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a musing about "gunners"

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by Benjo, Apr 21, 2004.

  1. Benjo

    Benjo Senior Member
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    First off, I think the term gunners is a silly stereotype that pidgeon-holes people just like any other. Moreover, I think that people who overtly resent gunners are either so insecure about their own abilities (and are the type who never try too hard in case they fail, so that they have an excuse), or are just jealous.
    That being said, I would not consider myself a gunner. I do well in school, and occasionally I try hard, but I drank a lot in college (so, I don't take myself too seriously). In fact, getting caught for 3 drinking offenses is what kept me out of some of my dream schools, although I am very happy just getting in with all the stupid crap I did.
    ANyway, more to the point. Who are we to really judge these people. The way I interpret it, gunners are defined as people who do things for the sole purpose of achieving a goal. Unless I am mistaken, this is somewhat admirable. Competitiveness aside, doing things for a goal is good. It may breed insincerity, but at least they are doing worthwhile things.
    And, about competition--in the words of "the Donald": nobody has ever achieved anything great without being at least a little competitive (paraphrasing). Meaning, we all are, let's just embrace it in a non-destructive way.
    Sorry if this turned cheesy (yea, I am embarassed about quoting Donald Trump, but hey), but some recent posts about "gunners" at certain schools just got me thinking. You (we, whatever) are never going to avoid driven people who do things to actively achieve goals--if that is a gunner, sign me up.
     
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  2. bokermmk

    bokermmk Senior Member
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    yeah on this forum anyone who works hard and does well is a gunner..it doesnt make too much sense to me
     
  3. TheRussian

    TheRussian Life Size Mirror
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    Gunners work to achieve a goal at the expense of others. It's one thing to work hard toward a goal but it's entirely different when you work hard to make sure others can't. This can come in the form of refusing to help your classmates when they don't understand something, or even worse giving them the wrong answers. This can also mean compromising class time by constantly asking questions the only point of which is to demonstrate to the proff that they are smart.

    I've also heard stories of med students moving pins from one organ to another during anatomy practicals. That's a gunner.
     
  4. idq1i

    Physician 15+ Year Member

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    A - That doesn't really happen. There are people that would do that, but they are the ones with personality disorders. A class may have 1

    B - I call BS on that rumor :thumbdown:
     
  5. Benjo

    Benjo Senior Member
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    The Russian--that may be your definition of a gunner, but that is not what is used on here all the time. Also, there are so few people that act like that, at least that I have met even at a very gunnerish school (Princeton), that I just cannot believe people waste their time whining or thinking about avoiding these people. Anyway, I don't want to get confrontational, I just think that people need to realize that it is good to do things in a dedicated way. But, of course, if it is at the expense of others, that is wrong. But, really, are those rumors true? ReallY? COme on? How come nobody ever says "I saw" or "this happened to me"; rather, it is always "once, at Hopkins, I heard this guy destroyed otehr people's cadavers" etc? I just think it is all BS. ANd, if any of it is true, sooner or later it will catch up with people. I don't believe in karma for a second (not even lame-ass SDN karma), but I do know that as you rise in the ranks, the scrutiny grows, and it is harder to do things the wrong way, olr the easy way.
     
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  6. southbelle

    southbelle Senior Member
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    There is no one static definition of what a gunner is. Lots of non gunners have a very well defined set of goals that they work to achieve. And not many gunners in my opinion actually do things that prevent others from success. I wouldn't call donald trump a gunner. Not at all. He doesn't have that academic sense of worth that is required of a gunner(not that that's all there is to gunners).
     
  7. An Yong

    An Yong Senior Member
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    :clap: :clap: Well Said =)
     
  8. TheRussian

    TheRussian Life Size Mirror
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    I know a number of people in my class that talk in class to let the professor know that they have done the reading, critiquing the speakers that the professors invited to speak at conferences in a very negative way, constantly suggesting new experiments that could be done to prove something or providing theories for phenomena that nobody can explain even though this is a semi-intro class. I also know people that ask others for help on homework or studying but when you ask them for help they are suddenly too busy to help out. Though these people are annoying, they definetely don't have personality disorders and there are definetely more than 1 at my school and our class is only 850.

    I'll give you that this rummor is probably BS but I heard it from someone that went through med school when grades counted, i.e. before the pass/fail system was implememted at most schools.
     
