Over the past few weeks, I’ve noticed an interesting verbal tic among my fellow Vassar students. Most of my classes this semester are discussion-based, and often, when a student is called on, they begin their comment with, “Oh… well, I was just going to say,” and then they make their contribution. What they have to say is almost always insightful, but for some reason, they don’t feel comfortable saying it outright. It’s sort of like starting a question with, “I have a question.” When I used to do this, Papa Yagoda would respond, “Well, I have a spleen.”
And even though I am aware of this, I still find myself prefacing some of my comments with, “oh…well, I was just going to say.” Maybe it’s because it gives me a few extra moments to compose my actual comment.
I’m asking all students everywhere to please say what you were going to say, but not first tell us that you were going to say it. I imagine that this would free up about 15 minutes per class.