I noticed that this person came with a binder full of diagrams on whatever was being studied.

4.  He simply "didn't know it all". Although he had a medical background, he had said he didn't know everything and didn't act as he did. When it came to anatomy, he had a wide range of knowledge and was willing to share it with whoever crossed his path.

5.  Humor and support - When in the presence of this person, he always had a hearty smile, wicked sense of humor and always told me to crush whatever came my way.

The Know-It-All

In the second attempt, I had run into a know-it-all. This person was pompous. They thought they were a lady's man and made numerous attempts at putting others down. Our group quizzes were filled with multiple eye rolls, putdowns, and countless sighs of relief once the fifteen minutes were over.  This later turned into a bit of a hostile situation (not really paying his insults and come on's affect me) but diffused quickly.

In our lab on the first day of the Spring semester, this person had a very pompous attitude from the beginning. He let us know his family were alma maters and got their education at the community college and that he knew what he was doing.

Although we'd never be at a table sipping tea together, here is what I learned from this situation

1.  Putting others down is a reflection of your own insecurities. This person and one of the bullies from the second attempt had put down others in almost every lab and lecture, to the point where our teacher had to tell a class full of grown people to be nice to each other (we actually had a 10-minute lecture on it).  A comment was said about "weeding the dumb ones out of the class." yes, this caused discouragement, but at the same time, It was a reflection of their own insecurities.

2.  If there is bark, let there be a bite. This person had many things to say about others. He'd give people ultimatums about whom would drop the course and would say something and runoff.  But once reported, he backed of super quick, the putdowns were over yet whenever I came his way it was looks of disbelief. 

3.  Let others give input. Usually, when we took group assignments, this person never let others have the chance to talk, which usually caused us to have a bit of an opinion. Even when the right answers were said by others, something was wrong with how to others said it, and he'd shut others down when it came to input.

4.  STAY AWAY. It's usually best to stay away from people like this and save yourself from doubt and headaches.

Hello there! I am a nursing student hoping to get into my technical school's Fall of 2021 program. If you are a pre-nursing student needing help , I will help in any way possible.

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TriciaJ, RN

4,295 Posts

Specializes in Psych, Corrections, Med-Surg, Ambulatory. Has 42 years experience.

The best thing about classmates is that they're temporary.  Unless you choose to stay in contact after graduation.  And the most obnoxious ones are usually gone by Christmas.

Specializes in Physiology, CM, consulting, nsg edu, LNC, COB. Has 53 years experience.

You will meet all of these types in life, whether in school, work, riding on the bus, or at the grocery store. None of them are specific to nursing school; they are everywhere. You can find them in classic and modern literature, movies, and TV. However, it’s good that you’re discovering that nursing school has offered you more opportunities for growth than are explicitly included in the syllabus.

You will find many more such lessons crop up as you go along.
They will not all be related to interpersonal relationships, so keep your antennae up. Stay curious. When something doesn’t work out the way you expected (good, bad, or indifferent), ask yourself why, if you’ve ever encountered something like this before, and how you’ll recognize and deal c it the next time.
People who succeed are usually those who learn these lessons quickly. One advantage nursing  gives you is that you meet new people all the time who have different backgrounds, cultural expectations, mores, and responses, so you learn more about people in general than, say, a carpenter or a chemist. 

TheNursingdoll, CNA

22 Articles; 261 Posts

8 hours ago, TriciaJ said:

The best thing about classmates is that they're temporary.  Unless you choose to stay in contact after graduation.  And the most obnoxious ones are usually gone by Christmas.

That is true ?