  9. cache20033

    cache20033 Senior Member
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    well i think the fact that Donald Trump went to Columbia for undergrad and ended up getting his MBA from University of Pennsylvania - Wharton School at the top of his finance class (which anyone in the world of business will tell you is the Harvard or Hopkins of b-schools) shows that he has the "academic sense" that southbelle quoted.....i think with those types of stats and drive, you can somewhat label him as a gunner...for god's sakes the man is a billionaire (although he started out privileged- it still doesn't account for the fact that he literally is the largest real-estate developer in NY)
     
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  10. southbelle

    southbelle Senior Member
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    I don't think he has an mba from the regular wharton program. I remember reading that there was more to it than that(like it was a related program at penn or something). Maybe Im wrong though. I also remember reading that his ugrad gpa wasn't all that brilliant.
     
  11. idq1i

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    I'm sorry to hear that you are having these problems in your class, especially the "when you ask them for help they are suddenly too busy to help out." Hopefully, most of them will have been screened out before medical school.

    I can only assure you that in my class of 180 people, I have never observed any of the problems that you have described in the 1st post. Having communicated with people in other schools, my experience seems to be rather mundane. People realize that they are all in the same boat, and they begin to work together, towards a common goal.

    Btw, my school has grades, and I have never seem people compare grades, or boast about them
     
  12. DMBFan

    DMBFan Senior Member
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    Yeah I have to say I have never experienced anything as overt as that either. I haven't even seen many suck-ups either. In orgo II, for example, when I have a question about the material and go to his office hours, I find absolutely no one there every time I have been there. I try to do well in school, and maybe it's because I go to a really big public unversity but I haven't seen people go out to extreme lengths to get good grades. My exposure may be limited. I am just saying this based on the fact that as I have said, I dn't see a lot of people at office hours. Maybe they don't need the help, but if you're a suck-up shouldn't that be the place you head to first every week?

    I have, however, had people brag about their grades a lot but on the same token, they also tell me when they did badly so it balances out in the end.
     
  13. pekq

    pekq Gunner
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    The word "gunner" really is more like a derogatory term for overachiever much as we call atheletic people jocks and smart people nerds. Perhaps there was a time when there was cutthroat competition as in the rumors and the term gunner had a different meaning. Nowday, it's just something you label AOA peeps with for laughs or in sad cases, jealousy.
     
  14. beatla19

    beatla19 Member
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    I go to a big public U in california and have seen people a) sucking up, b) wasting class time to prove how smart they are, and c) move microscope slides during a lab exam so the pointer was on a different part of the specimen(I didn't actually see someone move it, but it happened sometime during my exam). So, i would say these are not all myths.
     
  15. indo

    indo Feed me a stray cat
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    People moved pins in my undergrad anatomy labs. They were pre-physical therapy gunners, I guess. The person who did it wasn't to covert about it since they did it on a muscle that everyone knew. 50% of the class wrote pronator teres and the other 50% wrote triceps brachii. Gee, i wonder what happened.
     
  16. indo

    indo Feed me a stray cat
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    Also, people who are willing to admit they are gunners are, by definition, not gunners.
     
  17. Super Rob

    Super Rob Senior Member
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    I think that most of the "gunner" labeling happens out of jealousy. If you want a competitive match or a spot in a competitive medical school, you have to put in the work (and that alone won't always get you there!) No amount of being a nice person will cut it. You need the grades, the stellar performance evaluations, the research, etc. Notice how there is no space on AMCAS for an evaluation of how cooperative and compassionate a person you are? You need that too, but if you got a 3 on your MCAT verbal, you might as well be Jack the Ripper before these admissions committees!

    When it got close to the mcat, I studied a lot. As an undergraduate, I was not big into studying; while it's one thing to bomb an exam and do better on the next, I only had one shot at the mcat. Some of my classmates teased me for putting in four or five hours outside of our study group, but to make a long story short, I'm going to school next year and they are applying for fulltime jobs. I feel bad for some of them because they wanted it and they could have had it, but the social stigma that comes with working harder than your peer proved to be too much for them to bear... and the thing is, my performance on the mcat did not preclude them from doing well themselves! We even studied together. Still, they thought it was rather uncool of me to put in more work than they put in.


    There are two kinds of "gunners." One is the guy you catch up at 3 a.m. studying four weeks before an exam. Or for those of you who don't attend lectures, he's the guy who attends lectures AND studies as much as you study. For those of you who have never honored more than one class at a time, he's the guy who honors them all. I'm sure if you're a straight-B student, some straight-C student thinks of you as a sort of "gunner" yourself. And some dropout mumbles something about the C student gunning for his diploma. Generally this sort of gunner is harmless. A more appropriate description would be "person with goals" or "person who works hard for goals that are not easy to come by."

