University for the idle and dick-headed


A Guide to University: For the Idle and Dick-headed, by Elfy Scott.

Let’s get this straight; if you are resolutely under the belief that successfully completing a tertiary education is based solely upon a determined combination of hard-work, organisation and outright intelligence, then you are so naïve and adorable, I’d rather like to sit you down in a chair, ruffle your hair and give you a biscuit. Universities are breeding grounds for the Machiavellian schemes of the languid; accurate retention of information and the ability to assemble a coherent paper are, at most, half of the work. Those who subvert the sincere intentions of academia, in favour of the highly respectable alternative of pissing about, are equally as likely to pass subjects as the next person assuming that they are able to employ strategy as well as sacrifice personal and intellectual integrity in the process (remarkably simple).

If, by any chance, you are reading this and thinking “I have not met a single individual in my degree who perpetuates this hideous ideology of utter laziness!” that is quite simply because they are either at home in their jim-jams or down the pub, not attending lectures or sitting in the library…like the chump you are. The following is a list that I have compiled in observation of my own behaviour as a student who turns up to university so remarkably infrequently that I sometimes find myself genuinely surprised at the realization that I am still currently in the process of completing a degree.

There is simply no such thing as “too many emails”
I am always rather flummoxed whenever somebody, in a state of great upset, should mention to me that they seem to have come upon an unsolvable problem in their degree. You flummox me. Start off every semester by researching the following three people: your course coordinator, your course administrator and your tutor. Tattoo their goddam emails onto your forearm and email them about everything. Any administrative, assignment-related or almost entirely arbitrary question warrants an email. It takes a mere three minutes out of your day and gives you the priceless advantage of appearing to be a dedicated student and covering your bases when you inevitably fuck up.

You are not above sexual exploitation
Now, hear me out, I am under no circumstances encouraging that sordid flicker of an idea in your mind that may suggest to you that seducing that almost-conceivably-age-appropriate professor will secure you a pass in a subject. To be completely honest, the likelihood is that you are neither sexually attractive nor adept enough at flirtation to secure that as an option. You don’t need me to tell you that perhaps scenarios laid out in pornography may not be realistically applicable. If you were to approach this fitful fantasy, the reality would be less short skirts, heaving breasts and the explosion of a mutually suppressed passion and more, an awkward lope to the front desk following a tutorial, after which you would cry out alarmingly in a monstrous wail, “blowjob for an A Mister?!”. At the very least, you’ll come out of it looking like a total clot, at worst, socially outcast and expelled from your particular institution. Keep it in your pants.

However, casual flirtation that caters to the ego of your superiors should not be underestimated. The fact is, the academics you encounter are, more often than not, absolutely trudging through the dregs of their field, whether it is on the cusp of their professional breakthrough or in the slow decline of their career. They are underpaid, overworked and lack of respect for the staff is rife from both the student body and the university’s administration itself. If they were in the peak of their careers they would not have to be dealing with your sorry asses. All things considered, treating your sixty five year-old Hungarian philosophy professor like a bloody rock star is likely to at least land you a credit, despite the fact that you have little to no idea what is actually happening in the classroom and Heidegger still sounds rather more like a brand of sausages to you than anything else. Thus, with lines such as “Oh professor, tell me again how you verbally just cut the willy off of those bastard Descartes naysayers in your 1991 essay. What an absolute riot!” you’ll know it’s in the freaking bag. Do not believe that this is restricted solely to women, either; I have seen more than a few men employ this tactic in my time.

Strategic social networking
Making friends at university is a needless pursuit. They interrupt precious eating time, require organisation and will undoubtedly recognise when you have worn precisely the same clothes for a week straight. Frankly, it’s all just hassle. That is, unless you specifically make friends in order to compensate for your own academic deficits – then you’re in the money. Sure, an amicable conversation with somebody in a tutorial about your joint floundering in statistics may be a genuinely nice human interaction but once it’s over, cast them aside. They are dead to you now. Seek out your intellectual safety nets, procure their phone numbers and make totally certain that you fraternise with this individual to the point that a call from you at two o’clock in the morning whilst reduced to tears over an assignment that you fail to understand is not ignored.

A doctor’s certificate is always the answer
Quite straight-forward; an official (and consequently, irrefutable) piece of documentation handed in every other week, which declares that you were suffering too awfully from hangover to attend your tutorial or finish your assignment on time. Of course, “hangover” is always euphemistically covered by one the following: fever, throat infection, migraine, debilitating nausea, spontaneous limb amputation, smallpox, black plague etc. Physical illness is an enduring and limitless excuse; granted, your GP is going to fucking hate you.

You are not above emotional exploitation
This one is particularly useful for situations in which you are marked on presenting in front of your tutorial or lecture: fake panic. Talk to your tutor; lay on the anxiety and lay it on thick. Regardless of whether or not public speaking does send you into a state of emotional turmoil, it is always wildly beneficial to make yourself appear as though you are vulnerable, on the verge of a total breakdown or may well vomit during your presentation before you ascend to the stage. Mention, in a slightly jittery too-much-caffeine fashion that you have a “little bit of a public speaking phobia” to your marker and they will unquestionably sympathise (it’s a common fear). That way, when you reach the stage and casually give your extremely average presentation without being sick or hyperventilating, you will immediately sound like a mid-election campaign Obama to the assessor that was expecting a trembling piece-of-panicky-bullshit speech based on the conversation that you had five minutes earlier.

Also, when your degree, in its state of almost complete abandonment, comes crumbling down upon you, it never hurts to quietly leave your dignity at home, go to your course coordinator’s office and turn on the fucking waterworks.

elfy scott
Words by Elfy Scott.