I’m pretty sure this could become a series, but if I have less than 7 things by Thursday, I’ll post on a Saturday or something. Good? Good.
~Let’s start, shall we?~
1. Give yourself time to learn new technology (especially when something is due for class on the same day).
I walked to the Student Center on Monday and gave myself thirty extra minutes to try and scan some pictures onto a computer for one of my classes.
How about there was no instruction manual? I guess, “duh, like why would there be?” But I was lost on how to use that thing.
I pressed all the buttons and turned it off several times before things started to click and make sense. After ten minutes had passed, I realized what I was doing wrong and spent fifteen more minutes trying to scan the pictures right for my teacher. (I think he’s a perfectionist.)
Say I had only given myself five minutes to scan those pictures and make it to the bus for his class?
I would have been late to class and I might have given up on scanning the pictures, so then I would have made an F on the assignment.
Give yourself some extra time to fool around with technology. A lot of these funky machines at my school (and most definitely yours, too) won’t come with instructions, so you’ll spend time trying to figure the machine out.
That eats up time, because after you figure out what you’re doing, you’ll spend more time trying to finish your business.
2. If you have a lot of homework to catch up on, prepare yourself to be sitting around for a while.
That means if you procrastinated on doing some homework and you have a few hours to play catch up, load your book bag up with stuff to keep yourself in one spot.
Because college apparently turns everyone into a time-traveler. You’ll sit down at eleven in the morning to start some homework, blink twice, and it’s three in the afternoon.
A. Bringing a sweater in case it’s cold in that building.
I highly recommend that you bring a cute sweater. I’m stuck with Sylvester, but he’s a good friend. Get yourself a Sylvester or a cuter sweater named Sammie.
B. Buying some Taco Bell in case you get the studying-for-hours-induced munchies.
I recommend Taco Bell for their spicy sauce so your mouth will burn and keep you awake. And in case you fall asleep on your homework, you might drool a little bit on your papers, as a punishment for falling asleep on your homework.
Save your homework. Besides, who would want their homework to smell like Taco Bell’s sarcastic hot sauce? That hot sauce has asked me to marry him dozens of times now.
C. Bringing your headphones for a long jam secession.
You’ll need some music. I get so bored listening to people sneezing and coughing and yawning and . . . Bring your tunes so you can drown all that stuff out.
Of those three things, I only have two: Sylvester and some headphones.
I haven’t found a Taco Bell down here yet, but I’m looking for one. Once I do, it’s on.
3. Don’t be unprepared to lose some money to a selfish, fickle, dollar-craving creature. AKA the vending machine.
Vending machines are evil creatures. For one thing, they can keep your change. I gave a vending machine five dollars to get a drink the other day and it ate the rest of my money.
Another thing: vending machines are fickle. They can give your friend two of the same item (because they’re feeling generous), but only give you one thing. Like, seriously?
This is getting too serious. I know vending machines are inanimate objects that may or may not be rigged to frustrate you. (I suspect they’re not rigged and you’re just unlucky.)
And don’t try to shake them if your item gets stuck on its way out.
The vending machine will try to fall on you and kill you.
Murderous, thieving . . .
4. Stay calm when it comes to peer critiques.
I was nervous for a whole day because I had two peer critiques back to back for two different classes, and let me tell you-
*notices you’re shaking*
What? What’s the matter?
“HOW IN THE HAM SANDWICH CAN I STAY CALM?! EVERYONE IS JUDGING MY WORK!”
You’re not the only one nervous.
“WHAT DO YOU MEAN? OF COURSE I AM!”
Look around the classroom. See the bouncing legs and fidgeting? The uneasy smiles and lack of conversation? Everyone else is nervous, too.
“EVEN THE PRO?”
Especially the pro. Why wouldn’t they be nervous?
Do they teach the class? No. Do they look calm? Maybe they aren’t as nervous as everyone else, but they are nervous.
*you stop trembling, but now you’re looking at the floor*
“What makes you so sure?”
Well, if you’re nervous because everyone is judging your work, maybe they’re nervous about it, too.
