Considering I am less than two weeks away from graduating college, it seemed only right to do an article related to that. To lead with “I didn’t like college” would be a costly mistake since I would have to replace the computer screens of everyone I went to school with who read it and spewed soda on their laptop while trying not to laugh. Anyone who knew me during my time knows I loathed school, to the point that even being on the home stretch isn’t enough to stop me from fantasizing about dropping out. In fact, I’m currently writing this in the library while ten feet away my group works on our final project.
A large part of why I’m so burnt out is because I’m in what I like to call “overtime”, meaning I’m past my regulation four years. I won’t say how far past, but I will say I’m the only student in any of my classes who was born in the 80s.
There are a lot of factors that conspired to keep me here. Some of the blame lies with my university (they wanted another season out of me as QB), but most lies with me. I am a principled man, but I’m also an idiot, so these are the three stupid principles of my college years. Whether or not they led to the Victory Lap 500, I’ll let you decide.
1) I refused to take notes
My memory is both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, I can remember all sorts of facts for years and years, easily recalling them whenever I so choose. On the other hand, it makes me incredibly arrogant and cocky. I sit in class and listen instead of writing, telling myself that I’m an “auditory learner”. To a degree that’s true, but it doesn’t do a lot of good when your auditories are preoccupied with picking out all the weird ticks in your classmates’ voices while your learner is busy imagining what it would be like to be able to jump, like, so far you guys. Also, my brain has a weird filter where it can only remember useless things that will never make me rich or successful outside of a pub. Behaving like some sort of solvent molecule, Dumbledore’s full name passes right through the partially permeable barrier of my brain while the definition of osmosis gets trapped on the outside, never to be recalled again.
2) My first draft was my final draft
I will read this article no less than three times before I publish it, making absolutely sure there are no grammatical errors or better ways to say that I am, like, so dumb you guys. I take pride in my work and want to put out the best version possible.
I have a twenty page paper due Friday (haven’t started) and I would write it on a typewriter if I could, handing pages to my professor as I finish them in class. I have never written a paper in stages, writing multiple drafts that keep changing through revisions and corrections, and I don’t see me breaking that habit in the last fourteen days of my academic career.
I blame this principle on my teachers. I am/was an English major so I wrote many large papers a semester, always cranking them out a night or two before the due date, meaning I didn’t have time for multiple revisions. Never made less than a B and the majority were As. They positively reinforced my horrible habit by leading me to believe it “ain’t broke” and therefore not in need of “fixin'”. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not some sort of literary prodigy, spitting out masterpieces without even trying. I’m just a firm believer in going with your gut and not over thinking things, knowing that I’m only going to make things worse if I keep tweaking and adjusting. If I were to read through my papers it would only make me start worrying that I totally missed the mark and needed to start over, and I just don’t have time for that.
3) I never took midterms/finals seriously
This is another principle that I don’t feel I deserve all the blame for. Because of the nature of English classes, there’s no real way to “study” or prepare. Either you’ve heard the class discussions and done the readings, or you haven’t. Some teachers do make you identify passages or memorize publication dates, but those teachers are mean, and according to my mommy, you “don’t pay mean people no mind!”
Unlike in almost any other major, English tests are pretty arbitrary. The papers are infinitely more important to your grade and should accordingly receive much more attention and dedication. The tests are more of a requirement that don’t really affect anything, meaning you (I) can (did) horribly fail a midterm and do worse on the final while still getting a C in the class. The teachers just kind of give you what they think you deserve at the end. I don’t think they want to do the math associated with calculating the final grade so they base it off a)how much you talked in class and b)how smart you seemed, which is great news when you’re a well-read class clown. I talked a lot but it was always in an attempt to make the class laugh and anytime I was asked a question I just threw around literary buzzwords until the teacher left me alone. If that’s all it takes, why would I get all worked up about a test that doesn’t really have a meaningful impact?