>>> Text-Heavy
By staff writer E.E. Southerby
Volume 73 – March 21, 2004

“Guaranteed to Improve Your Grades or Your Money Back”

Now Playing: “Son of a Preacher Man” by Aretha Franklin

Since this is primarily an educational column, I feel it is my duty to help the college students of America with their studies. Oh, sure, I could write an article declaring war on the South for no reason other than to get a rise out of a couple of thousand irritable, inbred people. But where's the fun in that? So sit back, relax and enjoy this edutaining article, unless you live below the Mason-Dixon line, in which case you can edutain yourself in a more familiar way by jingling keys in front of your face. Here's what happened:

-Teachers always tell you to brainstorm your ideas, to write down every thought that comes into your head no matter how stupid it is. But nobody's ever actually done that. If I wrote down every little thing that came into my head, every second word would be either ‘sex,' ‘boobies' or ‘gerbil felching.' What? Everybody's doing it.

-In high school, you always knew what to write down in your notebook because the teacher would write it on the blackboard. In college, the rules are different. Sometimes a professor will not write a single thing on the board the whole class. So how do you know what to take down for notes, and what's going to be on the test? Simple. If the professor picks up his or her coffee cup before saying something, write it down. It's important.

-If you fall behind on your readings and you don't have the time to catch up on everything you've missed before the big exam, don't try pulling an all-nighter to read sixteen chapters from a boring textbook that you won't remember anything from in the morning. Instead, email your professor telling them you've been in a debilitating car crash and, although you escaped without any permanent physical damage, you somehow lost the part of your memory that contained all the reading you were supposed to have done. Then, the next morning, bring the professor a cruller. Problem solved.

-People looking to get research done should stay out of the library. Save the library for what it was really meant for: checking out a buttload of books for the research paper that's due tomorrow but you haven't started yet, so that you can take these books home and leaf through them, picking out quotes and citations pretty much at random so you can fool the teacher into thinking you actually did some research. All those other people in the library ‘studying' are really just getting in my way.

-Quote of the Moment: One of my classmates, upon seeing two people passing notes in class: “That's pretty immature of them. This isn't high school anymore. Can't they buy cell phones with text messaging like normal people?”

-Cliff's Notes are too specific. They only cover one particular book or aspect of a class. That's why I've prepared a broader version of Cliff's Notes, that should help you get through an entire semester with just a few poorly phrased paragraphs. Here they are:

ENGLISH: The books you are reading for this class are old. Very old. In fact, most of the authors who wrote these books are dead. We would love to ask these authors what they meant when they wrote their books, but we can't, because they're inconsiderate dead jerks. So instead, we must rely on the interpretations of various scholars, none of whom can agree with each other, as well as the thoughts of that geeky guy who pulls his socks around the outside of his pant legs and sits in the front row of the class and keeps telling everyone what he thought of the book. You're going to have to write an essay about at least one of these books, but you probably haven't read it, and even if you did you wouldn't understand a word of it. Oh, sure, you could read the book and come up with your own interpretation, but what if you're wrong? The teacher will point and laugh, and the geeky guy will probably blind you with the reflection off his braces. I'd say you're pretty screwed.

MATH: At the end of every class, your teacher (who is required by law to wear glasses and pants that are too short) will assign homework problems based on his lecture. These problems have absolutely nothing to do with what he taught, and so you will not be able to answer any of them. The next class, there will probably be some time allotted to answer questions about problems you couldn't solve, but this will prove a futile exercise since everyone else inexplicably had no trouble with the homework at all, and so you will refrain from raising your hand and asking for help for fear of looking like the raging idiot your parents made you into. This cycle will repeat for an entire semester, until the last few classes when you're given an exam review. This will most likely consist of ‘practice exams' that you can take home and work on. Feel free to master each question on these practice exams, because when the real final comes around it will look nothing like what you've studied and if you whine about it to the professor at a later date, he'll tell you that you should have raised your hand when he asked if anybody had trouble with their homework. I'd say you're pretty screwed.

SCIENCE: There are many branches of science, like chemistry, physics or astrology. This is why it might seem strange for me to lump them all together into one study guide. But what the colleges don't want you to know is that all science courses are actually the same. The first day of class the professor will get up to the chalkboard and write down some unbelievably complex formulas that he is really making up on the spot. This will cause at least 75% of the students to drop the class. After that, all the notes will be available off the internet in convenient PowerPoint slideshows, thus eliminating any possible need to ever go to class. In addition to these lectures you don't need to attend, you will be assigned various lab projects which you must complete with the help of your lab partner. This is why the hardest part about any science class is picking a lab partner. Some professors assign them at random, which is kind of like playing Russian Roulette (even more so if your assigned partner turns out to be Russian). Other times, you get to pick your partner yourself. If this is the case, I'd recommend you choose the most attractive person of the opposite sex you can find. If she survived the first day without dropping the class, she's got guts as well as beauty. The night before a lab is due, she might even come over to your house or dorm room to work on the project, which is closer than most science students ever get to having sex.

THEATER: The professors will never change their tests, so it's very important to find someone who took the class last year and get a copy of their old exams, thus guaranteeing an A++. There are required textbooks for the classes, but the professor will never even mention them after the first day, and nothing written inside these textbooks will ever be tested nor become required knowledge. Classes never begin before noon. Every day from 1:30pm-3pm is designated “Nap Time,” which is followed by an hour of “Quiet Time.” Since there are no books to read, no tests to study for, no essays to write and no projects to complete, students can use their time wisely by auditioning for plays nobody will ever go see. In order to get a part in a play, you must go through a grueling series of auditions, most of which require you to memorize a few lines of dialogue. In order to really immerse yourself in the Theater experience, you must complain profusely about how difficult it is to memorize lines and to get parts. You will walk around campus telling people how busy and stressed out you are, and then smoke pot in the middle of the morning and have sex with most of your classmates. If anybody suggests that you have it easy because you don't need to read books, write essays or study for any tests, you must give them an offended look and then walk away, muttering that they “just don't get it.”