Are these actually school secrets? As in, information no one aside from me knows regarding school success? Of course they are, but they won’t be for much longer considering how many people read my blog. Everyone will know within the hour. Well, alright, so maybe that was a bit of exaggeration, but these are tips nonetheless. With school back in session, this is extremely relevant since during the summer, no one cares about anything except for when the next season of Jersey Shore begins and when Snooki will break-up with Jionni. For all of you wondering, yes, I seem to have an affinity for putting ideas into lists, but trust me, one day I will stop doing that and these virtual pages will be filled with paragraphs. Unfortunately for the more grammatically-enraged among you, that day is not today.
1. Seat Selection is Everything
Where you sit in a class is the most important part of college life. Forget relationships, money, grades, and future career options, this is where life begins and ends. Where you sit on the first day of class is like deciding your future for the next 16 weeks.* Don’t pick the wrong spot or you will regret it for the rest of your life! And since everyone knows that once you pick a seat, you must stick with it forever and ever, well, the pressure is on. Do not walk in and walk to the very back of the class and sit down. That is the section of lost dreams. If you do that, you will not pass Go, you will not collect $200, and oh yeah, you will stop existing. Seriously. When you raise your hand, no one can stare at the back of your head as you give your answer, so therefore, you do not exist. If you faint while sitting in the back of the class, no one will notice because they can’t see you. In many ways, sitting at the back of the class is like living at the top of a 29-floor building that doesn’t have a working elevator. If there’s a fire, you’re screwed. Alright, so sitting in the back of the class is worse than writing poetry for that girl you like**, so what should you do instead? Glad you asked.
First thing’s first, see if you know anyone who will be in the class. This is on the assumption that you know absolutely no one there. Wait until a few minutes before class starts and then head on in. Survey the area. You will see the wasteland that is the back of the class and chuckle, but more importantly, most people will be in their seats. For whatever reason, everyone loves leaving a chair empty next to them instead of sitting directly next to someone. I mean, everyone knows someone who doesn’t know what soap is, but those people are in the minority. In any case, you can now scope out the area and see who looks like they’d be a nice person to get to know. Pick anyone you like. Remember, by the rules as put forth by the universe, they are not allowed to move, so take advantage. Go ahead and sit next to them and introduce yourself. The bar is set so low for first-day-of-class conversation that you can’t help but succeed. If you’re feeling a bit shy or maybe a bit risky, then perhaps my next strategy is right down your alley.
2. The Tic-Tac-Toe Technique
I have never discussed this openly in written-format before, so get ready to be blown away by sheer awesomeness. Ideally you will have done everything stated in number one and so now you’re next to someone who you would like to get to know. Ideally this person is a member of the opposite sex, but hey, push the boundaries if you want. During class, inevitably there will be a bit of a lull in the lecture, it is at this point that you tear out a piece of notebook paper, write something on it, fold it up like in the 4th grade, and then pass it to your future-companion. He/she will open it and write you back. What I like to do is draw a tic-tac-toe board and make the first move. She will virtually always play back at me and then it’s on. From there, you have broken the ice in a fun way and the possibilities are endless. Feel free to transition into some basic note-passing conversation. This has only ever failed me twice out of dozens of attempts. Once the girl looked as if she had never seen a pen before and stared at it blankly until I took it back. The second time the girl was the worst tic-tac-toe player I had ever seen and I won the game before making my third move. Keep in mind that this can be used outside of class as well, but I have found it most successful in that setting.
3. Picking the Right Essay Topics
This strategy mostly applies if you’re not particularly astute for a class. When it comes time to pick a topic either for an essay or on an exam, make sure to pick the one that no one else is going to pick. This will likely be a bit more challenging, but the reward is potentially great. The problem with picking the topic everyone else has chosen is that the professor is going to compare them all, and guess what? In comparison to some of the geniuses in the class, yours may very well suck. Kiss that A goodbye because if you don’t like the class, your chances of besting the best are as good as my chances of being the father of Snooki’s next child. By selecting a topic no one else has selected, the professor can’t directly compare you to anyone. Victory!
4. Learn to Save the Professor
Every professor has a moment or ten where he/she asks a question and everyone looks down at their desks because no one did the reading. The professor is left standing there in silence wondering if they should find another job or wondering whether anyone knows their socks don’t match. Panic is beginning to set in, but never fear! You’re here! That’s right, you raise your hand, save the class from five more minutes of awkwardness that even the cast of Twilight couldn’t muster, and answer the question accurately. The professor loves you for it and makes a mental note to give you an A no matter how bad your future work is. Alright, alright, so maybe I got a little carried away, but the point still stands. Professors are people, too and they like knowing that even one person is listening to them and not thinking about who they’re going to poke next on Facebook. This is also another good technique for when it is a class that is not your strong suit.
5. The Two College Paths
I posted a few weeks ago on the subject of buying cheap textbooks, but this goes well beyond that discussion. Essentially, there are two types of paths in college. These two divergent paths will affect absolutely everything in your life from the moment you step into college to the moment you leave and long after. They will even affect what kind of donut you eat to how many walls your house has.*** The first is to go the cheap route and try to get away with as little debt as possible after college while the second involves millions of dollars in student loan debt and years of living life on the run avoiding creditors. Virtually everyone lands somewhere in the middle, but most lean one way or another.
The first path generally involves going to a cheaper school that is much more affordable and involves little debt after college. For this, one typically has to give up “the college experience” as it was once envisioned and settle. The second path is where, as an infamous Nicole once said, “you have as much fun as you can for four years, and then be miserable for the rest of my life. That can’t possibly be healthy. Josh, can you help me?” Well...no, I couldn’t. In a nutshell, live it up, spend as much money as you can, and worry about the future later. I mean, tomorrow never comes...right?
So, which is right for you? The correct answer is probably neither. It’s not a good idea to be so frugal that you’re eating ketchup and mustard for every meal to stay out of debt, but Livin’ La Vida Nicole is emotionally dangerous. Have fun in college, just don’t completely forget that loans will have to be paid sooner or later.
Watch out for part 2 to be posted sometime soon.
* You know I’m right. When even one person changes seats, the entire space–time continuum of the class is forever altered. No one knows what they’re doing anymore. Someone steal’s a seat from someone else, so that person moves, and then another person gets displaced. Before long, chaos ensues.
** It was one poem! Pretty soon the whole school knew and I was so embarrassed that I never rhymed again. I really could have been someone in the poetry world, but no, my Junior High heart was crushed instead.
*** I personally am a 4-wall man myself, but your mileage may vary.