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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

How to make it seem like you did the reading if you, in fact, did not

<ay, 11:30 p.m. You are feeling OK about your life and your abilities as a functioning human and you may even think, but this might be pushing it, that you have no more work left for the day. I mean, you’ve been doing things all day - you made it to all your classes mostly on time (good for you!), you managed to have relatively balanced meals (and three of them!), you finally finished that essay, you talked with a friend about their fruitless sexual pursuits (we won’t say if you can relate or not), and you may have even done some exercise. Naturally, just to be sure (you are generally a good student), you check the syllabus for your 2A humanities class tomorrow. You sheepishly scan the Times New Roman.

150 pages due tomorrow. Your eyes pop out of your head.
What did you expect after all? A nice, reasonable 30 pages, maybe even a note that says: “Kids, take a break. Get some rest! Love you!”? How could you be so cretinous?

Well, by now it is 12:00 a.m., and you have some decisions to make. Can you get this done? Yes → do it; No → skim it. Can you keep your eyes open in order to skim it? Yes → great, now do it; No → give up.

What? Give up? Just go to sleep, throw in the towel, put up a white flag?! Yes. Here is an important life lesson: knowing when to give up. No one will talk to you about this. Of course we’ve all heard the maxim Never Give Up!, but honestly that person has likely never been faced with a trans-Atlantic cruise ship full of readings due tomorrow and the beginnings of a headache and such a comfortable bed. Just. Give. Up.

So now it’s 9:48 a.m. and class starts in two minutes and as you’ve prudently chosen to sleep, you haven’t done the readings. Not even a little. From someone who is familiar with this unpreferable situation, here’s what to do:

1. Immediately locate the kid in your class who always, always does the reading and who tolerates you.

2. Implore them to give you a lowdown on what you missed because you were exhausted and had a headache, (note: it is easy to tell if the person sympathizes with you or is disgusted by you and wants you to suffer to the utmost extreme from the indolence which they themselves aren’t plagued with. It is vastly preferable that the person be sympathetic).

3. Gather as much information from this individual.

4. Go to the text (I pray you printed it out or already had it printed. This is crucial).

5. Skim it like a vat of fresh milk.
The prof has entered and nods across the room. Look at little studious you, critically reviewing the text you nearly lost your vision reading the night before! (Glasses-wearers have an advantage here). When class discussion commences, you could win a Nobel Prize for Most Attentive Listener. Furrowing your brow at others’ comments while casting your gaze upwards is highly successful in feigning scholarly speculation. But most importantly, you must participate. But I haven’t done the reading! So? Dig through those unread words like they’re a sandbox and you’re a snotty toddler and sculpt that sand into some semblance of sense, raise your hand, and speak. Carefully add words like idiosyncratic, trope, and paradigm, make a page reference, then shut your mouth. I recommend at least two comments, active note taking, and next time, maybe do the readings too.

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