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Are you tired of getting preached at about how to be successful in college? Well, relax! I'm not going to do that. I have detected some students who are actually trying to fail or be mediocre. These remarks are addressed to them; the rest of you can just listen and feel superior. These hints were drawn together because I have found that many students don't really know how to mess up their education enough to actually fail. So here is how to do it with real style and a modicum of grace.
1. Sit in the back of the classroom. This will immediately indicate a lack of interest in the class and generally negative attitude toward school in general. Besides, it's closer to the radiators and easier to fall asleep. If you must sit in the middle, be sure to walk out 7 minutes early. And if you can only sit in front, bring a generous supply of comic books and/or crossword puzzles to fill the class hour.
2. Don't read your assignments prior to going to class. This way, you will be nicely unprepared to answer questions and you'll have no idea what the professor is lecturing about.
3. If you MUST take class notes, let reading and studying of them pile up to the night before an exam. No sense making more of what the professor says than you have to. And be sure to use a lot of abbreviations that you can forget the meaning of. By the way, don't keep notes for each class in separate notebooks -- just run them all together so you can be sure to miss some of them when reviewing.
4. Forget to purchase your textbooks. And ignore any suggestions by the professor to do outside reading in the library unless you like the color of the book and it has a lot of pictures (they CAN be interesting to look at). If you open a book, never scan the content headings and never ever look over graphs, figures, illustrations, etc.
5. Ignore your examination results (if you even take them). Throw exams away. If you do the dumb thing of studying them, you might raise your grade on the next exam. And if you do keep them, be sure not to pay attention to any of the comments made by the instructor -- that only helps to raise the grade also. It is usually best to miss the class when exams are returned -- and then just never ask for yours.
6. Either don't go to class or go very little. This way you won't be bothered with knowing anything about stuff that might be on tests. And REMEMBER that going to class late is not as graceful or stylish. It is best just not to go at all.
7. After cutting a class, be sure to ask the instructor, "Did I miss anything?"
8. Start term papers late. As a matter of fact, just throw them together. This will guarantee a junior-high level mess, especially if you wait until the night before they are due. Then be sure to tear them out of spiral notebooks, hand them in with coffee rings and jelly stains all over the title page, and just for good measure, be sure that the pages are out of order and not numbered. ALWAYS proof-read them; rough drafts CAN turn out better than you want the paper to be.
9. Schedule all your classes either in the morning or in the afternoon. This will give you large blocks of time to goof off doing nothing -- thus eliminating any possibility of making good use of your time.
10. Stay up all night before exams -- not to study, just to be bleary-eyed and get your body out of kilter so you will be able to function at the lowest possible level.
11. Never visit with any of your professors during the term. That would just result in your getting valuable information that might help you. Then, if you mess up all these suggestions I am giving you, you can brag about the degree you got without ever speaking to a professor. If you must talk about a grade or something stupid like that, be sure to buttress your arguments with sterling logic, such as "but I'm such a nice person."
12. Don't ever read the catalog about the requirements in your area or in any other area. Not only can you remain ignorant about your current major but you will never have to worry about finding another one that might interest you. And be sure to avoid your advisor if you can. Sign your own cards if necessary. If you HAVE TO see your advisor for whatever reason, just run in, breathless, at the last minute so you won't have to listen to any advice.
13. Never study with anyone else at any time. You might learn something or have something explained that you would prefer to remain confused about.
14. If you must buy textbooks -- just to save face, you know -- then sell them right before finals week begins. No sense cluttering your mind or your desk during that last fun week. And you will not have to stand in the "sell back" lines.
15. If you are having difficulty with a course or anything else, avoid like the plague any help from any of the people on campus whose jobs are to help you. Just let the term slip by.
16. Don't schedule your time. Play everything by ear. Scheduling your time could lead to your not having enough time to waste. When in doubt, have a bull session.
17. Drop any course that is at all interesting.
18. Miss any appointment you might make -- especially those made at odd hours.
19. Remember that bridge and Frisbee in the halls are ever so much more productive during finals week than during any other time.
20. Memorize, memorize. Don't try to understand anything.
21. Develop real self-discipline by putting your role as student second and everything else first.
(This was first used about 1975. Scary that it still sounds relevant!!
-- Bonnie Titley, Colorado State University)