Monday, September 27, 2010

Ana's University* Survival Guide

*Or college for you Americans.

I've been at University for four years now, and I've learned a few things. I think it is only fair that I pass on my wisdom to you who may be less knowledgeable in the ways of higher education. Below, I have compiled a list of some must-know hints and tips. You're welcome.

1. A lecture is a great time to take care of all your facebooking and twitter needs.

2. To avoid a student traffic jam at the end of class, make sure you start packing up at least 5 minutes early. If you have another class to get to after, it is best to err on the side of caution and make it 10 minutes.

3. To save time on studying, ask whether anything you learned is going to be on the final. You never know when a prof is just teaching for his own personal amusement or when he assigns a reading just for sh*ts and giggles. Make sure you ask this about every single piece of material.

4. If you miss a class, the only proper way to formulate a question about what you missed is "Did I miss anything (important)?"

5. Reading the syllabus is for pussies.

6. Make sure you are polite in your emails and include a greeting.

Wrong way to email:

im going on this super important vacation with my parents at end of summer is it ok if I miss the first 9 weeks of class?

Right way to email:

yo sup,

im going on this super important vacation with my parents at end of summer is it ok if I miss the first 9 weeks of class?

(Note: Proper grammar and spelling will only make you look pretentious.)

7. Little known fact: Staring at the clock during lectures will make the time go by  faster.

8. Make it a habit to skip at least a few classes every semester so people know you have a life outside of school. This will make you look important.

9. Any non-academic compliment given by a professor to a student, no matter how harmless it may seem, is a sign of harassment. Do not be fooled; report to the proper authorities post-haste.

10. Plagiarism is not only an effective, but also a fun way to get things done.

11. Grades, and this is perhaps the most important point to remember, are negotiable. I wrote a poem for all your negotiating needs (with thanks to Carpet Monkey for inspiring the format):

I see I got…. caught cheating / a fail / an unfair grade
I thought…. it was ok / I would pass / I had it made
I need to…. get into law / impress parents / graduate
I think you’re…. understanding / out to get me / super great
So won’t you…. look past it / help me / round up
I’ll give you…. cookies / a good eval / a coffee cup
I will be…. gratefully / happy / stopping the threats
I don’t want to…. fail / spill tears / give you regrets
I’d hate to…. retake it / argue / talk to the dean
Don’t make me…. cry / blackmail / tell him you’re mean
Please know I…. didn’t mean it / am sorry / only get A’s
I always…. mean well / get revenge / get praise
So just…. pass me / look the other way / acquit
Because I…. tried hard / studied / paid for it
I want us to…. be friends / hook up / part well
But if I must I’ll…. fight you / beg / raise hell

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Of Mean Profs and University-Appropriate Attire

Dear in-charge-type people at the University of Alberta,

I am writing in regards to Dr.A. I had the great displeasure of being in Dr.A’s math class last term. He has been rude, sorely unhelpful, and overall not nice person. He grades his tests unfairly, marking on what he thinks we should know instead of on what we actually know. He also took of marks for spelling and grammar mistakes. This is a math class! If I wanted to be tested on English, I would take an English class, not a math class. I don’t know who he thinks he is, expecting university students to have a basic grasp of English in a math class. His bad marking was further demonstrable when he took of marks on my exam when I forgot to put my name on it. Nowhere in the syllabus does it say we have to put our names on our exams.

Before our final I had an important question so I called him to ask it and he got mad at me. What kind of lame person goes to sleep at 11:30pm? I mean, it wasn't even midnight yet. I would have emailed him but sometimes he can take hours to email back. And don’t even get me started on trying to get a hold of him in his office. He is only there at times that are convenient for him. No, Dr.A, I cannot come either on Thursday between 1-3pm or on Friday after 2pm. My friend Linda has a hair appointment on Thursday and asked me to go with her. As for Friday, I just don’t feel like it.

This one time, he sorely embarrassed me in front of the whole class by putting me on the spot. He asked me a question, I don’t know what it was because I was checking Facebook on my iPhone so I couldn't answer him. He totally freaked out that I couldn't answer. How does he expect me to answer when I didn't even hear the question in the first place?

This another time, I asked for an extension for an assignment on the day it was due. My boyfriend had just broken up with me a month ago and I just couldn't do math in such an emotional state. But a little understanding was apparently too much to ask of Dr.A when he gave me a 0 on the assignment. For my final mark, he gave me a C-. I asked if he could round this up to an A. I deserve a better grade because I know I’m smart and I tried very hard and I need it to get into grad school. Also, I’m paying for uni which makes me a consumer and in this case, not a happy one. Dr.A refused, saying that even the C- was generous. I called him a jerk. I then asked for a reference letter. He said no.

So in summary, I would like you to take the appropriate actions against Dr.A and inform him that professors need to see us as people who have our own lives and who can’t always put their homework first. Profs should also be at our constant beck and call whenever we need help. In addition, they should be able to provide us with extensions, good grades, free tutoring, reference letters, and a pony.

Anastasia Kazakevich
Distraught Student

P.S. After Linda got a haircut Dr.A said, and I quote, “nice haircut.” I suggested she file a sexual harassment suit at once, which she is currently looking in to.

My University Summer Attire:

My University Winter Attire:

(The key to making both ensembles work are the glasses; they make me look like a smart, serious student.)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

AGT: America’s Got Tragedy

I love America’s Got Tragic back-stories Talent. Basically, it is a show where people from all over the country gather to display their various tragic pasts talents. The judges decide whether a contestant is tragic talented enough to be put through. After that, America votes for their favourite contestant, deciding who has the most tragic upbringing talent. The winner gets a million dollars and a show in Vegas.

My singer friend Lily wants to audition next year. It has been her dream to win ever since she saw this show on Tuesday. She deserves to win because she has had a hard life. She ran away from home at age 11 month. This was especially hard for her because she couldn’t run very well yet. She lived in the forest until she was 16 with a couple of bears who she befriended with her singing. She then met a homeless guy named One-Eyed Ben and fell in love because he seemed nice. Lily learned a hard lesson though when One-Eyed Ben turned out not to be nice. He forced her to work, washing his one pair of dirty socks and polishing his glass eye during the day, and then raped her during the night. She ran away from him too, but not before he could impregnate her. Nine month later she gave birth to octuplets.

She is now 18 and lives near a local dump, where her kids frolic through the garbage with the rodents. The rodents serve as both delightful pets and delicious dinner. Even though Lily works 17 full-time jobs she is unable to afford food because she has to pay hospital bills. Lily has a rare disease that makes people lose their voice and die at age 20. However, this did not deter Lily. After seeing the show she willed her voice to come back and now sings beautifully even though the doctors told her she’ll never sing again.

Just before going on the show Lily will find out that the forest she lived in was cut down to build an IKEA and her bear friends killed. Even though this breaks her heart she still goes on with the show because she is a fighter. If she wins, she will hire lawyers with the prize money to sue the IKEA people. Because she is a good, forgiving person she will also buy One-Eyed Ben a high-tech, custom-made, self-polishing glass eye. If she has any money left after that she will establish a future for her eight children so they can be ok when she dies at 20 and she will also end world hunger while she's at it. She will be an inspiration to all who share this rare disease and they will send her letters printed on pastel-coloured paper telling her how wonderful she is.