For those who this reference precedes, this is Arnold Horshack. He was the most easily maligned of Gabe Kotter’s sweathogs on TV’s Welcome Back, Kotter. He was nasally and had a grating laugh, had a pronounced accent, and typically the most often made fun of in the group.
As a kid, the reruns showed him as an easy target and I’m sure we made fun of him now and again for his enthusiastic way of answering questions, or very unique way of speaking (click here for a sample, it’ll haunt your dreams).
Ladies and gentlemen, we have a Horshack.
This student has what I would easily refer to as unbridled enthusiasm. At the beginning of the semester, she was at every event we put on, enjoying the shows and exhibiting a lot of excitement about what we did. However, she is what my students would refer to not-so-affectionately as a “fangirl”. That is to say, sometimes her excitement was more directed toward meeting and hanging out with the acts, than to the music or performance itself. In my estimation, this is a difference in approach, not necessarily something to be maligned. As my students became increasingly frustrated with her antics, I urged them to recognize it as a difference of opinion and nothing more. Is it how I would act? No. But does that make her wrong? Not necessarily.
But then it became wrong. Through involvement with other campus organizations, we came to realize that she was interviewing bands prior to our show through a false representation of her affiliation. We were allowing her to interview bands she said she had “approved” permission from, but we then realized that the entity she was “approved” by had no knowledge of what she was doing. We got in touch with her to shut the interview down, but then what?
How do we educate her? Yes, her approach is the source of high enthusiasm, and frankly her dedication is something that I wish I saw in more of our students. But who is responsible for educating her about the error in her approach? Who is responsible for showing her the importance of due diligence? How do we allow her to go about things the right way in an educated fashion? As the talks about this student have taken up more and more of our organization’s time, and as I realize that these discussions are being had by more and more organizations on campus, I sincerely wonder if we’re not letting this opportunity pass, just because she irritates us or reminds us of things that we don’t like.
Do you have a Horshack on your campus? Does he or she work in your office? What approach do you take in educating him or her? Is the approach different from the students that you interact with more naturally?

One thought on “Who’s Your Horshack?

  1. Been there- Not a fun situation. My reaction/process depended on some of the side factors though (which organization, how it all started, etc)- but definitely a 'learning moment' that needs to happen IMO.

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