Tuesday, July 30, 2013

College Life: How to Flunk Out in First-Year

College is about to start for tons of people, so why not take a look back at my college experience. With great pride, I usually begin my story of college about how I almost flunked out in first-year. The second semester of first-year closed out for me with an average of just over 56% -- just 1% from flunking out and being forced to take a year long "vacation". It was not a good year. But looking back, it was one of the best things ever to happen to me.

I went to school high
To give some context, I studied civil engineering. Bla bla bla, engineering is hard and they try to weed you out. Probably. But that's not why I almost flunked out. Throughout elementary school, my teachers loved me -- all 12 years. Even in classes where the teachers hated everyone else, they'd single me out for praise because I was quiet, not a shit disturber, and did reasonably well grade-wise. My average was consistently in the upper 80s, which wasn't spectacular but respectable. So, how did I go from upper 80s to upper 50s?

The eff happened?
They save you lose a few grade levels in the transition from high school to college. A drop from an "A" to a "D+" doesn't quite count. I went to college locally, didn't really participate in the party scene (didn't want to, no regrets nearly a decade later), and nothing significant in the personal department happened. Same 'ole, same 'ole.

What was it then?

How to flunk out of college
The answer is simple and multiple. Here are some of the things I learned to do to help me fail out of college.

1. Never go to class. Don't even bother going to late-afternoon classes after sleeping in all day because you think you can just learn it form the textbook later.

2. When you do go to class, don't bother listening or absorbing any information. This way, you'll never pick up tips and tricks, simplifications, and explanations taught by the instructor. Also, this will make you reliant on the textbook and force you to start from scratch at home, essentially doubling up your work.

3. Don't take notes, or fall asleep in class. Some overlap with point #2, but I also mean to include administrative notes like when a midterm is. Not knowing when a midterm or exam is allows you to miss it or come in an hour late -- I've done both!

4. Get addicted to something. My crack was World of Warcraft. Wow, was that injection of hot pixelated nerd crack satisfying. Every minute not spent in class was spent playing this game. Even when I had exams, I just had to log in for a few minutes while doing last minute cramming to check on my auctions. Yum.

5. Do the bare minimum around of work. This means studying off answer keys, never attempting assignments on your own, not reading or just skimming readings, and never asking questions about things you're unclear about. You paid over $5,000 to learn, why make your teachers teach you?

6. Don't do anything not worth credit -- related to #5. Don't bother with homework or exercises to help you absorb any material. If you can game a cheap online assignment, do that too. By game", I mean exploiting a poorly designed online assignments that allow you multiple tries and only keep the highest scores.

7. Procrastinate. Leave everything until the last minute. The assignments will either do themselves or it'll get easier to do with less time. I hear cutting corners and rushing through things works great. Mistakes are rarely made when work is rushed.

8. Pull an all-nighter because you mismanaged your time -- related to #7. There is no better time to work on an assignment worth 30% of your grade or study for a test than at 4:00am in the morning. I hear people don't need sleep and their performance isn't impacted by 24 straight hours of wakefulness.

9. Be anti-social. Limit social contact and don't make many friends. This way, you'll get stuck with other people like you for group assignments. Or, you'll get stuck with very social people that other people have deemed to be unreliable or unworthy of their groups.

10. Don't collect your assignments or ask for feedback. Not knowing can not hurt you. For example, if you've been getting grades like 5%, 30%, and 20% on tests worth 50% of your grade, you won't know until just before the exam. You'll only need to move from an F- to an A+ to pass the class!

In summary, eff yourself as much as possible!
As long as you follow my example and tack on some other more common things that could include excessive "partying", you might get a 56% average too.

P.S. I ended up finishing the program and going to graduate school -- finished with an A+ average. Like I said, failing was good for me.

College Life: How to maybe succeed
Going to Theaters / Movies Alone
Moving Away for College: Furniture and Dumpster Diving
Quit My Job, Go Back to School?
So you want to study Civil Engineering?

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