1. Senior Colleague Syndrome will usually manifest in men ages 18-22 and is native to creative writing workshops on college campuses. The illness can also be found with recently graduated male PhD students who are not yet employed.
2. Senior Colleague Syndrome is exacerbated in the presence of a female professor and female classmates in order to ensure the “best” audience to perform expertise that they do not yet have. Expect a lot of sighing, dramatic pausing, and undermining of the writers on your syllabus. Expect to have to explain why you are not teaching Kurt Vonnegut.
3. Those suffering from Senior Colleague Syndrome usually have monosyllabic names (Dan, Matt, Chris, Jeff, Dave, Brett, Steve) with some exceptions (Dylan, Ryan, and Williams who refuse to go by Will or Bill).
4. If you walk into a room and someone is acting like the professor, but without any credentials or experience, suspect Senior Colleague Syndrome.
5. Senior Colleague Syndrome is a reactionary disease to a perceived emasculation that manifests in overconfidence, audacity, loudness, aggressive behavior, constant interruption, smugness, and a performative “listening” face.
6. Senior Colleague Syndrome is, unfortunately, very contagious.
7. When confronting someone with Senior Colleague Syndrome, tread carefully, since fragility is the main culprit of the disease. Keep the door to your office open so that your actual senior colleagues who are women can listen, check their calendars to make sure it’s 2017, and then bang their heads against the desk repeatedly.
8. Those with Senior Colleague Syndrome will assess the smartest woman and best writer in the class and condescend to her relentlessly throughout the semester, often noting that she “always has excellent word choice” or is “really good at imagery,” but that her poems are “not exciting enough” and “too interior.” They will “encourage her to try new things with her work” and are very willing to “talk after class about her poems” if she should welcome the opportunity for feedback from a classmate who, himself, doesn’t yet know how to define syntax or anaphora. Expect to have to cater to his hurt feelings when she declines.