Follow TV Tropes


Apathetic Student

Go To

Has the bell rung yet?

These are students who don't give a crap about school. AT ALL. They view it as soul-sucking, worthless and just downright boring. This is due to multiple reasons, such as them not caring about education, them not having friends, pressure, etc. They just don't care, period. This is Truth in Television, many students find school to be dumb and soul-sucking.

DO NOT confuse this trope with Book Dumb. This trope is about not caring about school, whereas Book Dumb doesn't have to be about school. Plus, this character can be really damn stupid. Compare School Is for Losers, except this character doesn't have to be cool or think they are cool. Just apathetic. Contrast Apathetic Teacher, this trope's polar opposite. This can also be a reason a student gets Expelled from Every Other School. The student may also pull a Deliberate Underperformance if they care so little they would rather fail than show any actual care for school. See also Brilliant, but Lazy.



    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Code Geass: Lelouch is shown to not really care about school at all, often skipping class and doing God knows what.
  • My Youth Romantic Comedy Is Wrong, as I Expected: Hachiman Hikigaya is shown to hate school due to being The Hermit and doesn't like human interaction. Though he's more Brilliant, but Lazy.
  • Negima! Magister Negi Magi:
    • Yue Ayase doesn't put any effort into studying or raising her grades even though she's far smarter than her grades would indicate. She doesn't really see much meaning in her life, but that starts to change when she learns about magic...
    • Evangeline A. K. McDowell on the other hand, is a justified case of this trope. Because she's been magically bound to the school for fifteen years, she's already had the same classes over and over, so she's completely sick of it. In addition, she's actually hundreds of years old and has learned enough outside of the classroom that attending class is pointless to her.

    Comic Books 
  • Robin Series: While Tim started out trying to keep his grades up he skipped school quite often and generally used extra credit to manage his Literature grades. After his father's interference forced him to switch schools several times he became even less interested in school and after his father's death dropped out rather than complete high school despite his intelligence. He mostly viewed school as a requirement, and once it wasn't one anymore he quit.

    Comic Strips 
  • Big Nate: The titular character is shown to not give a shit about his studies, especially Social Studies, due to his teacher Mrs. Godfrey.
  • Calvin and Hobbes: Calvin does not enjoy school at all. He struggles with lessons; has trouble paying attention, often retreating into his own imagination; finds the routine stifling; and doesn't even have any friends there, preferring the company of his Imaginary Friend Hobbes. While he is Book Dumb, most of his apathy seems to stem from his nonconformist personality, as he sometimes finds himself learning on his own and enjoying it because he isn't being forced into it. One Sunday strip depicts his typical school day as a series of oppressive or repetitive scenarios (being herded with cattle, running in a hamster wheel, working on a chain gang, etc.)

  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick and Greg, but especially Rodrick. Rodrick often slacks off, writes horrible essays on his own and relies on his dad, whereas Greg is definitely lazy, but he's not completely apathetic. But it's still there.
  • Fred, George and to a certain extent Ron Weasley from Harry Potter. Fred and George have astounding natural talent for magic, but clearly only attend Hogwarts because they have to and do just enough to not get expelled. As soon as they're old enough (and thanks to Harry's seed money), they drop out and open their joke shop. Ron's apathy is more because he feels like The Unfavorite and knows he'll never live up to the legacy his older brothers have left, isn't as gifted as his younger sister Ginny, and of the trio lacks Harry's natural talent and Hermoine's innate drive to excel.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Breaking Bad: All of Walt's students are this, at least in his chemistry class and the feeling is mutual. But nobody takes the cake for this trope better than Jesse Pinkman, who flunked Walt's chemistry class big time.
  • Drake & Josh: Drake Parker, full stop. Let's just say the guy makes Jesse Pinkman look like a serious student in comparison.

  • Cheech and Chong: “Sister Mary Elephant,” perhaps the trope codifier insofar as the comedy duo’s works. The students are portrayed as completely apathetic and disinterested in an education — indeed, they seem intent on being cute and funny, making fart jokes, being potheads and disrupting the educational process for those students that are serious about their education and future — and actively make the no-nonsense title character’s job hell.

    Web Comics 
  • Girl Genius: Jorgi's father was an armchair philosopher adamant about his children being educated whose constant speechifying about the duality and the politics of non-being as related to platonic reality drove Jorgi to join the Jägers because, "Hyu leesen to a guy like dot for fifteen years, hyu vill vant to burn down de vorld too."

    Web Original 
  • The Onion: Played for laughs in "Patriotic Teen Fails Spanish", wherein a lazy student manages to rouse public support when he flunks his Spanish class so he can smoke cigarettes, which is misinterpreted by the right-wing lobby as a grand patriotic protest. The kid really is just obnoxious and stupid.
    Kyle: I just basically thought Spanish sucked, what's the point? I'm American, I speak American!
    Interviewer: SHOOK

     Western Animation 
  • The Fairly OddParents: Timmy Turner routinely fails classes and finds school to be a complete waste of time, often overjoyed when school is cut short. The other students (except A.J) are also implied to be this.
  • Gravity Falls: Mabel is implied to be this. It is also shown that Stan was this in high school.
  • The Simpsons: Bart is the king of this trope. He CONSTANTLY fails at classes and doesn't pay attention, hating to do schoolwork. It's lampshaded many, many times. Though it's also deconstructed at points, as he shown struggling when he does try and a flashback episode reveals he was genuinely excited to start school, until his kindergarten teacher wrote him off as a lost cause for not immediately getting the hang of things, hinting that his disdain for school stems from the adult's apathy towards his struggles in it and he is occationally shown to have anxieties about his academic failings deep down.
  • South Park: Cartman rarely pays attention in school and doesn't view it as important.

     Real Life 
  • One particular form of this is commonly known as "senioritis", a malady that tends to afflict high-school (and to a lesser extent, college) seniors who are effectively just coasting to graduation and have little incentive to put in more than a bare minimum of effort.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: