Wednesday, December 13, 2006

List Day: Ten Tips

In keeping with this week's peculiar education theme, the Washington Post published an article with Ten Tips on How To Get Ahead In College (not to be confused with the more often cited Top Ten List, "How To Get Head In College"). Sadly, not all of them apply in the real world.

  1. Go to class and take notes yourself.
  2. Useful, but if your notes tend to fade into illegibility and drool as you nod off during the lecture, you're better off just staying home and reading the book later.

  3. Don't shy from courses with lots of papers.
  4. The opposite is true here -- go for the courses with lots and lots of multiple-choice tests, because at least then you are not at the mercy of subjective grading or a TA that was recently dumped.

  5. Don't major in engineering.
  6. This is one they have completely wrong. Being an engineer will give you tons more free time given your lack of social calendars, and therefore you'll be much more successful at studying and testing!

  7. Make a big event out of your most-feared academic tasks.
  8. Going out to write a paper? That's madness! If you're out and about, chances are good that you'll forgo the paper entirely for a game of pool or a couple of pints. At least if you stay home, you'll eventually run out of things to distract you, leaving nothing to do but the paper. (Unless, of course, you live in a World of Science outlet -- you could be distracted for an infinite amount of time)

  9. Speak to your professors frequently.
  10. This will make professors hate you. Maybe things are different at non-research institutions, but normally they want you in and out with as little fuss as possible.

  11. Study in an isolated place as early in the day as you can, and do a five- to 10-minute break every hour.
  12. Does anyone actually study anymore? Not including cramming, I can't think of a single person from my college career that every took time out of their day to review course materials.

  13. Use section meetings for more than getting to know attractive classmates.
  14. The whole point of college is to find someone to marry once you graduate, after which the dating pool will dramatically shrink. I thought that was common knowledge -- Business 101 is secondary to such evolutionary and reproductive concerns.

  15. Don't do all of your reading.
  16. In whole-hearted agreement.

  17. Before you start work on a paper, do the analysis in your head.
  18. This will also let you postpone the paper for weeks at a time with the excuse of, "Well, I've been working on it in my head." It also makes sudden amnesia a viable excuse for a late paper, much like "My dog ate the disk."

  19. Let experts look at drafts of a major paper.
  20. This goes back to #5 -- most professors want to be graders not teachers, and if you force them into that role they'll no doubt tackle your final grades with an unmatched fervor.

Do women need men?
Forth tenor boo'd off the stage
Further misadventures of the fourth tenor

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