"...And so shall we begin." The voice of Mr. Soft echoed from the lecture hall's faraway walls. The auditorium was scarcely populated, students sat far and wide, as it is customary during a pandemic, which meant that the professor's question were answered by more scalps than usual. Sleeping in classes were not unheard of, but when you take away the possibility of misbehaving, one cannot make matrix arithmetic interesting enough for the masses to keep them awake.
At the beginning, attendance was high; regardless of what the intentions of individuals were, everyone wished to know the minimum requirements for passing the exam. After the second class though, students began falling out and, save for a select few who was actually excited to learn about Euler's bridges (or something like that), they were experimenting and developing new strategies for staying sharp.
Within five weeks, the remaining undergrads (also called "survivors" by those attending Ms. von Roscht's class during that period) had formed six distinct groups characterized by their behaviour.
In the first couple of rows, you could see the Inhumans, the great chosen ones, who were able to overcome the odds and resist Mr. Soft's spore move.
Behind them were the Junkies, high on caffeine and other undisclosed substances, doing their best to keep their attention at a maximum level.
Overlapping with them were the Artists, who usually had two notebooks; one decoy and one for scrabbling.
The Restless were situated amidst the Artists, whose constant leg movements, ticks and occasional self-induced pain helped them to remain among the living, even if it cost them their focus.
At the back were the last two groups scattered all over and, although the Hopeless were outnumbered five-to-one, they were well-known samples about whom one would often wonder: "why do they even bother to show up?"
The Undead, however, were not sleeping, but they very well could have been. Their eyes were as close to be shut as they were lifeless, their posture resembled a late-game Jenga tower and, besides the fact that they chose suffering instead of joining the Hopeless, their only redeeming factor was that unlike their brethren, they were not snoring.
By the time of the mid-term exams, these groups had formed alliances for maximizing their collective chances. With the Inhumans becoming increasingly elitist, they refused to help the Hopeless and the Undead, who could only count on the mercy of the Junkies. Artists had an easier time, because while their decoy books did not fool any seasoned lecturer, it did successfully create an illusion of an attempt for the Inhumans, thus benefiting from their notes. The "Traitors of classroom 334", who exchanged the harsh grumbling of an old professor to the soft whispers of Ms. von Roscht, had an easy time studying the beauties of international communication practices along with their lecturess. Two weeks before the final exams, there were no Restless left; they have all joined the Undead, whose numbers had been previously dwindling as many of them would join to Hopeless.
"What would the result of this equation be if we added 'u times three greater than i' as a condition?" asked Mr. Soft no one in particular. It had been only fifteen minutes since this lecture began, yet there were only Undead present along with a couple of Restless; the day after the famous Whisky-Night converted even the strongest Inhumans hungover and weak, while the Hopeless did not try to leave their respective beds. Amidst the attending students was only one scalp that stood out, for it was covered by a great helm. Upholding decades-long traditions, the Whisky-Night ended with choosing the participant with the lowest grades over number of sleepless nights ratio and becoming the Whisky-Knight, the best amongst the worst. On his side was the Whisky-Princess, also known as the Whiskincess, who shall crown the Whisky-Knight at the last day before the summer break, thus giving him the title of Whisking and shall support him in his duties of organizing the following year's beknighting ceremony.
Years had come and gone since the class of 2017 graduated from The University, but they shall never forget Mr. Soft and his ironclad finals. Some become lawyers, while some become entrepreneurs or linguists. Some moved to countries across the globe, while others pick up the rubbish from the "infamous prof's" lawn. Regardless of what degree they ended up getting, they share their fate in that none of them was able to pass Applied Mathematics 101, forcing them to transfer to other programs.
This short is not finalized and still subject to change.