Let’s take a walk inside my academic life shall we?
My blogging sister and friend, Hot Mess, has a birthday today! In honor of her turning 25 (with some additional life experience) today, I have decided to do something that I promised to do for her almost a month ago – I will make my own post on how to suck at post-secondary education.
Hot Mess did the first post, 10 ways to suck at college, and it’s up on her blog and you should definitely go read it! Since I seriously sucked at university, she suggested that I do that exact same post! So, HM, here ya go my love!
I am saying university because in Canada, college and university are two very different things.
Don’t go to class
Yes, I understand this is the exact same as HM’s first point, but it’s true. If you want to suck at university, just don’t go. I didn’t go to LOTS of classes. And it showed in my grades. I even made a pact with one girl in an anthropology class that I would go one week, sign her in with her student number so she could stay home, and she would do the same for me the next. Good life choices, T.
Don’t listen to the professor
This happened lots of times. Like I would go to class and just sit on my laptop and play games or go on Facebook. Ya know, easy non-paying attention type things.
Don’t review your notes.
I am a FAST typer. I’ve had a few professors that would talk slowly and I would literally type every single word that they were saying in my lecture notes. But since I was so focused on typing what they were saying, I wasn’t listening to what they were saying – ya know? So I’d get home and have a perfect transcript of the class (which I would then sell to other classmates who decided not to come to class) but I’d never actually read it.
Never ask for help
Again – same as HM. I didn’t ask my professors or TA’s for help when I needed it.
I was the Queen of faking assignments. I took a class about the life of Gandhi. It was supposed to be interesting but it wasn’t. It was the professor’s last course before she retired and it showed. So I watched the movie instead of reading the biography. Took the chapter headings to write my final paper instead of reading the book. My project for the class was to live a week like Gandhi – I picked three of his tenants and kept a journal. I followed the rules (which I had set myself!) for less than one day. On the day before the assignment was due, I wrote a fake journal for the week, and then wrote a paper on my experience referencing the fake journal. I think it’s safe to say I didn’t learn a single thing.
Taking too many classes
Everyone thinks that you HAVE to finish university in a set 4 years. My degree was technically 4 years but I finished in 5. A full course-load was too much for me to handle because I was working and volunteering. I failed a few classes so even took courses over the summer. So if you added up all my semesters, it was more like 6.5 years worth of semesters. But I needed the lighter time table to get everything done.
Decide to drop out every year in February
This was a whole lot of fun. I wanted to work for an NGO and they didn’t require you to have a degree. It was suggested that you have one in political science (that’s what I was studying) but not a requirement. So in 2nd/3rd/4th year I would just decide during reading week that I was going to drop out and think about that for a week before my assignments were due and then the night before they were all due go OMG WHAT AM I DOING!? and then have to do all my assignments the night before.
Don’t hand in assignments
I never failed any classes until I got to university. My first year I failed TWO. Both because I didn’t hand in my final projects. I took a weekend to Toronto with some friends of mine (I lived in Kitchener at the time and school was in Waterloo) and over the course of the weekend, my dad’s laptop was stolen from my car and my two final papers with it. I got the police report number and asked for extensions from my teachers. One I was able to finish and it was marked so low for being such a piece of poop. And the other, since it wasn’t for my major, I pushed and pushed and finally asked for another extension and the prof was like “nope, get it in when you said” so I just took a zero. The next year I was on academic probation.
Not repeating the courses you fail
Since I was on academic probation, I had the choice of keeping the failing grades on my transcript or retaking the class. I retook the class that was for my major but not the other one. It would have boosted my overall GPA so much if I had!
Living off campus and not participating in anything
I lived at home during the first 4.5 years I was in university. My last semester I moved out. It was great to save the money, but I also didn’t join any clubs or make a lot of friends because I was just there for classes and then left. I didn’t do the freshman week (I went the first day to a mandatory thing and that was it), I didn’t keep up my debate skills by joining their club, I didn’t do anything on campus. While I know people who have made life long friends from university, I have maybe one or two people I still talk to.
So that’s my list of 10 ways to suck at university. But here are also a few ways that I felt I excelled:
- Sell your notes! I was the class note-taker for a lot of my classes. The university would pay $50 per course if your course had someone who needed a note-taker. Then a few students found out that I was the note-taker and would pay me for all the notes for that course. I only ever saw one guy the day I would pass off the CD full of notes. He was literally never in class. But he also paid me $120 per course ($10 per week) to send him my notes – so whatever dude, stay home and get high.
- Stand up for yourself over bad grades. I had one professor who graded really hard. And for no reason. I accept when I hand in things that weren’t the best, BUT when he gave me a 53% for no reason, I complained to him, then to my department chair. I had it remarked by another teacher and it ended up being a 75% instead. The original professor hated me after that and picked on me, but whatever. I’m not going to let some closed-minded “retired after 33 years in the air-force” jerk mess up my GPA after I had worked so hard to fix it!
- Take classes you will enjoy. I can not stress this enough!! Study what you love or what interests you and you’ll do so much better!
- Find professors that teach to your way of learning. I literally stayed an extra semester just to take one last course with my favourite professor. I was working full time and she knew it and I went to one class every week instead of two, but I loved her teaching and her courses so much I didn’t care. But, on the other hand, I also had a professor that it didn’t matter how much I studied, I could not get over a 60% on any of her tests/assignments. I only took the two mandatory courses with her that I had to take and that was it.