If your syllabus on the first day of class is crumbled up and has coffee stains, congratulations! You're stuck with a wreck with a PhD for 12 weeks. The Mess is that one professor on the brink of a nervous breakdown, and everyone in the department knows it too. For some reason, the Mess is seriously stressed out 24/7 – spouse left, dog died, car got totaled, you name it. So when The Mess enters the classroom, it's time to give the world some payback. Expect some of the most brutal pop quizzes on the most obscure facts imaginable and impossibly lengthy reading assignments.
The Young Hot Shot
If you don't have The Mess this semester, you're probably enrolled in a class with The Young Hot Shot. What this professor has in academic credits, he lacks in everything else. This professor finished high school when he was 12, and he got his PhD while everyone else was still doing undergrad. Most likely due to his ambitious accomplishments, he tends to be a bit lacking in the social aspect of life. Don't take it personally if he doesn't reply to your email for 25 days or randomly accuses students of plagiarism. No one said being a young genius would be easy.
This instructor tries so badly to befriend all her students that she actually forgets to teach. You can get extensions on your assignments for stuff like "my goldfish died", "my cousin four times removed had a cold", or "I forgot I was even registered for this class". The campus gossip headquarters is found in her office, and she stays after class to catch up on the latest news. Everyone is guaranteed at least an A- in this class, and as long as you're great at buttering up to a professor, no further effort is needed from you to do well in this class.
If there was a celebrity on campus, it would be this guy. The two sections of each course that this professor teaches fill up quickly. His lectures and powerpoints are accompanied by pyrotechnics, lasers, and fog. Students emerge from the lecture hall with tears down their cheeks for whatever reason. The other faculty members envy this professor's popularity (and the fact he has a 5.0/5.0 on RateMyProfessor.com). Mr. Congenality is so well-liked that he gets invited all his students' bar mitzvahs, baptisms, weddings, and graduation parties.
That One Guy from 1850
RateMyProfessor.com told you not to take this professor, but you went ahead and did it anyway. This professor's presence is contagious. As soon as he enters the classroom, eyes droop, students fall into a deep slumber, and notes cease to be taken. None of this goes unnoticed by the old timer. Although he appears to slumber, something within him seems to notice every student's negligence, and he will meticulously extract his revenge come exam time.
If Rush Limbaugh, Howard Stern, Ann Coulter, and Bill O'Reilly were morphed into one person and had a PhD, it would create this professor. Controversy comes naturally to him, and the university is in constant fear of a lawsuit because of him. Whatever the subject is, he has to make some anti-religious statement and infuriate half of the classroom. You get marked off on exams and papers because you disagree with his opinion. Take this rule of thumb if you wish to pass the class: if it's not his bigoted view point, it's wrong.
But this is just the tip of the iceberg! As your college career progresses, you'll meet more professors like the Confused One, the Business Reject, the Guy Who Got Fired from the Elementary School, and Dr. Fake Degree. Scared? Why, this is only the beginning...!