There’s a reason I went to college for five years. It wasn’t because I wanted to rage for an extra year, that was just a happy consequence, and definitely the most expensive party I’ve ever been to. I went to college for five years because I was never what you would call a “good student.” For one, I’m so ADD that it’s actually listed as a negative quality on my LuLu page. No seriously, it is:
Dying to know who wrote that, by the way. Along with having an attention deficit so disorderly that if someone turned on a TV while I was receiving a cancer diagnosis I would have to ask the doctor to repeat what he said, I am also not an easy person to motivate. To say that I work better on a deadline would be to assume that I work at all without one. Suffice it to say that between my drinking habits and disdain for any work that isn’t creative in nature, I am a born writer, though I can never really decide if it was my first option or my last. I guess my answer depends on how much I’ve had to drink and how happy I’m feeling.
My being a terrible student led to some pretty laughable academic moments throughout my five years at the University of Missouri. Moments that had professors, and honestly even myself, asking, “What the fuck is wrong with you!?” The one time a professor actually did ask me that, not coincidentally in the last office hours I ever attended, I simply responded with a shrug. That’s the sort of question you should treat as rhetorical, even if it isn’t. To this day I don’t really know what the fuck was wrong with me. I mean I blame ADD because that’s the easy answer, but to be honest…uh, you know what? I’m not feeling motivated enough to do any soul searching so fuck it, yeah, it was ADD. See? That’s how it happens.
When you get into the kind of shamefully ridiculous academic situations I did, you don’t put yourself there purposely. However, you don’t suddenly fall into them either, as if by some swift and tragic accident. You sort of wander thoughtlessly into them, like a slow child chasing a balloon out into oncoming traffic. It’s never good when you consider “not dying” a success, so to speak.
These are my saddest, most pathetic moments in all my years of taking finals. My guess is that more than a few people reading this are in similarly shitty situations. Hopefully this reassures them, or at least cheers them up. It better, because by reading this instead of studying, they’re really just making matters worse. Been there, friends, been there.
Speech Class, Freshman Year: Moon Cups, Menstruation, and Bears
This was during my pledge semester, so can I get a mulligan? It should be noted that I never did poorly in or failed a class because I couldn’t handle the course. I’m not saying I would have aced every class either (this class should have been, and eventually after retaking it was, an A), but at bare minimum I could’ve pulled a C in anything if I put in the effort, or, you know, showed up. After five absences in this particular class you started to drop a letter grade. I think I missed like eleven.
For some reason, even though I knew I had failed thanks to an amount of absences that only a kid suffering from leukemia could have justified, I showed up to take the final. I got there early to speak with the teacher. I asked her if there was any way my performance on the final would get her to reevaluate her fascist attendance policy. She said no.
I could’ve left. I should’ve left. But the rest of this small class was already there now, and I didn’t want to suffer the embarrassment of letting them know I had failed. In retrospect, my near dozen absences might have tipped them off anyway. Still, despite having just been informed that I had failed the most basic of college classes, I had pride. I mean, I shouldn’t have had pride, I should have put on an old timey dunce hat and punched myself in the dick. Whatever.
I sat down to take the exam, filled with an anger fueled by my aforementioned (and completely unjustifiable) pride as well as defiance. According to the teacher, there was no way I was going to pass. Fine, but I wasn’t going to go quietly into the night either. I was going to be a total dick about it.
The exam was mostly essay questions so there was plenty of room to write. I don’t remember what any of the questions were, that didn’t matter. All my answers had to do with the fact that she used a moon cup and that I missed so much class because I suspected her period was attracting bears and wanted to avoid danger. I also drew a few pictures of what I thought bears attacking the class because of her period might look like.
You can say pics or it didn’t happen, that’s fine, but it happened. My only proof is the other classes I have screwed around in. Looking back I feel like I should have gotten in deep shit for that; that being writing about and drawing pictures of a university employee’s menstrual cycle and its hypothetical bear related consequences. What’s the old saying? I’d rather be lucky than good at talking my way out of why I wrote about and drew pictures of a university employee’s menstrual cycle and its hypothetical bear related consequences? Yeah, something like that.