    The other type of gunner is the guy who moves the pin during the lab practical. This guy should have been screened out by the school's selection process. He doesn't belong in a team oriented profession.
     
  18. indo

    indo Feed me a stray cat
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    Are we witnessing an SDN social coup d'etat? I believe the gunner population is fighting to, once again, become the witty, well driven, motivated in crowd in the pre-med world. Rather than spread the mere rumor that pre-meds are capable of coexisting with other pre-meds and even pre-law types, the--self proclaimed--gunner population wants to create a conservate SDN where cut throat competition and lateral sabotage within the pre-med/med student ranks reigns supreme.
     
  19. HooahDOc

    Physician 15+ Year Member

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    Man, and to think I have always called ubermotivated people who study just about all the time losers.
     
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  20. roja

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    I think 'gunner' is a gestalt. Doesn't necessarily have anything to do with grades, etc. However, we all know individuals who shoot not only for good grades but want to make sure everyone knows they did well, usually in some pathetic passive agressive way. Gunners are individuals who not only want good grades but also want to reinforce their own insecurities by letting everyone else know how much they studyand where they are.

    Gooners are those evil rare subset of individuals that actively try and screw others over so that they will appear better. They are often mistaken for gunners.
     
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  21. martianMIKE

    martianMIKE Junior Member
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    Personally, I define a gunner as a goal-seeker, as someone who focuses in on something and isn't afraid of working their butt off to attain it. I find no fault in that. In fact, it's to be commended. Seems simple enough.

    TheRussian, I think you're describing a dork. Someone who defines him/herself solely based on their own "achievements" rather the content of their character (as good 'ol MLK would say ;) ). Very superficial people indeed... And as far as personality disorders are concerned, what personalities????
     
  22. jlee9531

    jlee9531 J,A,S
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    this is like.
    and i have unfortunately come into contact with many gunners.
    gunners are not poor souls that we should take pity on. (well maybe...they are a sad lot...)
    they just make me angry with their obnoxiousness.

    blah.
    that is all.
     
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  23. TheRussian

    TheRussian Life Size Mirror
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    Here's a question:

    I know this person that always cries after test without fail because she thinks she did poorly but when she gets the exam back she finds out that she aced it and tells everyone about it. Does that classify as a gunner?
     
  24. TheRussian

    TheRussian Life Size Mirror
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    The way you define a gunner makes it look like everyone should strive to be a gunner, that being a gunner is a good thing. Since sentiments toward gunners is not very positive this definition seems to be lacking something. Of course some of the negative sentiments may be do to jealosy, that's not the whole picture because even those that manage to get comprable grades to a proclaimed gunner will dislike the gunner.

    I myself consider myself to be a very good student and at the same time I have always believed in gun control.
     
  25. southbelle

    southbelle Senior Member
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    sure that's one sympton of being a gunner. Gunners often feel that performing well on test after test is so incredibly important that if they are unsure they made an A+ they spaz out. But that alone doesn't mean she is a gunner. The 'telling people about it' part is even more evidence. My guess is based on the limited dx you gave she is a gunner, but I'd have to know more info.

    I've developed a new strategy to deal with these sort of people over the next 4 years. Don't confront them. Don't argue with them or totally ignore them. Just show indifference. I think this probably gets to them more than anything else.

    gunner: So what about that histology exam? You think you are ready for it? You going to kill it?
    me: huh? sh** I dunno.

    gunner: where were you yesterday? I thought you were coming to that study group for the biochem exam this week?
    me: huh? I guess i didn't make it(shrug). I'm going to make some margaritas....you want one?

    gunner(before a path test the next day): So are you going to get any sleep tonight or pull an all nighter?
    me: huh? I'm not really dating anyone right now, and I'm not that kind of girl.
     
  26. bigdan

    bigdan SDN Donor
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    indo-
    You've got it.
    I was privy to a fistfight between two PT fellas when one caught the other moving a pin in Gross Anatomy. I've also seen PTs "help" study groups by giving out BEAUTIFUL but mislabeled brachial plexus diagrams.
    I think "gunner" is kinda like "attractive"...what it means to one, it may not mean to the other...

    dc
     
  27. Fumoffu

    Fumoffu Senior Member
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    Like TheRussian said, that's what a gunner is.

