You were assigned two hundred pages of reading in two nights. In theory, you could have completed them.
But we deal in reality here at The Boola, not theories – and I think we all know that reality looks more like this
You’re sure that some butthole in your class did complete it. Don’t think about them. This isn’t the time to regret your decisions. You had fun not doing that reading. Hanging out with X/sleeping/watching Netflix was totally worth it. Until you walked into your seven-person section. That’s when the reality of your decision set in. You know you messed up, but never fear – I got you. Lower your leg because you won’t be putting your foot in your mouth today. Bullshit is a renewable resource; you never run out.
1. Breathe: This will not break you. It has been statistically proven through math and stuff that a minimum of 30 percent of each class hasn’t done the required reading (more if you’re in a large lecture with a final paper that is less than 10 pages). You are not alone. Someone else in the room is in the same boat as you and, as the phrase goes, misery loves company. Bask in the fact that you aren’t the only person who is going to struggle through the next hour and fifteen minutes. We’re all in this together.
Except the section asshole. Some assholes just want to see section burn
2. Stop looking suspicious: You didn’t commit a crime. Nothing is broken and no one is hurt. Stop looking like you have a dead body in your trunk and the investigators from Criminal Minds are out in the parking lot.
Yes of course I read all 334 pages…
3. Take notes: They don’t even have to be good notes. Hell, they don’t even have to be real words. Just have a notebook and a pencil. Write especially intensely between your classmates’ comments. Your professor will be less likely to call on you if you seem enthralled in the spark of genius you obviously just had. The only caveat of this is that if you get too into your note taking, the professor will call on you to share what you’ve written with the class. This will be a disaster beyond words, and unfortunately, I’m not sure I could help you out of that pickle.
Mrs. Alyssa Clooney…Mr. and Mrs. George/Alyssa Clooney…
4. Sit next to someone that has done the reading and talks a good amount: this one is somewhat like reference psychology. I think. Basically, the trick is to sit next to someone who talks a bunch. Therefore, the professor will feel as though many comments have come from that side of the room, and will therefore feel the need to balance out the space by cold-calling on people away from you. This may or may not be the best piece of wisdom I’ve discovered while at Yale. You’re welcome.
But if this doesn’t work, don’t tell them I sent you.
5. Confirm and extend what others have already said: If you cannot avoid being called on, at least make sure you aren’t called on first. Listen to what others say, write them down if you have to, and then basically just paraphrase. Throwing in the phrase: “I like what X said and agree that…” gives them the right amount of credit while insinuating that you too came to that same conclusion.
If you’re feeling really bold, add in a “that reminds me of *reading you at least skimmed from a few weeks ago*”
6. Nod intelligently when others speak: It couldn’t get any easier than this. When someone says something smart, lightly (LIGHTLY!) nod. If you nod too much, you look like you agree enough to add your opinion, and we all know you don’t.
7. Relate the few pages you have read to something obscure: this is a risk. A huge risk. If you’re feeling brave (or stupidly rash), raise your hand (confidently) and liken the reading to some obscure piece of literature/ an article/a film. Although this may give you brownie points with the professor, you will a) annoy the rest of the people in your section, b) unnecessarily spotlight yourself, and c) put yourself in the position to be called out by someone who actually did the reading AND knows about your obscure thing. This is an advanced bullshitting maneuver. Be prepared to handle any resulting consequences and don’t say I didn’t warn you.
“Oh, I didn’t know anyone else in the class had heard of that one thing Oscar Wilde wrote on a pub napkin in his teens…”
8. When in doubt, shut up: You know that feeling of invincibility you get when something great happens? For some reason, when one thing goes right in our lives we automatically believe that this luck will cross-apply itself to everything else. It doesn’t.
Sage advice from everyone’s favorite older brother. Just keeping it real for you
The same goes for sections. If someone makes a comment and you feel the urge to raise your hand and speak, but you are less than 99.9 percent positive of the outcome, can it. This is the only time when my advice is to smash that little voice that says, “I can do this!” back into the recesses of your mind. The benefits of messing up are heavily outweighed by the embarrassment of not knowing the name of a main character because they were introduced on page 17 and you only made it to page 16 1/2.
Or, more realistically, page 3
Since you made it this far in this article (thanks btw), I assume that you are procrastinating right now. Since procrastinating is the reason why you would need this article in the first place, I find it extremely ironic that you are reading this right now. But who am I to judge, as I spent just as much if not more time writing this as a mode of procrastination, so now we’re all in a big ol’ crappy circle of life.
NAAAAAAAH SAAAHGWOOOONNYYYAAAAAAAA!!! Pink pajamas, penguins on the bottoms…pink pajamas, penguins on the bottoms…