I have a new-to-me student, who is a major in my area of History and Theory of the Material Culture of Hamsters; student is in both my lower and upper-division courses this term.
I noticed this student right away, since we don't have many majors, and each week I give a painfully easy vocabulary quiz. I hand out two versions, with the answers switched up, so if you copy from the person next to you (which he did) you get everything wrong and I secretly think you're a jackass. First week. Grr. He only did that the one time. . . maybe (one fill-in-the-blank question a few weeks later was the same very wrong answer as the next one in the pile, but whatever.
So we had the upper div course exam the other day. Student comes up to turn it in and starts that preemptive mewling noise they sometimes do.
"I don't know if I'm maybe underprepared for this course. . . I don't seem to be getting it. . ."
"Well, you have the prereq, so you've already seen all this stuff in Elementary European Hamster Cabinetmaking. . ."
"Well, actually I transferred that in from my CC. It was a class in Albanian and Macedonian Hamster Bowl-lathing."
"Huh. How did they let that happen? [feeling generous and sympathetic, and irritated at the transfer office] You'll be fine-- just stick it out, ok?"
Now I look at the student's exam, and it is one of those really pathetic things-- missing all the really basic, easy terms and things that one would know if one had spent 10 minutes memorizing-- that makes it clear that the problem is not with "getting it" or any elevated, deep issues of more advanced content, but rather that not a lick of time was spent studying at all. And this annoys me, that the student is trying to pitch the latter as the former.
This is not a dumb-as-a-box-of-kittens student who is trying really really hard, but one who is not trying at all and the idea that one might be supposed to try, rather than a passive receptacle, hasn't yet occurred. Not even doing a decent job of faking it. I just know that when I hand back this exam with a 50% or so on it, that I'm going to get, "But but but I'm a good student! I always get As!" And the most caring thing I will be able to respond will be, "Welcome to real college. So when are you going to get serious?"