    I know people who are HAPPY that others aren't getting accepted in med school. When I asked him why he felt the need to hold on to 5 acceptances even though he knew which school he was going to (not cause of waiting for fin aid package), he replied "To make them sweat more because I enjoy it"

    My freshman chemistry lab partner (different person) use to purposely give me incorrect information regarding lab or lecture. Mind you I did EVERY single lab because he was sort of incompetent. I explained the lab to him if he didn't understand it. He was frequently late for lab and I usually did 1/4 of the lab without him. The ONE time I was late, he tells the TA (attendance mattered). Oh and because I didn't know what was going on, I asked him, and he said, "just read the book later, I don't have time to explain it to you."

    That's what I define a gunner as. I don't care if people work harder than me and do better. But I do get peeved when people work hard and enjoy it when other people fail or do worse...or worse, work equally hard to set other people back.

    Sadly all the gunners I knew are all accepted into med school. I didn't know many, but they DO exist and they ARE in med school. In a much larger ratio than 1 in each class of 100+, as was claimed above.
     
  28. Fumoffu

    Fumoffu Senior Member
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    I wouldn't call that person a gunner, just a jackass.

    It does piss me off when people whine and bitch about how they failed a test...but they always end up doing well! I personally don't care since I usually do well on exams, but I think it's VERY inconsiderate to go "WAHHHHHH I failed. I didn't do well." And then when asked what they got "Oh I got a 92." It would just piss people off and make people who actually didn't do well feel worse about themselves.
     
  29. Trashino

    Trashino Member
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    During an interview, we were given the chance to go on rounds with an internal med team (couple of residents, intern, attending). While discussing cases the attending starts to talk about various causes of high concentrations of creatine in the blood. During his talk, one of the interviewees interrupts him and says, "excuse me, doctor, but I don't believe that is correct", then goes on to offer a contradicting opinion. He was, of course, off the mark (the attending had the right idea). Rather than rip his head off, the doctor calmly went on with his talk as if nothing had happened.
    Same guy, later in the day, while seeing some residents struggle through spanish to communicate with a woman, asks, "es necessario hablare espanol?" And then claims to have "picked up some spanish during my childhood", although he was unable to say anything else (or understand what was going on).
    The sad thing was, this was only a tour of the hospital, and in no way was related to judging for admissions (the guys didn't even know who we were). I don't know whether that guy was a gunner or just a very sad human being, but the image of him contradicting an attending was classic!
     
  30. CeLo

    CeLo Member
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    Did anything happen to the people who were caught/suspected of moving pins in anatomy? I think it might be hard to prove who did it, even if all the students have a pretty good idea.
     
  31. umass rower

    umass rower Insert clever phrase here
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    Some of the people on here are getting the definition of a gunner right, and others are off. Hard work and motivation are not what makes a gunner. Those are habits of successful people in general, and most med students will be both hard-working and motivated. However, gunners take this to another level, and adopt an attitude that is not the least bit admirable. Gunners are arrogant and insecure. They delight in making sure everybody knows why they are better than everyone else. They'll be the ones dropping names to everyone who will listen. They make sure everybody knows why the things they are doing are more important than what everyone else is doing.

    I have one gunner that I know of at my undergrad (a pre-med). I was in a research internship group that my school runs over the summer, and he was in it. By the end of the first group meeting, everyone there knew that this guy was working for who he considered the only good professor in the biology department (which annoyed all of us biology students in other peoples' labs). We all got to hear about the huge grants that this professor was getting, and about how this kid was going to get papers published in this ground-breaking research field. He informed us all about how this research was going to get him into a top-10 medical school (he didn't even have a specific one in mind, he just assumed that it would be top 10 and that they were necessarily better than any other school). And so on and so forth. Serious arrogant prick, completely unlike every other pre-med at my school (the rest that I know are fairly laid-back, friendly people). At every group meeting he would steer conversations to talking about how great he was. I got my secret pleasures from two points in the summer-- one, when we presented the background to the research we were doing, and he clearly had very little idea of what he was actually researching (enough that the prof organizing the group knew more about the topic). Two, when we went down to the research center where this almighty professor was working to get a new research center underway, the professor didn't even remember the gunner's name.

    So the hard work has nothing to do with anything. Gunners have little desire to simply do well, they just want to be seen as better than everyone else.
     
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  32. asdasd12345

    asdasd12345 Membership Revoked
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    do any of you really care about this?
     