You also may be wondering, “How did you know she used a moon cup you sick fuck!?!?!” Fair question. Unfortunately I knew that this teacher, who looked like she was miraculously born of two full-bushed lesbians furiously scissoring to Lisa Loeb at a Lilith Fair concert, used a moon cup, because on one of the few days I decided to show up to class she mentioned that she sometimes used one in lieu of tampons. I do not remember the context of that admission, though I doubt anyone asked, “Hey Ms. B? When you’re dealing with lady times, what’s your receptacle of choice?” Repression has its consequences. That fact alone was a good enough excuse for me to skip the next two weeks of class. The only upside to her confession was that it was the first time I had ever heard of a moon cup. Somehow, considering my current employment, that ended up being the most valuable thing I learned in that class. Literally. I don’t think I took away anything that I was supposed to in college.
Finance, or, Fraternity Family Nepotism
My pledge dad was the TA in charge of the class myself and about seven other brothers enrolled in, simply because he was the TA. I in no way needed this class. I took it as a GPA boosting elective. Yes, by the way, I said pledge dad. Every time I hear a fraternity man refer to his adopted role model figure as “my big” I shudder, because it sounds so gay. I actually have no problem with the term “big brother,” it works just fine, but guys have got to stop saying just “big,” or “little,” which unless the guy is standing next to you when you refer to him as such, makes it seem like you’re talking about your male Filipino concubine. You sound like assholes.
Anyway, my pledge dad had two rules for us:
1) Show up to class. (We begrudgingly did, out of respect.)
2) Take the tests. You don’t have to study or get anything right; you just have to fill something out.
We obliged by those rules and received our grades accordingly. Except for one guy who didn’t show up to any classes. He got a D. That made me feel better about myself.
Yup, I have a degree.
Social Inequalities: I Hate Sociology
I’ve written about this before but it bears repeating, I hate sociology, which is a pseudoscience essentially based on the hypothesis that white people are to blame for everything. I mean, we are, but get over it. If you want to fairly assess the role of white people in the world you could probably best do so by paraphrasing Homer Simpson’s views on alcohol, irony included.
Obviously I was never happy to be in a sociology class or to be studying sociology. Unfortunately, I had to take a few sociology classes for some bullshit GenEd requirements, which I vehemently argue are a bigger waste of money than failing and retaking a class because you skipped too many days and then drew pictures of bears and periods on the final exam.
One particular class that I took, called “Social Inequalities,” was the epitome of everything I described above. The only reason I took it, aside from the GenEd crap, was because a girl I was dating at the time was taking it as well, so I figured, “Hey, free notes.” I did get free notes, but even they were too obnoxious to read. Thankfully I had attended enough class to have randomly heard the professor ramble on about middle and upper class white people being awful, etc., blah blah blah, whatever, we’re the devil.
Now armed with a basic knowledge of sociology, I employed what I considered to be a brilliant strategy. Instead of studying for the two exams, both of which were multiple choice scantron tests, I would simply pick the answer that I thought put the most blame on white people, or sounded the most paranoid. My girlfriend thought I was an idiot. I mean, yeah, fair enough. But it worked! To the tune of a C+ in the class. Even though my grade was “average,” I felt like a genius. If someone asked you whether or not you would take a C+ putting no work into a class you didn’t care about and barely needed, wouldn’t you take it? You’re all silently nodding. It’s okay, you don’t have to impress anyone here.
My girlfriend was furious, mostly because she studied her ass off and got the same grade I did. She was not smart, though to be fair, she did graduate in four years. However, I’d argue that isn’t smart either. I highly encourage anyone taking a sociology class to use this strategy, at least as a backup for any questions you’re unsure on. It will work, just as sure white people are evil, it will work.
Am I proud of my academic jack offery? I’m amused by it. Sadly there’s enough to fill an entire other column. The point is, if you’re worried about your upcoming exam, don’t be. You’re probably putting in a lot more effort than a guy like me. Besides, nobody is going to care about your GPA anyway. Well, except grad schools and the really awesome, high paying jobs. Never mind, close your browser immediately and go back to studying. You’ve made a huge mistake.