The art of skipping
As a young, aspiring individual, you will soon cross over through rites of passage from high school into the realm of college education, if you have not already. Of course, you begin college with the best of intentions – everyone does – determined to make the most of your undergraduate education, convinced that you only get out what you put in.
However, after the first two weeks of class, your motivation begins to wane. In addition, your classroom has large windows with a view of the front lawn, where other college students are tossing Frisbees and actually appear to be happy. Class, though it is the backbone of the college education, could never begin to satisfy your original expectations of the college experience. You can’t drop the class – it is required for your major. So, it’s best to stick it out for the remainder of the semester, and even though you’ve already forgotten about your original endeavors to learn the most you can, you still want to get a decent grade. But the happy students outside playing Frisbee have gotten the best of you, and you just can’t handle going to class anymore. What do you do?
Now is the opportune time to learn one of the most useful and important habits of seasoned (and by seasoned, I mean fifth-year) college students – skipping class. It sounds easy, but don’t be fooled – there is a correct and an incorrect way to do it. If you want to skip class successfully and put forth minimal effort while still maintaining a passing grade, there are a few techniques you’ll need to master.
Skipping class successfully, and repeatedly, often requires much planning. If possible, it’s best to begin this planning before signing up for a class. Technique Number One: Try to take classes with people you know. This works best if those people go to class on a regular basis and don’t turn and run the other way when they notice you approaching them. If it’s possible, take classes with five or more people you know. Then, get together before the semester begins and delegate responsibility. I suggest creating a rotation chart; each person will go to class when it is their turn, promising to take good notes and, if possible, turn in any extra credit or other points for the remainder of the group.
While you’ll only be going to class every few weeks, your group will also be holding up their end of the bargain. Among all five or six of you, you’ll have a complete set of notes. Then, the night before each exam, hold a “Xerox” party, in which everyone exchanges copies each other’s notes. This simple, nearly effortless process will give you access to everything you need to pass the test while still allowing you to play Frisbee with your new friends during class time.
But sometimes you can’t take classes with people you know, usually because you’ve insulted the God of Schedules somehow. It sounds serious, but when this happens, there is a somewhat more challenging but ever more rewarding way to pass class without ever going, which brings me to Technique Number Two: Hit on the nerd in your class. You may sacrifice a few social status points, but Frisbee calls. This technique requires that you make a personal sacrifice for the first five or six class meetings by actually going to class, but it will be worth it.
On the first day of class, pay attention and take notes, but write down nothing pertaining to the subject of the class. What you want to remember is this: Who sat in the front? Who brought a book on the first day? Who is wearing horn-rimmed glasses? If the same person meets all these qualifications, you’ve found your victim. If no one surfaces on the first day, don’t get discouraged – keep in mind that it may take a few class meetings for the real nerds to emerge.
Once you’ve decided who will be the host in your parasitic endeavor, corner him/her after class and ask if they’d like to go out with you for coffee sometime, and insist that you exchange phone numbers. Though you may have to go out with this person a few times, you now have a way to call them the night before every test. Be sure to treat this person like a genuine friend, even if you wouldn’t normally have any other reason to talk to this person. And always keep an open mind; you may find that you have more in common than you think.
Now that you’ve mastered the first two techniques, it’s time to move on to Technique Number Three: Don’t skip class when everyone else does. This technique is simple, but it is very important – perhaps the most important. You already know that skipping class requires a certain level of strategic planning, and there is no greater strategy than knowing when you should go to class. It is absolutely imperative that you attend class on the following key dates: the first day of class, the class period before a test, and the day before any major break, such as Thanksgiving or Spring Break.
The latter is the most important because most people, even good students, choose to skip class on these days. Hence, the teacher will take notice of the people who are actually there. The professor will make a mental note that you are a student committed to learning, though you are only posing as such. This technique will come in handy later, coupled with Technique Number Four, when you’re making your case for an A, B, C or other grade of your choice.
What is Technique Number Four, you ask? Go to your professor’s office at least three times during the semester. This may seem like more of a sacrifice than actually going to class, but one-on-one time with your teacher actually will help. This technique is especially successful in large lecture classes, in which there is no way for your professor to know whether or not you ever actually attend class. A visit to your professor’s office a few times during the semester will pay off in the long run, because a) your professor will assume you actually want to learn, and b) you will actually know where your professor’s office is in December, when you’ll need to beg him/her for three extra points to get an A (or a B, or a C, etc.). It may seem absurd, but never underestimate the power of a few office visits.
Armed with these four techniques, you should be able to successfully attend almost zero classes and still pass them all. Don’t get discouraged if you realize your GPA is not quite as good as your roommate’s or neighbors. Just remember: “D” is for “degree.” However, before you design and implement your plan to escape from class, there are a few key things you should remember. Skipping class, though you will most likely still pass them, probably won’t be to your advantage in the long run. Learning the most you can really will be beneficial for you sometime in the future, though it may take your entire lifetime to realize those benefits. Always keep your goals in mind, and continually ask yourself if going to class will help you achieve them. If it will (though I can hardly see how), perhaps you should reconsider your plans to perpetually skip class. You may actually be skipping your education. But at least you’ll be on time for Frisbee.