  33. TheRussian

    TheRussian Life Size Mirror
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    So do you often talk to yourself?
     
  34. 8744

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    Gunners don't usually bother me. About the only time they ever did was during the last few minutes of a lecture when they would often ask pointless, self-aggrandizing questions of the kind which could be just as easily discussed with the professor after the lecture.

    Call me a slacker but I'd rather take a ten minute break between lectures then have some pointless details about the Krebb's cycle clarified. We had an unofficial "ten minute rule" in my class which prohibited any questions during the last ten inutes of lecture. I think it helps if people consider the professor's request for questions at the end of a lecture as more of a rhetorical flourish then an actual call for discussion.

    I am almost done with third year and I love having gunners on my team. Not only do they always blurt out the answers to pimp questions before I have a chance to show my ignorance but they also draw a lot of the heat from the residents which is OK with me. I wish there were more gunners in my rotation group. Unfortunantly I am usually teamed up with the cooler people in my class.
     
  35. oudoc08

    oudoc08 Please pass the gas...
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    Some people would call anybody who made it to med school a gunner. It's all subjective, man.
     
  36. Yuliya11111

    Yuliya11111 Member
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    What's the point of this thread? I don't want to be offensive, but you guys are going around in circles.

    A gunner is such a subjective term, and very relative. Yes, people who sabotage others are jackasses. Other than that, there will always be some people who do better than others academically.
     
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  37. aspirant

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    'Gunner' seems to be a stereotype. I haven't taken psychology, but I think this is one of those Freudian projection type dealies.

    Everyone here, everyone who is serious at least, studies their buttocks off, tries to get EC's, tries to get research, tries to get on the good side of professors to buff letter chances, tries to meditate deeply on their motivations and delights in the pursuit of medicine to enhance the clarity and sincerity of their personal statement, tries to tie together their scientific knowledge and critical thinking ability to kill the MCAT, tries... well, tries!

    Everyone here is a 'gunner'! Or at least they should be if they want to get in. Because getting in is so damned hard that without maximum effort, it isn't going to happen. And we know that it isn't going to happen for a lot of people. So we try.

    And when we see someone who is so proud of themselves for trying, (I got slapped down in here a few weeks ago for proudly talking about how much I study, and the person was 100% right to slap me down, because (a) everybody studies a ton, and (b) pride is BS) or is so glib about their grades or their accomplishments, all of that pride that we hold inside while trying to be decent people turns into rage and resentment at this person, who basically is against everything we stand for.

    The hatred of gunners begins with the necessary gunner in us all.

    Someone just gets called a 'gunner' when they break the unspoken rule of humility among those who want to be physicians. Because physicians have power and respect in society -- as well they should -- pride, which is disgusting in anyone, should be interpreted in them as particularly disgusting. We hate the 'gunners' because we don't want them to be doctors. We'd like to see humble physicians who are servants of humanity, not self-inflated jackasses.

    Bottom line: There is a gunner who lives in us all. And our rational mind and our self-respect keep him held down and controlled. And those who are incontinent enough to let their disgusting pride show through are, and should be, ridiculed.

    Happy Friday!
     
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  38. Gleevec

    Gleevec Peter, those are Cheerios
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    I disagree that a gunner is someone who works hard. Basically to me, the litmus test for a gunner is that you need to be able to tell a story as to why someone is a gunner. If you can come up with an anecdote about moving pins on a cadaver or any one of the numerous anecdotes that have been stated in the thread, then they are a gunner.

    If you cant come up with an anecdote, or your story is, "oh, he studies in the library 6 hours a day," well that person isnt a gunner, hes just a hard worker.

    This trend is seen in the above posts as well, where people describing gunners are telling specific stories, while people describing hardworkers just giving generaly descriptions of working hard, research, etc.

    So basically, someone is a gunner if there is a good anecdote about it. Or at least, that is the litmus test I use and seem to recognize within this thread.
     
  39. umass rower

    umass rower Insert clever phrase here
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    Or to put it another way, hard-working people try to do the best to improve themselves. Gunners put in additional effort into bringing other people down.
     
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  40. Gleevec

    Gleevec Peter, those are Cheerios
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    Exactly. Its hard to tell a bad story about someone trying to improve themselves, but its quite easy to tell a story about a gunner trying to bring others down. Thats why I consider the "Story Test" a decent way of thinking about gunners.
     
  41. josephgoro

    josephgoro Member
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    heh, the nietzsche of sdn rises from the mist...

    sadly, there'll be no foucault
     
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