So breathe. It won’t be that bad.
“you look up at me” “I’m scared.” *your eyes start glassing over*
You’ll survive. *pats back soothingly*
Here are some tips for surviving a peer critique:
A. Look at the work as if it isn’t yours.
B. If you find yourself getting nervous, take deep breaths and try to imagine you’re drawing in the air all the way down to your toes.
C. Chew on some gum while your work is in the spotlight.
I read the supporting evidence for C somewhere online. I couldn’t find the source, though.
Basically, the point was this question: “Would you eat if you were in danger?”
No? Good. You’re not in danger, anyway. It’s only a critique. No one’s got a gun to your head, thank God.
Hold on. You would eat if you were in danger? Weirdo.
Just kidding. Sort of. That’s a little odd . . . Can I recommend some chicken quesadillas from Taco Bell?
5. Asking for help doesn’t make you look incompetent.
We all used to scowl at that one kid who asked too many questions in class, but guess what? If you didn’t pay attention to the teacher’s answer, you’d eventually be asking the same question.
Likewise, it seems silly and embarrassing to be that kid (we’ll call them the Lost Kid) and to need to ask questions.
But why not? You’ll understand the assignment more and you’ll look as if you’re interested in the class.
More importantly: you’ll know what you’re doing.
I found this out on Wednesday. I was the Lost Kid.
But guess what?
By the time my teacher finished explaining it to me, no one else had any questions (hopefully because theirs had been answered when he answered mine) and I knew what I was doing.
6. When you’re working on an assignment that requires a certain machine (ex. computer, printer, etc.) and it looks like you won’t get to it for hours, get busy.
I was in the same class I was in during number five. Everyone else had access to the computers and the printers, and I had a huge table to myself with no chance of getting to a computer or printer anytime soon.
My teacher had a powerpoint up on the board and I had been taking notes before he explained the assignment I asked questions about.
I had nothing else to do, so guess what I did?
I asked my teacher questions about the notes.
A. I didn’t want to sit there and look inactive.
B. My teacher would know I was genuinely interested in knowing what I was doing, thanks to my earlier questions.
C. I was actually confused about some things.
D. I didn’t have anything else to do.
Asking questions can be hard at times because no one wants to look clueless, but do you see the benefits?
Now you know what you’re doing, you look like you want to make a good grade, and you might establish yourself as the Tutor (the kid everyone goes to for help).
And let me tell you, the Tutor will make friends faster (due to knowing what you are doing and your fellow classmates will entrust you with their grade by asking you questions), and the Tutor will shine in the classroom and their teacher will notice them.
And if you ignore the awesomeness of having a quicker way to make friends and grabbing your teacher’s attention, establishing yourself as the Tutor will make it easier for you to get a letter of recommendation from your teacher. We will all need one at some point.
Am I right?
So, not only will you make friends and get good grades, but you also have a bigger chance of impressing your teacher and getting a letter of recommendation when you need one.
7. When it comes to having copies of a draft for a peer critique, print out an extra copy for yourself so you can take notes on it.
I bought some InkJoy pens, so now my slightly-more-elegant-than-chicken-scratch handwriting can look more impressive in color. I printed out the two required copies of a rough draft for a paper on Tuesday, and a full hour passed before we started critiquing each other’s papers.
Of course, my professor talked about the papers for an hour and what he expected, and I took notes on one of the copies using all my pens, ruining a peer any chance of being able to point out any mistakes I missed.
I had to go print out a blank copy (I didn’t mind. One sheet is five cents.) for said peer and I quickly realized that I like to take notes, especially since now my handwriting can be in color.
All I’m saying is you might want to save yourself some time by printing out an extra draft, just in case you want to take some notes for yourself.
If you’re in charge of your own ink and paper, you might want to take notes in a notebook, but you’ll have to write fast if you’re trying to keep up with your professor.
That’s all I have for today! What do you want me to blog about next week?
Write it down in the comments or tweet me.
Thank you for reading and see you next Thursday.