Monday, 15 September 2008

How To Fail An English Paper

This week's post was guest-written by Zander Rios and amused me. Regular blogging will resume next week with updates on Whistler and my life in general.

It was once said, "What is worth doing, is worth doing at the last minute". Actually, I may have made that up but in the interest of my getting a decent grade on this paper, lets hope I'm right. While I have always been something of a procrastinator, in writing this paper I seem to have set the bar at a new high. It is now nearly lunchtime and this paper is due in about four hours. Perhaps I should have started a week ago, but in light of this omen, and since I really have no other choice, I'll take my best shot.

The first step towards failing an English paper is to skip the class in which the assignment is given. Not only do you receive the assignment late, but you also miss learning how to write it! While this step isn't entirely necessary to failure, it helps to lay a firm foundation of ineptness in your writing.

For this step, several approaches can be taken to help you achieve your goal. First, there is the classic "weekday partying" approach which substitutes class for a good time the night before - with large quantities of alcohol recommended to ensure success.

Another good approach is to schedule a haircut during class, resulting in a dilemma as you weigh up the guilt of standing up the salon against the guilt of skipping class. This is actually an easy decision since there is not a single person on Earth who'd rather go to class than have their hair cut! Suit fitting or medical appointments are acceptable alternatives for this approach.

The final method - the ever dreaded “sleep through” approach - is not for the faint of heart. While this may not seem like an overwhelmingly difficult task, remember, friend, I am talking about a class that begins at 2:30pm! This approach is best aided by using your phone's alarm. This way you can leave it on silent and not have to worry about any annoying alarms. If you cannot quite bring yourself to silencing your own alarm, there is always the “roll-over”. This simple technique involves using your body to muffle the noise which will prevent you from waking up.

Since you aren't trying to fail the class, you'll have to show up eventually, which leads us to step two; achieved simply by burying the assignment deep in your schoolbag. Try to avoid viewing the assignment as you hide it since this can cause a feeling of anxiety and a future desire to search through your bag for it.

Be sure to cram your books on top, both to avoid accidentally viewing the assignment, and to lend a sense of overall classlessness to the proceedings by bending and wrinkling the paper in ways only achievable through intentional unintentionalness. This will cause you to feel extra depressed at the way you treated the assignment (once you are finally forced to start writing), helping to foster an overall sense of failure to your failure. This is okay though, since failure is the goal here, after all.

The third step is one that I hold close to my heart, known as the “four day weekend”. Starting your partying a full 24 hours earlier, on Thursday, allows for a large momentum to build up which will carry you through the weekend with ease – avoiding any threat of “weekend work”; the mongoose to failure's snake, if you will. Though seemingly similar to step one it is actually only a distant cousin!

Avoiding weekend work is essential to ensuring failure and this can be achieved with the classic “college kid routine”. This is simply consumption of alcohol each night, recovery each morning and then immediate preparation for the quickly approaching evening in the afternoon! Alternatively, a trip to the nearest city without your books is a great way to spend your long weekend - gambling recommended but not essential.

Poor planning, with some tweaking, can be used to great effect in achieving failure. Suddenly remembering a second paper (or doing it a week early by accident!) whilst avoiding the first can help to confuse proceedings and prevent the first from being started at the right time. To perfect this, it helps to ignore the professor when they are announcing deadlines, which can be achieved by sitting near attractive members of the opposite sex in class and not discussing your work with your classmates.

Applying every step discussed above to both papers can be very effective but is difficult to master, so don't get discouraged if you cannot fail two papers simultaneously. Spending all night writing the wrong paper will help to tire you out for the paper you intend to fail and help you ignore your conscience as you continue to put it off.

The final step is fairly simple. Having spent the weekend partying and now tired from an all-nighter doing another paper (that is possibly not even due!), despite a long morning nap, you start to think about starting the paper. To avoid temptation, the final recommendation is television. Flip through channels until you find a show like Law & Order S.V.U. - which is seemingly on repeat! Now, you may well have seen these episodes before, but that doesn't make them any less entertaining. Sit back and enjoy. Go through your normal routine of television watching. If that includes a favourite chair or popcorn then be sure to follow your routine thoroughly. Before you know it, you will have totally forgotten about the paper you intend to fail.

After several hours, to your surprise, the familiar comfort of Elliot and Olivia miraculously capturing rapists and murderers will end. While this may seem like a negative event at first (as though you'd have to start writing), be patient friend, for “The Saint” starring Val Kilmer and Elisabeth Shue, has just come on!

Since you probably know of its terribleness, you won't want to watch but give it a chance. We're talking Kilmer, Shue, Russians and Cold Fusion; good writing, directing, and acting be damned! After the stunningly bland conclusion, you'll head to bed; the paper nothing more than an afterthought!

Now, you've reached the due date of the paper. Since you have no intention of failing the entire class, you will want to start writing eventually. This is where I must cut ties with you; you're on your own. I could tell you to find your favourite writing spot, and put on some music, and the usual things that people say to help you get started, but what's the point? You are royally screwed!

Written by Zander Rios.
Edited by Chris Reed.

For those of you that actually care about grades, lectures and success, Homework Tree is a cool schedule planner designed for students that may help you organise deadlines and assignments - provided you aren't distracted by attractive people whilst the deadline is being announced!


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